Campus News

Geomicrobiology doctoral candidate talks about difficulty farming on Mars

Laura Fackrell, a doctoral candidate in geology department within the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, was recently quoted in a Washington Post story about farming on Mars.

Fackrell and her colleagues mixed five new types of artificial Mars dirt to explore how variety in soil might impact future agricultural practices. Each new faux Mars dirt signifies a mix of resources that could be found or created on Mars. This collection of varieties “expands the palette of what we have available,” she said.

The article details future experiments and what those might involve. For example, exploring what types of nutrients help plants persist in the fake Martian dirt mixes.

“It’s not quite as easy as it looks in The Martian,” Fackrell said.