Space cakes and Martian greenhouse

Here is Emerging Truth’s post about astronauts’ menu and the plans for them to garden on Mars.

I love the idea of a Martian greenhouse, but I’m concerned about it as a horticultural plan. How will the humans avoid introducing invasive pest species? I suppose the seeds flown in will be surface-sterilised in some way. But is it feasible to make a seed SPF (Specific Pathogen Free)? Is there such a thing as SPF hydroponic growing? What about the astronauts’ clothing and bodies? I suspect that it’s possible to carry a plant pest on or in your body without any symptoms until it encounters the correct plant to be its host. And then what? The greenhouse will be a contained area, because it’ll be on Mars with unsuitable conditions for life to exist outside the greenhouse. In that sense it’s an ecosystem waiting to be made. An ecosystem which could easily find itself invaded by parasites, pathogens, pests…

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About argylesock

I wrote a PhD about veterinary parasitology so that's the starting point for this blog. But I'm now branching out into other areas of biology and into popular science writing. I'll write here about science that happens in landscapes, particularly farmland, and about science involving interspecific interactions. Datasets and statistics get my attention. Exactly where this blog will lead? That's a journey that I'm on and I hope you'll come with me.
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