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The University of Southampton

Southampton students aiming to put the first life on Mars

Published: 10 December 2014Origin: Engineering
The #LettuceOnMars team

A student project from the University’s Spaceflight Society, has reached the finals of an international competition to land experiments on Mars, run by Mars One.

#LettuceOnMars is now one of the ten short-listed university projects, and the only UK entry, that was selected for technical feasibility and popularity. The winning payload will arrive on Mars in 2018 together with the official Mars One experiments.

The project’s aim is to send a small greenhouse to Mars in which lettuce will be grown using the atmosphere and sunlight on Mars.

The team now need the votes of the general public to be chosen as the winner and realise their plan to grow lettuce on Mars. Voting is open now and closes on 31 December 2014.

The team from the Spaceflight Society is made up of under and postgraduate students from Engineering, Electronics and Computer Science and Biological Sciences.

Project leader and Aeronautics and Astronautics student, Suzanna Lucarotti, says: “To live on other planets we need to grow food there. No-one has ever actually done this and we intend to be the first. This plan is both technically feasible and incredibly ambitious in its scope, for we will be bringing the first complex life to another planet. Growing plants on other planets is something that needs to be done, and will lead to a wealth of research and industrial opportunities that our plan aims to bring to the University of Southampton.

“We have tackled diverse sets of engineering challenges, including aeroponic systems, bio filters, low power gas pressurisation systems and failsafe planetary protection systems and then integrated them all into one payload on a tight mass, power and cost budget. We can build this here and now, the only step now is to win the public vote.”


To vote for the team, vote #LettuceOnMars - details are on the team website

You can also follow them on twitter @MarsOneProject, on Facebook and on Google+.

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