Martian Crop Possibilities – Student Investigation
- Download Crop Characteristics and use the chart to;
- Make a list of the crops based on “time to mature” with those taking the shortest amount of time at the top.
- Make a list of the crops based on “Energy Produced” with the highest energy crop at the top.
- Make a list of the crops based on “Storage Time for Crops” with those that will store the longest at the top.
- Based on a combination of the three lists, which crops might be the best ones as candidates for Martian cultivation?
- These are only three factors to consider. For example, good taste might be a consideration; garlic has the highest energy produced, but just how much garlic can one consume!?!?! What other factors should be considered?
- Personal preference is also important! For each of the crops on the list, indicate how you feel about each crop.
|Can’t get enough of it||4 points|
|Like it most of the time||3 points|
|I can take it or leave it||2 points|
|Not my preference||1 point|
|Not even if I’m starving!||0 points|
- As a group (or class) discuss personal preferences around different vegetables and other foods.
- Why would personal preference be important for astronauts on long term space missions?
- Based on the factors that can be “quantified” (numbered) AND the other factors that you establish, develop a final rank ordering of the top ten potential crops for cultivation on Mars.
- Many foods on the International Space Station (and presumably on long-term space voyages will have to be dehydrated (water removed).
- What are the advantages of dehydrated foods for space travel?
- What are the disadvantages of dehydrated foods for space travel?
- What dehydrated foods have you eaten on Earth? Were these eaten in a dehydrated state or was water added? How did you feel about eating these dehydrated foods? In general, did the dehydrated foods taste different (better or worse)?
- How long could you be happy eating ONLY dehydrated foods?
- What other methods could be used to “store” foods for long-term space voyages?
- Use a standard food guide (eg. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2015 – 2020), create a menu for one day that will provide a well balanced diet for someone on a long-term space voyage.