A group of scientists based out of Lima are investigating the possibility of growing a certain strain of Peruvian potato on Mars. The scientists come from the International Potato Center (IPC) and they have confirmed that they have identified one type of Peruvian potato that could grow on Mars.
The scientists from the IPC are part of the larger group, The Potato on Mars project, which is a joint venture between the University of Engineering and Technology in Lima and NASA. The project is expected to last 5 years.
During the initial investigations, the scientists were able to recreate the conditions that exist on Mars, using a sealed vessel called the CubeSat. In the CubeSat, the potatoes were grown in a soil that contained 30% salinity, a concentration of CO2 of 10%, with temperatures hovering between -5 and 20 degrees Celsius.
Julio Valdivia-Silvia, one of the scientists from UTEC believes that if potatoes could withstand the conditions exposed to them in CubeSat, then there is a high possibility that they could also grow on Mars.
Furthermore, the scientists recreated the environment again, this time using soil from the deserts of southern Peru, which are some of the closest soils to those found on Mars that exist on Earth.