Farming on Mars? The Martian raises questions about soil

October 29, 2015
Mars
Valles Marineris, Mars. Credit: NASA

In the recent sci-fi hit, The Martian, the main character, astronaut Mark Watney (played by Matt Damon), manages to grow potatoes on the planet with a mix of ingenuity, science, and a bit of Hollywood make-believe. Could it work?

"The theories behind what [The Martian author] Andy Weir wrote in his book are sound," says Jim Bell, a planetary scientist at Arizona State University. "A good soil for growing crops will have structure to hold the plant up, and provide the nutrients needed for growth. This is where Watney was headed in his 'soil recipe.' Of course, he had to use only the resources with him on the planet."

In the movie, Watney mixes Mars soil with some of his freeze-dried feces (with apologies to the weak-stomached in the audience). According to soil microbiologist Mary Stromberger, Colorado State University, "In theory, Watney's waste would provide nutrients for growing plants. In reality, the Mars 'soil mixture' he made doesn't have the complex food web of microbes that we have on Earth. So, there might be some issues with the recycling of nutrients between soil and plants and atmosphere. And, we don't know if the fecal bacteria could thrive on Mars, even in a controlled environment....On the other hand, he had to use what was there, and this is a sci-fi movie!"

In the book, Watney took other steps, such as fertilizing and amending soil, which were not included in the movie. "You can only include so much information in a movie lasting a little over two hours," says Bell.

"The science community has defined soils to exist only on planet Earth, because the presence of life is critical" says Harold van Es, Cornell University. "We need to start thinking about soils on other planets. That's why, as part of our International Year of Soils celebration, the Soil Science Society of America invited Jim Bell to discuss this topic."

Bell will present a lecture titled "Soils of Mars: Keys to Understanding the Habitability of the Red Planet" at SSSA's annual meeting on Nov. 18, 2015. To learn more about that lecture, visit https://www.soils.org/newsroom/releases/2015/1005/707/.

The United Nations declared 2015 the International Year of Soils to bring attention to soils as a diminishing and important natural resource. SSSA developed educational materials and videos surrounding twelve monthly topics, found at http://www.soils.org/iys. Topics range from "Soils Sustain Life" and "Soils Support Agriculture" to "Soils and Climate" and "Soils Are Living."

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bschott
4.1 / 5 (13) Oct 29, 2015
This is yet another aspect of the mars dream that people overlook. The Martian soil will need to be brought back to earth for study, to determine what colonists will have to add to it in order to make it fertile. Clearly it's a little more complicated than miracle grow. If Martian soil kills every microbe we need to make soil fertile here on earth the dream of colonization dies right there (for the immediate future).

This is but one of hundreds of " dies right there" scenarios folks. I'm not trying to be a downer, just a realist. If we are going to do it we have to cross out as many negative possibilities as we can, we have to do it right, not quickly...as cool as it would be.

You can't be on the pathway to destroying the bulk of the ecosystems of a living planet and
expect to create a thriving ecosystem where there isn't one. What we learn from fixing our own world will be invaluable if we plan to colonize another one.
hurricane25
2.6 / 5 (5) Oct 29, 2015
WE're either going to do it or we don't...Why not?? Nothing is easy.
Vietvet
5 / 5 (8) Oct 29, 2015
@bschott

I'm pleasantly surprised to rate your comment a "5". I do try to rate comments on merit, not on the history of previous posts or personality.
Protoplasmix
3 / 5 (2) Oct 29, 2015
Clearly it's a little more complicated than miracle grow.
I'm not so sure. I think if you can do it like this, you can do it on Mars.
Jayded
3.7 / 5 (3) Oct 30, 2015
@bschott - the power of bacteria knows no bounds. should it prove completely toxic well it would be a simple matter to do partial mixing. take a pot of earth soil, put in an eighth of martian soil, let them adapt, add more martian soil etc. bacteria would rapidly develop the skills required thrive in the new environment, the you release them.
Lex Talonis
5 / 5 (1) Oct 30, 2015
Idiot Merkins....

It's dirt - either add to it or leach it out...

