Asked by Janet Darren
Plants would struggle to grow in the different and harsher conditions on the surface of Mars. The lower gravity, lower light levels, different atmosphere and nutrient-lacking soil on the Red Planet would make it difficult for Earth-adapted plants to survive without assistance.
Future human settlers on the surface would need to construct greenhouses or special modules where they can re-create more optimal conditions for crops to grow, potentially growing them hydroponically, without soil. Being able to farm will be an essential skill for a colonist of Mars.
Horticulture experiments currently underway on the International Space Station (ISS) will help us prepare for a future where we could grow food on other planets, moons or even in space itself.
Answered by Zoe Baily from the National Space Centre
Got a question for us? Send it into firstname.lastname@example.org and you could see it featured in All About Space – available every month for just £3.99. Alternatively you can subscribe here for a fraction of the price!