Space Food: US company anticipates growing food on Mars
2017-08-11 15:44:00

A company in California says it could be the first to grow food on Mars. That's a lofty goal -- but Los Angeles-based Local Roots is not your average farm. Its owners say they can recreate any conditions on planet earth - by bringing farming operations INDOORS. Frances Read reports.

It may look like something from another planet. And in fact one day, plants like these could be the first to sustain human life on Mars. The Californian company, Local Roots, has developed technology that, it says, can replicate any kind of climate inside a 12-meter repurposed shipping container - using special lights and nutrients.

BRANDON MARTIN VICE PRESIDENT OF BUSINESS DEVT, LOCAL ROOTS FARMS "We're awarded the opportunity because we're in a controlled environment to grow food really anywhere, whether that's on earth or whether it's off earth on Mars in the future. People have been trying to control the environment around plants for a very long time. Outdoor farmers have been trying to do it with pesticides, and chemicals and predicting weather patterns. This allows us the opportunity to embrace technology, incorporate technology with that same biology the same seed you would plant outdoors. We just create perfect weather for it inside."

They've now teamed up with Space X - the company that's trying to put humans on Mars by perfecting a refuelable rocket with a plan for fueling the astronauts with food that they'd normally eat on earth. But the benefits of this new technology could extend beyond space. Traditional farming techniques require massive amounts of water. This process cuts that need for water by 97 percent - critical in space - and a potential game-changer for tackling hunger brought on by drought here on earth. Local Roots is already selling its produce to some restaurants and large supermarket chains. With portable shipping containers, the potential for food sourced within physical reach, is an attractive draw for those in the food business.

FERMIN ARIAS CHEF, TENDER GREENS RESTAURANT "Who doesn't want to be at the cutting edge, right? It's pretty exciting. For me as a chef, it's what you want, to be able to have something fresh that you can pick off right off the counter and utilize. It's going to be extraordinary. As a chef it's very exciting. But as an astronaut, to have something nutrient rich is going to change the way we eat and the way we look at food, I think."

FRANCES READ LOS ANGELES Scientists agree there's no quick fix for people's need for food - whether it's here on earth where there's an abundance of water or on Mars where there's not. But, they say, trying find solutions to the world's food shortages may be key to the long-term success of expeditions to other planets. Frances Read, CGTN, Los Angeles.

Source:CGTN Editor:Hiram