Or both.
Egleton
1 / 5 (3) Oct 30, 2015
Escaping this gravity well and going down another is just plain stupid.
Gravity wells suck.
Once we leave this one we either stay out of gravity wells or fail.
The whole Mars thing is based on a faulty premise. That the only place that life can thrive is down on the two dimensional surface of a planet.
That is a product of evolutionary blindness.
daqddyo
5 / 5 (1) Oct 30, 2015
Forget the soil. Like the potatoes we buy in supermarkets, those that the astronauts had on board for food would have been zapped with radiation to prevent them from sprouting as they naturally do in Earth's "springtime" even if kept in dark storage.
As a result, the potatoes that the astronauts had for food would not be viable anyway.
bschott
3 / 5 (5) Oct 30, 2015
@bschott

I'm pleasantly surprised to rate your comment a "5". I do try to rate comments on merit, not on the history of previous posts or personality.


Thank you.

@bschott - the power of bacteria knows no bounds.


All life has a termination boundary.

should it prove completely toxic well it would be a simple matter to do partial mixing.


Bacteria will not try to process something they can't in the presence of something they can. Their nutrient demands dictate this chemically.

take a pot of earth soil, put in an eighth of martian soil, let them adapt, add more martian soil etc. bacteria would rapidly develop the skills required thrive in the new environment, the you release them.


https://en.wikipe...ian_soil

There are a lot of potential nutrients as determined by the rovers, time will tell. That the soil is very basic (highly alkaline) could be a problem.
viko_mx
2 / 5 (8) Oct 30, 2015
Forget about Mars. Such ideas are technically and physically impossible for realization. Much noise about nothing real.
Benni
2.3 / 5 (9) Oct 30, 2015
@bschott

I'm pleasantly surprised to rate your comment a "5". I do try to rate comments on merit, not on the history of previous posts or personality.


You're making progress, keep up the objectivity leaving the track record of foul mouthed profanity in the past.
Benni
1.8 / 5 (10) Oct 30, 2015
@bschott

I'm pleasantly surprised to rate your comment a "5". I do try to rate comments on merit, not on the history of previous posts or personality.


You're making progress VV, keep up the objectivity leaving the track record of foul mouthed profanity in the past.
....I see already that Ira prefers the profanity, but what would one expect:

October 30, 2015, 6:26 pm 1 Uncle Ira
Vietvet
4.6 / 5 (11) Oct 30, 2015
@Benni

You have some twisted values. What is worse, your perception of "foul mouth profanity" or your arrogant stupidity?
Uncle Ira
3.9 / 5 (11) Oct 30, 2015
.I see already that Ira prefers the profanity, but what would one expect:

October 30, 2015, 6:26 pm 1 Uncle Ira


Bennie-Skippy, you don't need to lie about me non. I do not use the profanity, I have never used it here, not on October 30 or any other time too.
jsdarkdestruction
4.1 / 5 (9) Oct 31, 2015
Forget about Mars. Such ideas are technically and physically impossible for realization. Much noise about nothing real.

Technically and physically impossible now.
What makes you feel its a waste of time and will never be possible?
I know you'll give an answer related to religion so let me follow up with-
How do you know its not your gods will for man to do this and spread out deeper into his creation? It is pretentious for you to claim to know your gods plan and will for humanity. In fact I'm pretty sure that's at the least the sin of pride and vanity and ego.
Benni
2.3 / 5 (9) Oct 31, 2015
@Benni

You have some twisted values
.....it doesn't surprise me that you imagine my calling out your persistent name calling foul mouthed rants would be contorted into "twisted values".

What is worse, your perception of "foul mouth profanity" or your arrogant stupidity?
A lot of science in that sentence VV. When you come to a science site, be willing to talk about Einstein's General or Special Relativity, not use this site as a repository of name calling & profanity as is your usual modus operandi. All you do is come here & engage the usual off topic name calling rants that almost never have anything to do with the subject matter, and you're proud of that, and you want to lecture me about "twisted values", what about your own?
Bongstar420
3.9 / 5 (7) Oct 31, 2015
Asinine

In reality, the Mars 'soil mixture' he made doesn't have the complex food web of microbes that we have on Earth. So, there might be some issues with the recycling of nutrients between soil and plants and atmosphere.

