If NASA Is Able to Grow Potatoes on Mars Like in ‘The Martian,’ Thank Peru

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After Matt Damon tried to grow potatoes on Mars as astronaut Mark Watney in The Martian, some were quick to question the science. But while people wonder if potatoes can actually grow on Mars, NASA has decided to give it go. NASA has teamed up with the Peruvian International Potato Center (CIP) to carry out the experiment, according to PRI.

The CIP has the not-so-easy task of choosing the right potatoes. In Peru, there are more than 4,000 varieties of potatoes, and the CIP will pick just nine to test if farming is possible on Mars.

Scientists have already started experimenting, placing potatoes in soil from the Pampas de la Joya desert in Arequipa, Peru, which is similar to the soils found on Mars.

“They are volcanic soils with no life forms at all, just as on Mars,” said Joel Ranck, CIP communications officer. “Peru is poised again to play a role in the potato’s fate, hosting a project to take the tuber to space.”