Earlier this week, the most obvious scientific news in recent memory was reported: there’s Uranium on the Moon.
This has been, pretty much, a slam-dunk since Apollo 11. Why? Because we’ve brought moonrocks back to Earth, and we’ve analyzed them thoroughly. What did we find? That they’re made of the same stuff that Earth-rocks are made of!
I mean, not that that isn’t interesting. None of the other rocky bodies in our Solar System have the same composition as Earth, which helped lead us to the understanding that the Moon was made out of the same stuff that made Earth. In fact, one of the coolest biological things (to an astrophysicist) that was done recently was the crushing of moonrocks into a sandy dust, followed by planting seeds in them and watering them. The result?
Marigolds! You can grow certain hardy plants in the soil on the Moon; just add air and water!
So, my question is this: what about other worlds? Say, this one:
We land stuff there. We land highly advanced, mostly autonomous robots there. Mars has some atmosphere; is that enough to grow things? Anything? Mars may be able to support water for short periods of time. If not, we could always bring a pressurized terrarium, and use the Martian soil:
It would be such a curious thing to do, to simply test, firsthand, whether Mars can sustain life or not. Furthermore, it seems easy to do, like this could be a small, standalone thing to piggy-back on the next Mars mission. Can you think of a reason why we shouldn’t and/or couldn’t do this?