Its called hydroponics and plants will grow in sterile conditions

...as to "feces"

Your colon has the decomposers in it. Your poop can't be stopped from decomposition unless it is cryogenically frozen.

The real issue is "what does living on Mars have to offer that an advanced space station by asteroids or moons not?
viko_mx
2.1 / 5 (7) Oct 31, 2015
""What makes you feel its a waste of time and will never be possible?""

Because I know the real state of the fundamental sciense today and what stands behind the promotion in society of endless human possibilities - the religion of new age adressed to si fi zombies . To them is directed the suggestion that technology will make their life a paradise.
But the future of society depends not on technology but on morality. The moral determine the access to real knowledge that people can acquire when prove that they can take responsibility.
The univese is precisly tuned and keeps its secrets only for the honest beings whose can use this knowledge with responsibility.
tekram
5 / 5 (4) Nov 01, 2015
Asinine..
The real issue is "what does living on Mars have to offer that an advanced space station by asteroids or moons not?

Water, gases, minerals, gravity, stable orbit, exploration, the unknown...
Osiris1
1 / 5 (1) Nov 01, 2015
No, Martian soil does NOT need to be brought back to earth. Primary reason is safety. We are not able to properly sterilize our spacecraft from Earth microbes. Heck, we even have sent spiders and flies to space by mistake. We have to assume Mars is a possible hostile world with possibly dangerous lifeforms until proven otherwise beyond the shadow of a doubt.

Second reason is realism and convenience. Bring stuff up to lab in Mars orbit and test it there. If we need more or different stuff. Mars is right to hand.
For this we need a proper exploration ship that can 'drive' there and analyze the samples on board ship, setting the gravity on the rotator... the rotating ring section of the ship that rotates about the central fuselage..to Mars normal so Martian conditions can be better approximated. No real thick atmosphere on Mars so radiation will not be that much more on board if sample plants placed in front of a window for avg martian days.
bschott
1 / 5 (2) Nov 02, 2015
We have to assume Mars is a possible hostile world with possibly dangerous lifeforms until proven otherwise beyond the shadow of a doubt.


Second reason is realism and convenience. Bring stuff up to lab in Mars orbit and test it there.


Realism includes building an "ISS" to orbit mars? Dangerous Martian lifeforms? A moonraker style 'ship' for exploration?

No, Martian soil does NOT need to be brought back to earth.


Yes it does. To make it fertile we will have to know the PRECISE deficiencies inherent to it. This means being able to add ANYTHING to it. This means having EVERYTHING it may require available...not gonna happen on the martian ISS.
Captain Stumpy
3 / 5 (4) Nov 02, 2015
To make it fertile we will have to know the PRECISE deficiencies inherent to it
@bs
if you bring the sample back to Earth, you will contaminate it
however, if you have a rover supplied with the proper equipment (what would be used on earth like a GCMS, etc)
This would allow for research at site without contamination and would be far cheaper than attempting to build systems to return it to earth
you don't need a physical sample in hand to get information about said physical sample

with said information, you can replicate known properties here and then modify said replications with additions: secondary tests on viability of samples can then be sent (to the ISS) and tested
still far cheaper than continuing/trying to return samples etc

considering we already have a lot of information about atmosphere, soil, conditions, etc... the smartest testing would be on the ISS under special conditions that mimic Mars
bschott
2.3 / 5 (3) Nov 02, 2015
the smartest testing would be on the ISS under special conditions that mimic Mars


Are you testing how fast we can kill the plants? They won't grow in "conditions that mimic mars".

if you bring the sample back to Earth, you will contaminate it


Better check out the article about germs on the ISS if you think that is a better option.

you don't need a physical sample in hand to get information about said physical sample


You do if you want ALL of the information there is about it.

