[Image: Courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona].
The soil chemistry on Mars is apparently just right for growing turnips. After digging up soil in a region of the Red Planet nicknamed Wonderland, the Phoenix rover “found trace levels of nutrients like magnesium, sodium, potassium and chloride,” which is “the same basic chemistry as garden soil.” These soil samples are also “fairly alkaline,” we read, “with a pH of 8 or 9. This level of alkalinity is common for many Earth soils, and myriad bacteria and plants, including vegetables like asparagus and turnips, can thrive at such a pH.”
So could we develop Mars gardens in our landscape architecture classes – pre-emptive landscape grafts that we’ll export off-world for future planting?