Mars seem to be the centre of attraction for scientists these days. After executing several missions on the Red Planet, researchers have come up with something new. Now a team of young researchers are planning to send seeds to Mars in 2018, with an aim of growing first plant on a planet other than the Earth.
Dutch non-profit Mars One organised a contest to select the best seed team on the basis of designs for experiments. “We are excited to announce the winner of the Mars One University Competition: Seed. The winning payload will fly to the surface of Mars on Mars One’s 2018 unmanned lander mission,” the company said.
Seed of Arabidopsis thaliana was lucky enough to get selected for the Mars mission. Seed has been previously used by the International Space Station (ISS). Seed was selected by an open vote for 35 university proposals. This is the first time that the public has been a decisive factor in a mission as big as Mars.
“Seed itself is uniquely inspiring since this would be the first time a plant will be grown on Mars,” said Arno Wielders, co-founder and Chief Technical Officer of Mars One. “The genes of the plants are very well sequenced and well known in the scientific community,” he added.
The mission aims to germinate the seed on the Mars and looks forward to support life development process and provide deeper understanding of plant growth on Mars. Although, looking at the Mars rocky surface, it will be difficult to germinate the seed, however, the selected team says that have invented a process that they are pretty sure of to succeed.
Selected team consists six members including four bioengineering students from the University of Porto and two Ph.D. students from MIT Portugal and the University of Madrid. Teresa Araujo, one of the team member, said that their team feels blessed on getting selected for the mission as there were so many innovative ideas.
However, if the selected team fails to germinate the seed on the Mars then runner-up will get a chance to execute their idea.