A team of scientists at the International Potato Center in Lima, Peru, has identified a hardy potato variety that could grow on Mars.
The Potatoes on Mars project, which is being developed with assistance from NASA, managed to grow potatoes using nutrient-enriched water inside a heremetically sealed vessel called the CubeSat, researcher Julio Valdivia-Silva told EFE.
The CubeSat allowed scientists to subject the potato variety to extreme conditions similar to those on the Red Planet, Valdivia-Silva said.
"The most important result is that this suggests we are going to be able to cultivate a potato, in a controlled manner, in conditions similar to Mars," the researcher said.
The potatoes grew in soil with 30 percent salinity, a level similar to that on Mars, and a 10 percent CO2 concentration, with temperatures between -5 and 20 degrees Celcius.
The atmosphere on Mars has a 95 percent CO2 concentration and the temperature can drop to -60 degrees Celcius, Valdivia-Silva said.
The project's second phase calls for subjecting this potato variety to conditions similar to those in Mars' atmosphere.