Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) used in medical devices and for growing plants, like potatoes seen here, are used by NASA to grow plants in space. The U.S. space agency plans to grow food on future spacecraft and on other planets as a food supplement for astronauts.
LED lights can actually improve upon the sun and help grow plants in space. A Canadian team of researchers is helping to refine and perfect LED technology.
Mars seen by Viking.
NASA / USGS
If we find microbes on Mars, it will be difficult to exclude the possibility that we have accidentally brought them there from Earth.
Mars NASA JPL Caltech cd f d o.
The race may be on to send humans to live on Mars, but is it worth the effort -- and the spend -- when we have our own problems to deal with on Earth.
The Wdowiak Ridge on Mars as seen by NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity.
NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell Univ./Arizona State Univ.
Clay on early Mars could have formed under hot and steamy conditions, challenging the idea that it was created just like that on Earth.
NASA/JPL/University of Arizona
Simulations in a special chamber suggest how the Mars landscape could have been shaped under certain conditions.
Off to court…
Future Mars colonists may want to form their own legal system. What would stop them?
Images of the lost Beagle 2.
Beagle 2 shows the fine line between success and failure in Mars exploration. There's a lot we can learn from it going forward.
Olympus Mons, biggest volcano in the Solar System.
They erupted for billions of years and make Earth's volcanoes look like molehills. Here's what we know and what we don't know about them.
Will it be only a few decades before Mars tourism is a reality?
Musk’s audacious plan to blast people to Mars by 2024 glosses over some important social and political challenges that SpaceX will need to successfully navigate to get off the ground.
When will we see a woman or a man walk on Mars?
Sending humans to Mars is a 5-10 year project goal for several global operators right now. It's expensive - but Elon Musk unveiled his new commercial plan today.
The Viking landers in the 1970s were the last to look directly for life on Mars.
Planetary protection protocols try to make sure we don't seed places like Mars with life from our planet. An astrobiologist argues they're misguided – especially with human astronauts on the horizon.
Anastasiya (left) and myself working on the Haughton crater rim.
Will humans ever live on Mars? Whoever it is to get there first will benefit from the experiences of those who stayed in simulated Martian missions here on Earth.
There is water on Mars - but it’s buried, and frozen.
Space exploration is exciting - but there are barriers for humans hoping to visit and even stay on planets. Buried ice on Mars could be a water source for interplanetary visits of the future.
What Mars could have looked like during an ice age 400,000 years ago.
Scientists used to believe that snowfall could never reach the ground.
4000 km wide view of Mars’ (colour-coded topgraphy) Coprates Chasma.
NASA/USGS/ESA/DLR/FU Berlin (G Neukum)
The volcanoes would be a great place t to search for fossilised microbes.
Jason Szenes / EPA
We need a positive vision for humanity, not tech-driven life on Mars.
Matt Damon as astronaut and exobotanist Mark Watney in the film The Martian grows crops on Mars.
(20th Century Fox/Handout)
We will one day grow food in conditions as extreme as Mars. Developing the controlled environments required will help not only space explorers but also support our own survival here on Earth.
Artist’s concept of the Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft approaching Mars.
Musk dismisses one of the main technical challenges of being on the Martian surface: the temperature.
A view from the ‘Kimberley’ formation on Mars taken by NASA’s Curiosity rover. The strata in the foreground dip towards the base of Mount Sharp, indicating flow of water toward a basin that existed before the larger bulk of the mountain formed.
We could learn a lot from any mission to send people to Mars, such as whether there's life elsewhere in the universe or even the technology for new household appliances.
Suited up to simulate the conditions of working outside on Mars. Jonathan Clarke (the author, left) with visiting engineer Michael Curtis-Rouse, from UK Space Agency (right).
Jonathan Clarke personal collection
One of the best ways to find out the challenges of living on Mars is to simulate living on another planet here on Earth. So what's it like to spend several months living the Martian life?