Martian soil may have all the nutrients rice needs

THE WOODLANDS, TEXAS — Martian dirt may have all the necessary nutrients for growing rice, one of humankind’s most important foods, planetary scientist Abhilash Ramachandran reported March 13 at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference. However, the plant may need a bit of help to survive amid perchlorate, a chemical that can be toxic to plants and has been detected on Mars’ surface (SN: 11/18/20).

“We want to send humans to Mars … but we cannot take everything there. It’s going to be expensive,” says Ramachandran, of the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. Growing rice there would be ideal, because it’s easy to prepare, he says. “You just peel

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