This would allow for research at site without contamination and would be far cheaper than attempting to build systems to return it to earth


So far you are on an orbiting lab with a similar germ problem to the ISS and now, to satisfy the requirement for grooming the soil you will have to call for a pretty expensive delivery of the required nutrients and bio-factors.

Were talking about creating viable soil after the analysis, not just the analysis.
bluehigh
5 / 5 (2) Nov 03, 2015
Imagine the cost of resupply missions to a Mars ISS. Roscosmos would be jumping with joy.
Lex Talonis
5 / 5 (1) Nov 03, 2015
Forget the soil. Like the potatoes we buy in supermarkets, those that the astronauts had on board for food would have been zapped with radiation to prevent them from sprouting as they naturally do in Earth's "springtime" even if kept in dark storage.
As a result, the potatoes that the astronauts had for food would not be viable anyway.


What happens if the astronauts get really bored and build a compressed air gun and start shooting potatoes into each others arses?
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (4) Nov 03, 2015
Like the potatoes we buy in supermarkets, those that the astronauts had on board for food would have been zapped with radiation to prevent them from sprouting as they naturally do in Earth's "springtime" even if kept in dark storage.

If astronauts would have been exposed to that much radiation they'd be dead. Food irradiation uses from 1-30 kiloGy to kill bacteria. For comparison: Getting 1Gy over the course of a day will cause radiation sickness symptoms in a person and if you get 10Gy (never mind a kiloGy) within the space of a few hours you're likely gonna die.

The radiation exposure during space travel is bad - but it isn't gonna sterilize potatoes (However, any potatoes brought with them would likely have been sterilized before the trip started to make them keep longer).
Captain Stumpy
3 / 5 (4) Nov 03, 2015
They won't grow in "conditions that mimic mars"
@bs
since you need things spelled out: on the ISS, they can mimic conditions that represent what would be found typically on Mars and then test the means to protect the plants as well as how to feed the soil to develop the necesarry means to grow plants, thus the ISS would be a far better test location financially as well as within reach for various reasons
...germs on the ISS
and you think hospitals are clean? you CAN actually produce cleaner areas surrounded by contaminated areas: this is done regulary
but you aren't here to argue that point: you are here to be stupid and troll... i get it. really, i do
except: http://media-cach...f521.jpg

You do if you want ALL of the information
not really. there are ways of getting info without being present
see: forensic sciences

so tell us: what information cannot be transmitted?
expound on that
Captain Stumpy
3 / 5 (4) Nov 03, 2015
@bs cont'd
Were talking about creating viable soil after the analysis, not just the analysis.
and that is what i am talking about WRT testing on the ISS

you really CAN build clean rooms or sequester experiments to maintain segregation from contamination... this is not only done on Earth, but also on the ISS

When you get the info from Mars, you can build upon that and re-create the soil in the ISS (or on Earth and ship it to the ISS) much cheaper than going to Mars or having a Martian ISS (remember we would need to constantly resupply anything manned there)

we can also likely get tactile info in the near future: http://www.scienc...2708.htm

http://robot.onsc...an-feel/

we can send the info to/from Mars as it is already digital
we only need an interface with the tech

thus my point still stands: it is cheaper/easier to use the ISS/rovers
don't need to BE on Mars to experiment
bschott
2 / 5 (4) Nov 03, 2015
Stumpid.

since you need things spelled out: on the ISS, they can mimic conditions that represent what would be found typically on Mars


Repeated due to your lack of comprehension, plants won't grow in Martian conditions also, you can't simulate martian gravity on a space station.

and then test the means to protect the plants


They are called greenhouses, we have them here on earth, but since there aren't any up your ass (just guessing) i doubt you have seen one.

and you think hospitals are clean?


