After the onboard chemical laboratory of the rovers Curiosity studied in detail the composition of the Martian soil-regolith, scientists on Earth selected the closest analogue to it. They found a volcanic breed from the Hawaiian Islands – now biologists and chemists have plenty of material for research. And they were able to surpass the success of the hero of the movie “Martian”.
The crushed volcanic rock became an imitation of the Martian soil, where various kinds of organic substances began to be added, in order to obtain an analog of the fertile soil. The best result was shown by a combination of a suspension of pig litter and freshly mown grass. While scientists have successfully cultivated a salad on this imitator, they say that the Martian potatoes will not matter.
The most interesting thing is that terrestrial earthworms have perfectly taken root in the fertilized imitator of the Martian soil. They are the key to agriculture, these invertebrates utilize dead organic matter and release nitrogen and phosphorus, the basis of fertilizers. Plus, the soil is mixed with its movements, which increases its humidity and air saturation.
In the presence of living worms, we can confine ourselves only to a suspension of feces and water, so that the Martian regolith becomes a remote likeness of chernozem. The real triumph of the scientists was when, at the end of the experiment, two young worms were found in the simulator. If life itself began to reproduce in such conditions, the agriculture of the Red Planet has great prospects!