Potatoes Could Be Grown on Mars

Potatoes Could Be Grown on Mars

In the 2015 film “The Martian,” Matt Damon’s (1)___________ is a scientist left behind on Mars.
He has limited (2)______________ and not much water. He tries to figure out how to survive so he can be rescued.
Luckily, he knows how to grow things. And one of the things he grows is a potato plant.
A year later, scientists in Peru and NASA scientists in California started working together on growing potatoes in a (3)_____________ similar to Mars.
They (4)________________ where they could simulate the conditions on Mars. The salty soil came from the southern coast of Peru, where there is very little rain.
Inside the “Mars-in-a-box,” the scientists made the (5)______________ similar to what it is like at 6,000-meters, decreased the temperature below zero, and added carbon monoxide to the air.
They made a lighting system that followed Mars’ daytime and nighttime.
They planted 65 types of potato plants, and waited. After a while, (6)___________________.
Later, the scientists (7)_________________ of the four plants and tried again. This time, they used crushed rocks instead of soil.
The plant still grew.
Why is the research being done in Peru?
You may not know that Peru is known as (8)______________ of potato farming. People grew potatoes there about 7,000 years ago. Even in cold, barren parts of Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia, potatoes still grow.
There is also a potato research center, called the International Potato Center, in the capital city, Lima.
The (9)___________________ in the Mars-in-a box is known as Unique.
It can still grow in freezing climates with high amounts of carbon dioxide.
The research is not only for a trip to Mars one day.
It is going to help feed people in parts of the world that are already having trouble planting traditional crops due to (10)_______________.
The work is not yet done.
The scientists in Peru and California will try to grow more plants in even more (11)_________________.
I’m Dan Friedell.
Dan Friedell adapted this story for Learning English based on an Associated Press report. Hai Do was the editor.
Will we one day grow potatoes on Mars? We want to know. Write to us in the Comments Section or on our Facebook page.
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Words in This Story

character - n. a person who appears in a story, plkay or movie
simulate - v. look feel or behave like (something)
carbon monoxide - n. a poisonous gas that is formed when carbon is not completely burned
barren - adj. not suitable for plants

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