# Can the top soil of the Mars be transformed to be arable, and how to do it?

Can Mars top soil be transformed to be arable, and how to do it?

It may be planted in the isolated space.

• Hi 朱軒德 I fixed the English in your previous question because it was pretty simple to understand. But this one is much worse! I don't think anyone will be able to understand it. Can you use a dictionary, or find a friend, or do something to improve this? "arable mood"? "planted in the isolated space"? All of your questions will be quickly closed if they are like this. – uhoh Feb 17 '19 at 11:36
• One of the problems with the soil on Mars is the presence of perchlorates, which is toxic to humans because it intefers with the thyroid gland. For the soil to be made arable the perchlorates would need to be removed. – Fred Feb 17 '19 at 16:44
• You get Matt Damon to poop in it. – Innovine Feb 18 '19 at 18:37
• Sorry about my poor English，I come from Taiwan – 朱軒德 Feb 20 '19 at 9:39

The problems of the Mars are these:

1. It is cold. Practically no plant can survive below 0 degree. On the Mars, only on the equatorial noons do we have $$\approx 15 ^\circ C$$. The problem can be solved by glass houses.

2. There is no oxygen. While plants create oxygen by photosynthesis, they also use them. They don't need too much.

3. There is only very little water. Although many water was found recently there, overall the Mars is still so dry, like the Sahara. It is possible, that water ice should be regularly mined on the poles, and then it has to be taken to the equatorial glass houses.

4. Significant radiation from the Sun, mainly UV. It is because Mars has no ozone layer (to defend us from the UV), and only a very little magnetic field (to defend us from the protons). Note, a single layer of glass, what we have also in the windows, filters out practically all the UV.

5. Perchlorate salts in the soil. They are poisoning for most plants, but making the resistant is not impossible with genetic engineering. There are known perchlorate-resistant bacteria. Alternatively, the perchlorate ions could be removed from the soil by chemical means.

These all can be solved, but none of them is easy.

Most likely, the first plantations will be in glass houses and they will utilize mined water, and use processed soil. They will need to operate in closed water and athmosphere loop.

• Seems like perchlorate might be an opportunity - a source for oxygen - perhaps? – Anthony X Feb 17 '19 at 18:38
• @AnthonyX I wonder about that too; if you have any further thoughts, consider adding them at Sources for make-up breathable oxygen on Mars; of H20, CO2 and ClO4-, which is likely to be used first? – uhoh Feb 17 '19 at 21:29
• There are many plants on Earth that survive temperatures below 0 degrees for months. – Uwe Feb 17 '19 at 21:43
• @AnthonyX I think it is possible. However, most of the Martian soil is different metal oxides (aliminium, silicon, iron). Also its athmosphere is carbon dioxide. Probably chemical engineering reasons will decide, which one will be used as $\rm O_2$ source. – peterh - Reinstate Monica Feb 22 '19 at 17:23
• @AnthonyX Now I think, the most logical way is to give to the plants some oxygen to live, and then they will extract the $\rm O_2$ from the Martian atmosphere. – peterh - Reinstate Monica Feb 22 '19 at 17:58