Researchers have made another important step in the quest for establishing life on Mars. After creating a material which simulates the Martian soil, they discovered that earthworms can easily thrive in such an environment. This is a great discovery for the future of human missions on the Red Planet, meaning that it’s not impossible to create a human colony there.
Earthworms might survive in the Martian soil
The experiment of the Martian soil was performed at the Research Center of the Wageningen University in the Netherlands. These findings are extremely important for the future of a possible colony that humans might establish on the Red Planet. If these earthworms could survive in such a soil, it means that we might be able to grow crops there as well.
However, earthworms are more important than they seem. These creatures are essential for the survival of a crop, as they contribute to the synthesis of the organic matter. Therefore, if they can thrive in an artificial Martian soil, then crops should thrive as well.
For this study, researchers planted rucola in a soil simulating the Martian conditions. Then, they added pig manure in the soil, as well as earthworms. The manure contributed to the growth of the plants just like in a regular soil, and the worms did their job just like they should have.
The worms made the soil more aerated and chewed on dead organic matter
Earthworms eat the dead organic matter which ends up in the soil. This means that, if certain parts of the plants die and end up in the soil, the worms help it get mixed with the rest of the soil. Also, they contribute to the aeration of the soil. Sometimes, it might be too hard to let the water circulate properly, but these creatures can easily solve the problem.
However, the experiments are far from over. Earthworms might thrive in the Martian soil, but researchers need to explore how they would react in low gravity.
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