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Idaho Students, Professors Theorize Growing Crops on Mars

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Matt Damon in The Martian - 20TH CENTURY FOX
  • 20th Century Fox
  • Matt Damon in The Martian


Matt Damon would be proud. Or at least Damon's character, astronaut Mark Watney, in highly-acclaimed The Martian would be proud of efforts from professors at the University of Idaho and Washington State University, who are working to prove food can be grown on Mars.

"I'm going to have to science the s**t out of this," says Damon's character, shortly after being abandoned on the red planet when his crew presumes he is dead. The good news is that Watney is a botanist and soon enough he... well, we don't want to spoil any more of The Martian than we have to.

This morning's Lewiston Tribune reports U of I food science professor Helen Joyner and WSU astronomy instructor Michael Allen recently published "Farming in Space?" a thesis that asked students to (theoretically) grow crops on Mars. 

"We got really, really lucky with the movie and the case study coming out at the same time," Joyner told the Tribune. "Making science fun, I think, is the first step in getting people interested in scientific disciplines."