‘To explore the potential of nature to improve the quality of life.’
This is Wageningen University & Research's mission. We are a research institution that focuses on the domain ‘healthy food and living conditions’. We do not just develop top-quality expertise; we also help translate our knowledge into practice worldwide. Support our projects and contribute to the quality of life.
Astronauts urine as manure for vegetable growth on Mars
Did you ever think of your urine as manure? We do! We are going to use urine as manure to grow crops on Mars soil simulant. It is the ‘only logical’ next step in our Food For Mars & Moon (FFMM) project to feed humans on Mars. Support our research and donate, There will always be a reward for you whether you donate 10 or 10.000 euros or dollars.
'To boldly grow where no plant has grown before'
(after Start Trek, The Next Generation)
As a science fiction enthusiast (yes I did watch ‘The Martian’ several times) I can not imagine a more thrilling adventure than a trip to Mars or the Moon to establish a human settlement over there. Science fiction? No, by conducting the research now we facilitate this epic journey! And as an ecologist who as a child wanted to be an astronomer am now am able to combine these two passions in this research.
Why your pee?
A settlement on Mars or the Moon can not allow anything to go lost. Losses have to be compensated by import from Earth or excavation from Mars or the Moon. Both options are time consuming and costly. This also applies to manure used to grow crops on. Without manure no plant growth. This implies that not only dead plant parts that are not eaten have to be returned to the soil, but also the faeces of the astronauts. And do not forget to bring the poo and pee from your travel to Mars or the Moon. Upon arrival on Mars or the Moon the faeces can then immediately be used to fertilize the soil. The moment that the first human will set foot on Mars is closing in. Therefore, now is the moment to investigate if we can grow crops on these solar bodies by applying pee.
Up till now we have never used human faeces in our experiments to grow crops on Mars and Moon soil simulants. To create a closed sustainable agricultural ecosystem for Mars the faeces have to be returned to the soil. We start with the urine. Water treatment facilities can purify this into struvite, a very good fertilizer that is guaranteed free from diseases. This experiment is the next step in our effort to feed future colonists on Mars and the moon. We also will learn more how to turn infertile soil (again) in to productive soil, which may have applications on Earth as well, e.g. in desserts.
‘Our research will be one of the most important steps towards a self-sustainable settlement of humans on Mars, recycling of urine. Without this a Mars settlement will not be possible.’
(Wieger Wamelink, principal researcher Food For Mars & Moon, Wageningen UR).
The donations will be used to buy materials. Renting the greenhouse and the hire of greenhouse personnel assisting the research. For the first time we will use an automated water supplying system based on sensor readings in the Mars soil simulant. And of course we have to purchase Mars soil simulant and seeds. A special acquisition will be a pro camera so everybody can follow the experiment via life stream.
However all this is not possible without your support, so help us out and donate!
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