WTF are you talking about hospitals? I wasn't. Confused about life again?

thus the ISS would be a far better test location financially as well as within reach for various reasons


One post can't cover the reasons why this is completely incorrect.

you are here to be stupid and troll... i get it. really, i do


Look at how many just plain dumb things you said above, just because you want to argue with me....you're a child.

bschott
2.6 / 5 (5) Nov 03, 2015
If you want to argue "earth vs. ISS", and in situ samples vs. remote sampling I'll go first:

Quantity of Martian soil required, minimum 500lbs. Here's why, we have to make the soil viable by adding chemicals and bio-factors, and since we only want to transport chemicals and bio factors to mars, we need to make the right mixes for SEVERAL different kinds of plants, and it isn't going to happen on the first go for each one. The bio-factors alone will take several tries. One large shipment of martian soil to earth based labs where a "clean" facility can be EASILY maintained will be way less expensive than the hopskotch your fucked up head is proposing.

The in-situ logically follows this because you have to test in the actual medium to guarantee results. If all you have is "information" transmitted by a mobile lab, there will be something that is missed and a simulated soil will not behave as the real thing. It's would be a stumpid risk to take with all that is at stake.
Captain Stumpy
2.6 / 5 (5) Nov 03, 2015
plants won't grow in Martian conditions
@the illiterate bs
i never said we would plant them on Mars unprotected: we would still need to bring air, radiation protection etc to help them along
you can't simulate martian gravity on a space station
https://en.wikipe..._gravity

http://regentspre...ault.htm

They are called greenhouses
greenhouses can't protect from radiation: irrelevant distraction from your lack of comprehension/illiteracy problems
WTF are you talking about hospitals
try reading it in context of cleanliness/clean rooms, as noted in the whole post(s)
One post can't cover the reasons why this is completely incorrect
you can't even come up with one REASON

- but you know that already
you are baiting and trolling (need i continue with the results of that?)

but... lets continue with your next post!
Captain Stumpy
2.6 / 5 (5) Nov 03, 2015
@bs cont'd
... 500lbs
arbitrary number, or are you pulling this from
up your ass (just guessing)
[sic]
much like your quote here
you have to test in the actual medium to guarantee results
If you can build a model of actual Martian soil from all the available information, the INFO is not lost, and you can replicate it on Earth/ISS as well as in computer models (much like replicating a crime scene etc in forensics, or models of astrophysics, like fusion and fission)

Thus, you CAN build a model that will act as effectively as the real thing. this means samples from multiple depths as well as over a large area in a region that you suspect habitation will be built

Then you can also ship your "adapted" soil and also necessary adaptations to said Martian soil in sequestered test areas in a rover for testing and information gathering (again, ALL cheaper than a martian ISS or habitation with resupply)

thus you CAN test off site without being present
Captain Stumpy
2.6 / 5 (5) Nov 03, 2015
@bsTROLLING from the "illiterati"
last point
you have to test in the actual medium to guarantee results
so, as you can see, you do NOT need to have humans physically present to test on site nor do you have to have the expenditure of humans in the final testing process "in the actual medium" as i noted above

But more importantly, it also gives you the ability to do something you are NOT considering: the procedures will allow you to research far more places in the solar system and even consider non-system planets with rocky/other soils

With the active ability from practical knowledge found in a cheaper way, you've also paved the way for more research WRT travel and exploration in space, because any long term exploration will need soil and growing abilities for O2 and food sources, plus more

we ARE able to test/do this with current technology, whereas we are NOT able to populate mars and test this on site

that is the major point of my posts
Captain Stumpy
2.6 / 5 (5) Nov 03, 2015
@bs
addendum
If all you have is "information"...there will be something that is missed...
this is called ASSumption
it is also a conclusion that is not based upon the evidence i presented

you ASSume there would be something missed only because you ASSume that the research would be as haphazard as your previous PO attempts to explain astrophysics, etc

This fallacious argument is because you ASSume that people are all like you, and this is validated by your own comment above
Look at how many just plain dumb things you said above, just because you want to argue with me....you're a child
What i assume (based upon experience) is that professional researchers would cover as much of the bases as they could and prepare for the worst case scenario while being hopeful...& that at least 1 on-site mini-test is done before shipping humans there to validate the tests/results

There is NO reason to involve humans until as many of the unknowns are uncovered as possible
bschott
2.6 / 5 (5) Nov 04, 2015
Stump - I would love to post as you have, my opinions about all the stupid shit you say here ( linking your blatant contradictions from other threads) and show the forum why once again you don't have a clue what you are talking about because your 2 dimensional thinking misses so much, but most of these people can read how you are for themselves.

