Growing Potatoes on Mars

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 In the book (and just released movie), “The Martian” by Andy Weir , an astronaut is stranded on Mars and survives by successfully growing potatoes. The book is absorbing and the science appears convincing. Modern Farmer did some fact checking, and found that, yes, it was possible to grow potatoes on Mars as described in the book. Given the enthusiasm around the movie, I wonder what people will think about that. Here, survival is at stake, and an innovative solution is applied: if we can applaud this in a book/movie, why is there is such resistance to innovative science based solutions in agriculture in the real world?

Perhaps it is precisely through the world of the imagination that we can bring about an acceptance of the application of new technology in agriculture. I remember my daughter bursting into the kitchen to announce that in the book that her entire class was reading at that moment, “Divergent” by Veronica Roth, the main character says: “My mother told me once that, a long time ago, there were people who wouldn’t buy genetically engineered produce because they viewed it as unnatural. Now we have no other option.” For the first time, what I talked about was not merely background noise but actually validated!

Waiting to see if the movie is as good as people are saying….

(Image Courtesy: “Mars Surface” by Victor Habbik FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

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