SEED has won the international Mars One University Competition

January 7, 2015, MIT Portugal Program
Raquel Almeida, a MIT Portugal Bioengineer Ph.D. candidate at 3B's Research Group is one of the two Ph.D. candidates of the team. Additionally, the Seed Team counts with four students of the Integrated Masters on Bioengineering at FEUP/Institute of Biomedical Sciences Abel Salazar from the University of Porto and another Ph.D. students Center of Biological Investigations, University of Madrid. Credit: SEED

Seed was selected by popular vote from an initial 35 university proposals. The aim of the project is to germinate the first seed on Mars and to prove the concept that it is possible to germinate and grow plants on Mars. Besides the social impact of growing the first life form on Mars, the possible scientific outcomes of this experiment could contribute to a better understanding of plant growth on Mars and possibly contribute for the development of life support systems.

The payload will consist of two containers: an external one that will provide protection from the outside environment; and another container holding several cassettes with seeds from the plant Arabidopsis thaliana. Upon landing, the seeds will receive the necessary inputs to germinate, the process will be recorded and the data send back to earth every two days.

Raquel Almeida, a MIT Portugal Bioengineer PhD candidate at 3B's Research Group is one of the 2 PhD candidates of the team. Additionally, the Seed Team counts with 4 students of the Integrated Masters on Bioengineering at Faculty of Engineering (FEUP)/Institute of Biomedical Sciences Abel Salazar (ICBAS) from the University of Porto and another PhD student from Center of Biological Investigations, University of Madrid. Dr. Maria Helena Carvalho, plant researcher at Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology (IBMC) and Dr. Jack van Loon, professor at VU Medical Center, University of Amsterdam and scientist at ESTEC-ESA, orienting the team. According to Raquel Almeida "the team is very excited with the news and is now starting to plan the next steps of the project, namely the development of the prototype. For this, we will need to find partners and to raise financial support".

An in-depth technical analysis of the winning proposal will be conducted to ensure that the winner has a feasible plan, that their payload can be integrated on the 2018 Mars lander, and that the experiment will be carried out in compliance with the current COSPAR planetary protection policy. Mars One and its advisers will contribute to the analysis by thoroughly and critically examining the Seed proposal. The seeds will fly to Mars on the Mars One's 2018 unmanned lander mission.

Explore further: Students aiming to put the first life on Mars

Related Stories

Students aiming to put the first life on Mars

December 10, 2014

#LettuceOnMars, a student project from the University of Southampton Spaceflight Society, has reached the finals of an international competition, run by Mars One, to land experiments on Mars. It is now one of the ten short-listed ...

Students aim to put cyanobacteria on Mars to generate oxygen

December 23, 2014

Mars is a very harsh and hostile environment for future human explorers and like any other known planet it has no breathable air. That could change someday, and it may be soon enough for our generation to witness it, as the ...

Image: First Mars orbital photo of 2015

January 7, 2015

This image was taken on 2 January just after midday GMT, and is one of the first of the Red Planet this year from the low-resolution Visual Monitoring Camera – the 'Mars Webcam' – on ESA's Mars Express orbiter.

Fragile seeds sprouted in-vitro

January 6, 2015

Tissue culture technology is helping scientists to grow a native sedge notoriously difficult to germinate naturally.  

How seeds recognise the seasons

December 16, 2014

Scientists at the University of York have played a key role in new research into the way 'mother' plants use their memory of the seasons to teach their seeds the most advantageous time to germinate.

Recommended for you

Did a rogue star change the makeup of our solar system?

July 20, 2018

A team of researchers from the Max-Planck Institute and Queen's University has used new information to test a theory that suggests a rogue star passed close enough to our solar system millions of years ago to change its configuration. ...

Where to search for signs of life on Titan

July 20, 2018

New findings, published in the journal Astrobiology, suggest that large craters are the prime locations in which to find the building blocks of life on Saturn's largest moon, Titan.

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

teslaberry
not rated yet Jan 07, 2015
mars one is a scam

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.