Dartmouth engineering students will head to NASA’s Langley Research Center soon to pitch a Mars greenhouse concept that has the potential to grow enough crops to sustain a small human colony.

As one of five finalists for NASA’s 2019 Breakthrough, Innovative, and Game-changing (BIG) Idea Challenge, the Dartmouth team will have the opportunity to propose a solution to a real-time challenge for NASA as it explores a human mission to Mars.  They chose eight hardy food crops—kale, soy, sweet potato, potato, broccoli, strawberry, wheat, and chufa* — to grow in a rotating nutrient-filled hydroponic system and provide enough nourishment for a four-person crew on a 600-day surface mission to Mars.

Here’s the full story from the Thayer School of Engineering.

* I had never heard of chufa, either. It’s a grassy food popular with turkeys.

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