If I am going to mars as a colonist, I will join the team that takes the approach to soil modification that I am proposing, which is completely hands on using the actual soil medium that exists where I am going and successfully converts samples of the Martian soil from the high alkaline, freeze dried state it is in, to one of fertility. What your child mind refuses to accept is that after all of the shit you propose, what I just said STILL HAS TO HAPPEN.

You go to Mars based on the results of your "1 on-site mini test." Let's take a poll of how many people would like to join you based on your approach vs. joining me based on mine.
bschott
2.6 / 5 (5) Nov 04, 2015
@Stumpid re. your links about artificial gravity. The only quote that matters from either one right here:
Practical outer space applications of artificial gravity for humans have not yet been built and flown


You are talking about budget constraints when your ISS testing facilty doesn't even exist yet.

you can't even come up with one REASON


See above Biff.

greenhouses can't protect from radiation: irrelevant distraction from your lack of comprehension/illiteracy problems


LMAO - really? I can't build a structure that protects against outside radiation and inside it grows plants....aw Biff...what is wrong with you? Seriously....

try reading it in context of cleanliness/clean rooms


I have aided in the construction of more than a dozen of these, not one was in a hospital. I didn't mention hospitals...you did.

What i assume...


is that you are way better than you are at this debate thing. That;s why you always fuck up.
Captain Stumpy
2.6 / 5 (5) Nov 04, 2015
You are talking about budget constraints when your ISS testing facilty doesn't even exist yet
@bsTROLL
1- you don't need to build a new station to test artificial gravity using centripetal force, especially if a test only needs a small amount of space: you do know that labs regularly employ centrifuges right here on earth, right? a similar test could be adapted for the ISS
IOW_ the tech still exists right now

2- My point still stands: most of the work of testing and research can still be done without ever sending people to Mars
I can't build a structure that protects against outside radiation and inside it grows plants
your google broke? or are you being stupid intentionally? LMFAO

http://growing-un...und.com/

http://mashable.c...wcbF3kqG

http://www.grower...und.com/

Yeah... it's never going to work growing in an environment that is protected from radiation [sarc/satire, hyperbole]
Captain Stumpy
2.6 / 5 (5) Nov 04, 2015
@bsTROLL cont'd
I have aided in the construction of more than a dozen of these
and still you were stupid enough to make the comment above as though they couldn't exist?
why is that?
That;s why you always fuck up
[sic]
yeah, you mean like your claims that we couldn't grow anything if it is shielded from external ISS radiation?
(PS- i've made & used a couple of these greenhouses underground)

we have the technology to explore Mars, replicate the soil, test it at the ISS for limited Martian gravity and growing potential with additives we bring, then send samples to Mars for validation with today's technology... i have proven that point above

You haven't proven it is impossible- every comment you make is Dunning-Kruger mixed with blatant stupidity (google broke?)

You assume that we have to be there to do it- currently not possible
http://media-cach...f521.jpg

bschott
2.6 / 5 (5) Nov 04, 2015
Poor Biff...you failed.

Attempting to imply that I wasn't being sarcastic with my comment about growing plants inside a shielded greenhouse, when the sentence ends with "Aw Biff..." just because it is in response to you stating quite clearly that greenhouses can't protect from radiation is just sad.

You constantly fuck up and then have to try to somehow backpedal your way into coherent debate. Usually the Capslock gets pressed and a frustration driven rant follows.

Now you want to design and install a "soil centrifuge" on the ISS. You gonna test one plant at a time? Until success each time? Are your future relatives gonna carry on your work? Are they adding another room up there for your centrifuge?

Do you even think about anything you post?

Once again Biff, it's been a treat observing you bury yourself in your own stupidity. Try not to stay in there too long, wouldn't want to smother your last semi functioning brain cell.
bschott
2 / 5 (4) Nov 04, 2015
(PS- i've made & used a couple of these greenhouses underground)


But you posted above that they can't protect from radiation...you did Biff...right here where you said:
greenhouses can't protect from radiation: irrelevant distraction from your lack of comprehension/illiteracy problems


Ironically demonstrating throughout the thread that you are the one with comprehension and literacy issues.


