NASA has determined if we’re ever going to get to Mars, astronauts need to be able to grow their food. Animal foods are not a viable option. This limits them to vegetables, fruits, grains and legumes, the very foundation of a plant-based diet. This is the diet that vegans follow for a variety of reasons: environmental, health, their love of animals, or all of the above. The first colonists on Mars will be veganauts out of necessity, but will hopefully discover the other reasons along the way.
They will have to grow their own food, so the scientists are checking out whether this will work. The first-ever crop of chickpea plants has just made it into space. A mini greenhouse was sent to the International Space Station, where astronauts will grow chickpeas in zero-gravity in what’s been dubbed, Project “Space Hummus.” The question they are seeking to answer is, can you grow chickpeas, and other essential plant-based foods and proteins, without Mother Nature’s own sunshine, earth, and atmosphere? The answer had better be yes if we’re ever going to get to Mars. These chickpeas are being grown in a nutrition gel specifically designed for chickpeas. There is confidence among the scientific community that the plants will grow, based on light and soil, moisture, and oxygen in their controlled environment. But gravity also plays a role in the growth of vegetables, so in a zero-gravity environment, will the plants grow up to the light?
The only chance humans have of sustainable living is to figure out how to grow generations of food, long after what they bring in their spaceships run out. So far, scientists have grown nine vegetables in “simulated” Martian soil: tomatoes, radishes, peas, garden cress, rocket (greens), radishes, rye, quinoa, chives, and leeks. Chickpeas will be the newest frontier, as they hope to eat hummus on Mars!