Alfalfa: Travelers may be fed on Mars

It is certain that in the future, when humans form colonies on Mars and start life there, the colonists and travelers will have to farm for the food they need.

Scientists in the US, who have thought about how to meet that food demand, have now almost reached a decision about the plant that will provide food on Mars.

Scientists have come to this conclusion after a research in the US showed that a plant called alfalfa can grow in volcanic soil, which is very similar to the soil on Mars.

Alfalfa, which can also be used as a fertilizer, will not be used directly as food by scientists on Mars. Rather, it is used as a medium for growing various other types of edible crops.

The fact that alfalfa can be used as fertilizer to grow plants such as turnips, radishes and lettuces is what attracted scientists who developed bacteria to help separate salts from the highly saline water they might find on Mars.

Scientists say that all these discoveries will greatly boost future human efforts to colonize Mars.

Cultivating the Martian soil, which is generally composed of basalt, is low in nutrients and has little water-holding capacity due to the lack of carbon. On Mars, water is found in the polar ice sheets.

Alfalfa, also known as lucerne, a south-central Asian plant cultivated worldwide as fodder, is said to have been cultivated in early Greek and Roman societies.

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