You haven't proven it is impossible


I am not saying it is impossible Biff, I am suggesting prudent courses of action to ensure the safety of all involved and success of the mission.

- every comment you make is Dunning-Kruger mixed with blatant stupidity (google broke?)


Anyone who reads this thread can see the irony of YOU making the above statement.

Seek help Biff, and Gods speed finding it.

bluehigh
5 / 5 (5) Nov 05, 2015
(Stumpy Shields Up - IMHO)

Captain, the best humans will do in the next 100 years is a trip to Mars for glory. We are not going to build Mars orbiting space stations or habitats. We humans will be lucky (or smart) to fix the mess we are making here on the only known habitable rock anywhere. All your sentiments of scientific and technological ability would be much more productive and heaps easier focussed on making Earth's desert soil farmable (and a lot cheaper to obtain samples and enhance). After all .. at least there's a protective and biological useful atmosphere here.

gkam
3 / 5 (4) Nov 05, 2015
Bluehigh nails it.
Protoplasmix
5 / 5 (2) Nov 05, 2015
We have to bring soil back from Mars to analyze it??

We should be trying to make soil in deserts here??

Soil isn't one of the things required to grow plants. In fact, we can (and do) grow better plants more efficiently without using soil at all. Why Bongstar420's post, the only one to mention hydroponics, didn't get all 5 stars, I don't know.
Captain Stumpy
3.4 / 5 (5) Nov 05, 2015
Captain, the best humans will do in the next 100 years is a trip to Mars for glory
@Blue
actually, i agree with this, which is the whole basis for my argument
we don't have the tech to colonize or live on Mars right now: we DO, however, have the ability to study it and get information about it's soil, conditions, and more (which is the argument with bs above)

My argument has nothing to do with actual colonization or even the suggestion that we will be there living on the planet any time soon. i don't think that will happen

My argument is basically this: we can (and do) study Mars, replicate it's soil and test means to adapt said soil for growth, as it is needed... but as Bong and Proto point out, it really isn't even needed, as we can grow with Hydroponics (I believe that is also mentioned in one of my links above)

bs thinks the only way to test this is being on-site with human experimenters
(obviously false)
Captain Stumpy
3 / 5 (4) Nov 05, 2015
@blue cont'd
...would be much more productive ... making Earth's desert soil farmable...
and again, i 100% agree

the whole argument with bs above boils down to the following:

bs says the only way to test our Martian growing ability is to be on Mars
The in-situ logically follows this because you have to test in the actual medium to guarantee results. If all you have is "information" transmitted by a mobile lab, there will be something that is missed and a simulated soil will not behave as the real thing
this is like saying we can't re-create a crime scece unless we were there to witness it

my argument is: we don't need to be on site to test martian soil (don't even NEED soil, but i digress)
We have the tech and ability to, if we want to, recreate it with the info available, test it on the ISS with devices, and then send samples to Mars to validate it, all cheaper than sending ONE human half way

but he thinks that is impossible & stupid
that is a WTF for bs
TheGhostofOtto1923
3 / 5 (4) Nov 05, 2015
we don't need to be on site to test martian soil
There are 1000s of minerals on mars and the 'dirt' there can be composed of combinations of any of them, just like here on earth..

And so obviously, transporting 1000s of samples back to earth is impractical.

Better to test many different locations in situ and figure out how to combine the most favorable of them for growing things.

And people will need to be on mars to do this.
TheGhostofOtto1923
3.2 / 5 (5) Nov 05, 2015
the best humans will do in the next 100 years is a trip to Mars for glory
We NEED to establish independent colonies elsewhere in the system. Our species is too vulnerable to assume its long term survival by staying in any one place.
We are not going to build Mars orbiting space stations or habitats
We will be building out existing caverns or lava tunnels or we will be boring our own with nuclear-powered borers.

