How humans could survive on Mars by eating INSECTS: Colonies would need lab-grown meat, tunnel-grown crops and cricket farms, a study finds
- Resources such as water and oxygen are believed to be in abundant supplies
- But lack of a viable food source has long been seen as an insurmountable hurdle
- Insect farms are key as they provide calorie-dense meals with little water use
The prospect of a human settlement on Mars took a giant leap towards becoming real today as a strategy was developed for surviving on the Red Planet – and it involves eating insects.
Essential resources such as energy, water and oxygen are believed to be in abundant supplies on Mars, but a lack of a viable food source has long been seen as an insurmountable hurdle.
But scientists have now said that the key to thriving on the famously crop-light planet would involve snacking on crickets and growing meat in a laboratory.
Picking up the gauntlet laid down by SpaceX’s Elon Musk, planetary scientists at the University of Florida in Orlando devised a plan to sustain a one-million-strong colony.
Essential resources such as energy, water and oxygen are believed to be in abundant supplies on Mars, but a lack of a viable food source has long been seen as an insurmountable hurdle
Keith Cannon, co-lead of the study, told Space.com: ‘Food is probably going to be the hardest thing to make locally on Mars, and you can’t just import it all if you want to have a self-sufficient settlement.’
He added: ‘Bugs are the way to go, if people can get over the gross factor.’
Establishing an insect farm is claimed to be an efficient use of resources, as it would require a tiny amount of water while providing a calorie-dense meal.
Flour created from mashed-up crickets was a particular recipe offered by the scientists, who hailed the edibility of the six-legged creature.
Last year, houses for a potential future colony on Mars were designed by a Chinese electronics giant
Flour created from mashed-up crickets was a particular recipe offered by the scientists, who hailed the edibility of the six-legged creature
Efforts to develop a self-sufficient colony on Mars have been ramped up in recent years as commercial companies such as SpaceX look to establish a civilization on the Red Planet.
Solar power, ice and carbon dioxide are present on Mars and are believed to be able to produce energy, water and oxygen respectively.
Yet no raw materials have yet been discovered that can be harvested for food, even with the help of a chemical reactor.
In addition to rearing insects, the Florida scientists suggested ‘cellular agriculture’ which would provide a more recognisable diet for the weak-stomached among the colony.
Space X, led by Elon Musk (pictured), hopes to one million people to Mars over the next 50 to 100 years
Meat and dairy products such as beef and milk are possible to be grown from cultures in a laboratory.
The researches said that vegetables – important for any rounded diet – would struggle to grow because of a lack of natural light.
However, they argued that this could be remedied by cultivating plants in a tunnel lit with intense LEDs and boosted the limited sunlight which could be wired down fiber-optic cables.