IICA supports research aimed at simulating food production on Mars

San Jose, 15 January 2020 (IICA). With a view to conducting research on food production under controlled conditions and using renewable energies, the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) will support the participation of a Costa Rican engineer in mission 221 of Earth2Mars in Utah, United States. The mission will experiment with technological developments that could enable human life on Mars.

Earth2Mars will carry out its mission from February 2 to 16, at a research station located in the U.S. dessert, which simulates life on Mars. The mission is promoted by The Mars Society, an organization that seeks to educate the public about exploration on planet Mars.

Costa Rican engineer, Luis Diego Monge, will join a crew of scientists from India, Australia, Canada, Kuwait and the United States to conduct research in matters related to astronomy, geology, human behavior and medicine.

“The future of food production goes hand in hand with the experiments carried out at these stations, in areas such as greenhouse farming, hydroponics, and production in urban areas with limited resources. The future of nutrition in large cities depends on this research,” stated Monge.

With support from IICA, Monge will explore food production under controlled conditions and using renewable energies. He will also conduct tests to analyze the complexities of installing telecommunication antennas to communicate with Earth.

Monge will also take blue corn to the experimental station, for research purposes. This corn species, which is endemic in Latin America, has great cultural, nutritional and economic value across the hemisphere, and is associated with higher longevity rates.

IICA has assisted Monge in purchasing electronic devices and solar panels, which he will use to grow corn in the station’s controlled environment. He will also have access to IICA’s Fab Lab, a center specializing in technological management and innovation for the agriculture sector, which is located at the Institute’s headquarters in Costa Rica.

“The innovation platforms that IICA promotes can channel efforts towards developing the technologies needed to conduct future missions beyond our planet. It is crucial that we diversify food origins and types, with a special focus on Latin America,” remarked Jonathan Castro, Specialist in Technological Innovation, Natural Resources and Climate Change at IICA.

With a view to encouraging participation by youth in the field of science, Monge will take playful experiments developed by two Costa Rican schools, Colegio Yorkín and Escuela Jesús Jiménez, to the Earth2Mars mission.

About IICAIICA is the specialized agency for agriculture in the Inter-American system, with a mission to encourage, promote and support its 34 Member States in their efforts to achieve agricultural development and rural well-being through international technical cooperation of excellence.
More information:
Institutional Communication Division at IICAcomunicacion.institucional@iica.int