Chefs at Whitworth University growing Martian influenced garden - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Chefs at Whitworth University growing Martian influenced garden

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Grayson and his counterpart, Christine Logan-Travis, have been growing the plants since April. Grayson and his counterpart, Christine Logan-Travis, have been growing the plants since April.
SPOKANE, Wash. -

NASA is planning a manned mission to Mars sometime in the 2030’s, and pair of local chefs are trying to help.

Outside the cafeteria at Whitworth University there’s a little black tent filled with basil, oregano, tomato, and other plants growing form a reddish-brown soil.

It’s called Martian Regolith Soil and it’s perhaps the most crucial part of the project. The soil comes from mines in the Pu’u Nene cinder cone of one of Hawaii’s volcanoes. It’s the only soil on Earth that is almost identical to what you might find on Mars.

“It is a reality that at some point, if man goes to Mars, they will need to grow food there,” said Executive Chef at Whitworth, Timothy Grayson. “They’ll need to grow plants to produce oxygen in order for humans to live on another planet.”

Grayson and his counterpart, Christine Logan-Travis, have been growing the plants since April.

After reading an article about growing plants on the Red Planet and watching the movie The Martian, Grayson and Logan-Travis were inspired to take on the project from NASA.

“We track everything that we do and then we report it to NASA,” said Grayson.

Much like Mark Watney’s character in the blockbuster film, the plants grown in the Martian garden are meant to eat. Grayson says the next experiment will be to grow potatoes, just like the movie.

While it may seem like a long time before we send people to Mars, Grayson and Logan-Travis have helped prove that we’re not so far away.

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