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Are We There Yet? Podcast

Martian Farmers

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Peppers and flowers grow in Martian regolith
Matt Romeyn harvests microgreens.
Micro-greens have nutrition and flavor - two important attributes for future space food.
Matt Romeyn and Richie Fritsche inside their plant lab.

Ralph Fritsche is a lot like Mark Watney. He’s growing potatoes in Martian regolith. And as we’ll find out, it’s harder than it looks.

Last episode, we learned about NASA’s Veggie experiment. Another experiment, the Advanced Plant Habitat, is heading up to the International Space Station in March. It’s a self-contained unit that allows even greater tweaking of space farming on the station and it’s the next step in unlocking the secrets to growing plants in space. In true NASA fashion, you’ll hear it referred to in acronym form during this episode: APH.

While engineers and scientists get ready to launch that experiment, Fritsche is busy working on the next steps – growing food on other worlds. He works with botanists here on earth to figure out what martians will plant, grow and eat when they get to the red planet.

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Brendan Byrne

About Brendan Byrne

Space Reporter and 'Intersection' Producer

Brendan covers space news for WMFE, everything from rocket launches to the latest scientific discoveries in our universe. He hosts "Are We There Yet?", WMFE's space exploration podcast He also helps produce WMFE's twice-weekly public affairs show "Intersection," working with host Matthew Peddie to shape the ... Read Full Bio »