Scientists from NASA want to get humans to Mars. Researchers are currently trying to find out what plants can grow in the soil on Mars. They hope that astronauts will grow their own food on the Red Planet. The journey to Mars could take two-and-a-half years. The astronauts will need to take a lot of food with them to last for the journey. They will never be able to come back to Earth. This means they will need to grow their own fruit, vegetables, etc. from seeds. NASA said there could be a problem because Mars doesn't have soil that is good for growing things. It just has red dust.
Humans could be on Mars in the next 15 years. NASA has been testing "Martian gardens" to see what might grow on Mars. They used a soil made of crushed volcanic rock. It contains no nutrients or organic material, so it is similar to the dust on Mars. The scientists grew lettuce in it. The lettuce tasted normal, but it had weaker roots and took longer to grow. A NASA spokesman said: "Discoveries made in these Earth-based 'Martian gardens' will pave the way for future studies and technology development in terms of reliable, efficient food production a long way from [Earth]."