We can also create huge cavities quickly with nukes which can be occupied within 6 months..
https://en.wikipe...ct_Gnome

Living underground on mars will differ little from contemporary urban life here on earth.
We humans will be lucky (or smart) to fix the mess we are making here on the only known habitable rock anywhere
Human haters typically have stunted imaginations.
bschott
2 / 5 (4) Nov 05, 2015
bs thinks the only way to test this is being on-site with human experimenters


bs says the only way to test our Martian growing ability is to be on Mars


Must be why I said:

One large shipment of martian soil to earth based labs where a "clean" facility can be EASILY maintained


So now we have yet another attempted strawman from Biff, and the claim that:

my argument is: we don't need to be on site to test martian soil


Where so far in this thread we also have:

Captain, the best humans will do in the next 100 years is a trip...
@Blue
i agree with this, which is the whole basis for my argument

My argument is basically this: we can (and do) study Mars...


If you only had one argument on the go you wouldn't get so confused Biff.

In the above there are several examples of you telling me what I am saying/thinking, and being completely wrong...as usual. Then arguing from the standpoint that I actually did say them.
bschott
1.8 / 5 (5) Nov 05, 2015

you ASSume there would be something missed only because you ASSume that the research would be as haphazard as your previous PO attempts to explain astrophysics, etc

This fallacious argument is because you ASSume that people are all like you, and this is validated by your own comment above

but he thinks that is impossible & stupid

yeah, you mean like your claims that we couldn't grow anything if it is shielded from external ISS radiation

and you think hospitals are clean?

you are baiting and trolling


Everything you post in this comments section with regards to our back and forth here shows people on this forum more about you than you want them to see.

You come across as a hot head who won't let go of a vendetta.

Know when to say when Biff.
Captain Stumpy
3 / 5 (4) Nov 05, 2015
But you posted above that they can't protect from radiation...where you said
@bs
because you were actually stupid enough to make this comment without reading the links/what i wrote- i should expound: the links show people growing in greenhouses underground. as in "shielded from external radiation" and sequestered from the sun. no light except artificial light. which is (in your own words) "Ironically demonstrating throughout the thread that you are the one with comprehension and literacy issues"
ROTFLMFAO
and if you would read the QUOTE i left- from you.. LMFAO
You can't even tell the difference between studying Mars with rovers and studying Mars by being on site with a human! LMFAO

you're a troll, full of bs!

.

Human haters
@Otto
IMHO- i don't think he is a human hater so much as there seems to be a crisis and stupid people like bschitt have far too much political pull than common sense or logic
bschott
2 / 5 (4) Nov 05, 2015
Awww Biff....Anyone who reads the thread can plainly see where YOU told ME that greenhouses can't protect from radiation, your only links in that comment are about artificial gravity (and we can see how deeply you looked into that one). My sarcastic reply indicated the thoughtlessness of your remark:

LMAO - really? I can't build a structure that protects against outside radiation and inside it grows plants....aw Biff...what is wrong with you? Seriously....


It was actually at that point where you went off the rails, started claiming I was the one who said the above as though i meant it seriously, and you have been sputtering and drooling in every comment since.

Once again it has been a pleasure watching you discombobulate here at the forum.

Au revoir til our next chat Biff. Get some sleep.

Captain Stumpy
3.7 / 5 (3) Nov 05, 2015
greenhouses can't protect from radiation
@bsTROLL
you
They are called greenhouses, we have them here on earth, but since there aren't any up your ass (just guessing) i doubt you have seen one
the typical glass one can't. you never specified anything but greenhouse, which is typically as follows: http://www.merria...eenhouse

please find someone to read the link for you, since your literacy skills are challenged at best
OR
you got kicked in the head by a horse...

so then you decide to move the goalposts
I can't build a structure that protects against outside radiation and inside it grows plants
something you never stated above
so i reply
are you being stupid intentionally?
then add links

and you call me illiterate?
I was the one who said the above as though i meant it
when you have a chronic pseudoscience problem and post BS...

http://media-cach...f521.jpg
Captain Stumpy
3.7 / 5 (3) Nov 10, 2015

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