When We Get to Mars, the Beer Might Not Be Bad Martian Soil Is Perfect For Growing Hops
Here’s an interplanetary botany discovery that took college students and not NASA scientists to find: Hops — the flowers used to add a pleasant bitterness to beer — grow well in Martian soil.
“I don’t know if it’s a practical plant, but it’s doing fairly well,” said Edward F. Guinan, a professor of astronomy and astrophysics at Villanova University. Last semester, 25 students took Dr. Guinan’s class on astrobiology, about the possibility of life elsewhere in the universe. For the laboratory part of the course, the students became farmers, experimenting to see which crops might grow in Martian soil and feed future travelers there.
“I was trying to come with a project for the students to do, a catchy project that would be fairly easy,” Dr. Guinan said. “I kept telling them, ‘You’re on Mars, there’s a colony there, and it’s your job to feed them. They’re all depending on you.’” Dr. Guinan presented the findings on Friday at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Washington, D.C.