We have all heard about the ambitious plan of Mr.Elon Musk, visionary, inventor, engineer, entrepreneur and a multi billionaire. As a science undergraduate, if you ask me who is on top of my “made it” list that has a science degree, it has to be Mr.Elon Musk.
You may ask, what does GMO has anything to do with Mars?
Well, genetically modified vegetables are probably the only vegetables humans will ever grow on Mars, or anywhere, if humanity is ever to become a multi-planetary specie.
Mars has a sixty-seven km diameter, about fifty-three percent of Earth, it has a twenty four hours day, that is very important for plant growth and it only has thirty-eight percent of Earth’s gravity, and it has all the necessary nutrient for a plant to grow, such as carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, potassium, phosphorus etc. So far so good. The bad news is, it has a very thin atmosphere made of ninety-five percent carbon dioxide, and five percent nitrogen, and its freezing cold, an average minus fifty-five degrees celsius. Oh, then there is radiation from space due to the thin atmosphere. No plants or vegetables thats on Earth can ever survive this environment.
So why don’t you just plant them in a controlled environment or a “Hab”, like in the movie?
Because to feed one person, you will need many “Habs”, to feed a colony, you will need millions. Unless you can afford hundreds of launches for fertiliser shippings to Mars, its not likely to happen. Secondly, eating comes next to terraforming Mars’s atmosphere with more Oxygen.
But with GMO, its another story. Genes of a cold tolerant Spinach, drought tolerant gene from a Lilly Pilly “Big Red”, CO2 loving, fast growing, radioactivity tolerant, add anything you want on your gene shopping list, and it will grow, releasing more oxygen. You can even modify them to release heat or perhaps even green house gas, Mars is really cold, and all the water is trapped, scientists want it to warm up at least 30 degrees.
Imagine, you have all the latest technologies ready, the once per two years, short window of opportunity for Mars travel where its orbit is closest to the Earth is upon you, your space craft is the state of the art, and you can not go.
Because you can’t grow fresh organic tomatoes on Mars, too bad!
Despite the fact that hundreds of studies, decades of consumption, and one hundred million dollar annual spending on GMO safety study has shown no harmful effects, a vast majority of Europeans, Americans, and mostly Russians, are anti-GMO.
How long until we face this situation, according to Elon my man, its not too long, in just 24 months time, you know, getting his auto drive mode installed and things. Jokes aside, humanity will eventually decide to stay on Earth forever, or, its year 2234, resources are depleted, had a massive war, 35 degrees celsius average temperature, ecosystem wiped due to over population and we can not go to Mars, or any other planets and moons. Because according to some, GMO is evil, and Monsanto is a money making corporation, and just typing on their iPhone 300 to let everyone know that science in general a lie.