A group of Greek students have worked with to bring one step forward in the mission to make Mars more hospitable. They developed a self-supporting garden greenhouse that grows spinach and is brilliantly named Popeye.
Last May, the students' creation won NASA's International Space Apps Challenge, a competition throughout 48 hours in cities across the world. The objective is to create an open-source solution to deal with a variety of needs for life on Earth and in space. In the designs, the garden greenhouse is made up of a solar-powered system enclosed in a protective dome. It's meant to grow spinach over a 45-day period to supply potential astronauts on Mars with food.
The Red Planet (Mars) isn't really known for its welcoming nature. Its unpleasant environment will make it difficult to shelter vegetation, and its conditions are tremendously not the same as Earth, with temperatures usually hovering around minus 80 degrees Fahrenheit, and an atmosphere roughly 100 times less dense than Earth’s.
The greenhouse protective dome hopes to combat this challenging atmosphere. It permits sunlight while offering isolation from the planet's harsher climate. The enclosed system also "reproduces the conditions needed for photosynthesis" while working autonomously, per Reuters.