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Researchers just scienced the potatoes out of Mars farming experiment

The Martian, Andy Weir’s famous space novel-turned-movie, may be coming true—at least as far as potatoes are concerned, Business Insider reports. In the story, astronaut Mark Watney (played by Matt Damon in the movie), survives being stranded on Mars by growing potatoes—using his own feces for fertilizer. Now, a new experiment here on Earth has shown potato plants can actually grow in “near-martian” conditions. The setup, put together by scientists at the International Potato Center, is a hermetically sealed container that mimics the day lengths, atmosphere, and temperature of Mars, fed by a “nutrient rich water” (no word on whether human waste was involved). In addition to encouraging Mars-terraform enthusiasts, the research could help us grow food on challenging parts of our own space-rock.

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