agLuna: Peas Grown in Mixed Mars Simulation Soil Experiment

#agluna First Mars Simulation Soil Experiment:

We started an experiment for the ability of peas and nitrification bacteria to build up root spheres enriched with NH4 and NO3 to enrich Mars soil with nitrogen.

Nitrification bacteria are able to take atmospheric nitrogen and fix in an for plants accessible form. Here is the experiment some of the earth and mars simulation soils and were sterilized and washed with 90% isopropanol, while others were not to explore the perturbations of the medium.

Image: AgLuna experimental setup of peas in soil. Left: Soil sterilization in oven at 300F for 60 min repeated after 24h. Soil and seed sterilization in 90% Isopropyl alcohol. Center: 4 pots have garden soil and 6 have 400g Martian simulated soil with varying amounts of garden soil up to 100g. Right. Some martian soil pot seeds were covered wtih 5-10g of garden soil to assist with germination.

Varying amounts of garden soil were added to some pots to, 400g of Mars simulant/100g of garden soil, placed 3 peas on top, placed 2g garden soil/pea covered with 100g Mars simulant/30g garden soil. 200ml of distilled water where added at last step to each plant pot.

Experiment was initiated Oct. 11th and water was added at 8pm. By Oct 13th, Pot 1 showed germination is in progress.

Peas slowly grow. By Oct 19th a trend cannot yet be seen in the growing rate. But we can say that the peas in Mars soil don't germinate as well as in garden soil.

Image: Pea sprouts are mostly healthy. One pot with 100% martian simulation soil and sterilized seeds failed to germinate, as seen on the right-most pot in image in the left.

As of November 10th, all pots show equivalent growth, with slower update by the martian soils. No discernible difference between the sterilized and garden soils. 

Stay tuned for updates to this post.