The International Potato Center briefed us to prove the potential of potatoes. So we came up with an idea that was out of this world – to grow them on Mars. Growing potatoes successfully on a hostile alien world would prove they could survive in extreme climates here on Earth. While Matt Damon was still preparing to play his fictional movie role, our very real mission had already started. We assembled, and collaborated with, a cross disciplinary team of CIP, UTEC and NASA scientists representing the fields of agriculture, plant breeding, astrobiology, medicine and physics. The Mars experiment was conducted at the International Potato Center headquarters in Lima, Peru, home to the world’s largest gene bank of potatoes. The scientists tested and cross-bred 65 of the hardiest varieties from over 5,000 available.
The innovation was 2 fold.
For the first time NASA, CIP and a Advertising Agency conducted an extreme product demonstration in the hope to prove we can grow potatoes anywhere on earth by combining 3 atmospheric conditions: Pressure, Low temperatures and high Carbon dioxide were used in a sealed chamber to mimic Mars like conditions.
Never has such an experiment been done to study crops.
It was broadcast live to the word through specially modified cameras which allowed millions of people to witness history as our potato broke through and mars soil.
The second innovation was the study of the potato itself. A new Genotype was discovered and has been named “Unique”. The experiment has allowed CIP to continue its research. A white paper has been written on the findings which will directly benefit humans on earth.
The mission made history. We developed a new organic variety of potato, called “Unique,” that now leads the way in climate-resistant crops. This has set the bar for future extra-terrestrial farming, but more importantly it’s proved that potatoes can grow in places on Earth that nobody thought possible. We’ve shown the world that by growing potatoes in Mars-like conditions, we can help save millions of lives here on Earth. And we’ve already started - our new potato is being deployed in climate crisis areas in Bangladesh.* Over 100 Million People Watched It Grow Live.* 280 Million Online Engagements* Over 3 Billion In Global Media Reach* Already Being Deployed To Climate Crisis Areas On Earth* Our New Potato Is Part of NASA’s Mission To Mars Planned For The 2030s
Potatoes On Mars - a bold experiment that has made history. Devised by us, and developed together with a team of CIP, UTEC and NASA scientists, we successfully developed a new variety of potato that will grow in extreme climates anywhere on Earth. We’ve shown the world that successfully growing potatoes in Mars-like conditions means we can now help save millions of lives here on Earth. And we’ve already started - Leading the way in climate-resistant crops, our new potato has already been sent to crisis spots in Bangladesh.