Humanity might be just a few years away from establishing a base on Mars but (sadly) most of us won’t get to go. So what do we do if we want to see how Martian soil feels like?
Simple. Place an order.
The University of Central Florida (UCF) is selling Martian and asteroid soil for $20/kg (approx Rs 1,500) plus shipping costs. But here’s the caveat — it’s not the real thing. The researchers created experimental soil known as ‘simulants’.
Professor Dan Britt, a member of UCF’s Planetary Sciences Group, told IANS,
“The simulant is useful for research as we look to go to Mars. If we are going to go, we’ll need food, water and other essentials. As we are developing solutions, we need a way to test how these ideas will fare. You wouldn’t want to discover that your method didn’t work when we are actually there. What would you do then? It takes years to get there.”
And the soil can be used not just to make sand castles, but to do actual science. For example, they can be used to research ways on how to grow food on Mars.
And the demand for soil samples is increasing. The team already has 30 pending orders. But you can make the soil at home too if you’d like as the formula is based on scientific methods and is published for all to use.
Elon Musk’s SpaceX plans to build a base on Mars by 2028. The billionaire’s mission is to establish a city of a million people in the next 50-100 years. Even India is planning to send another space probe that’ll be a follow up on the widely successful and highly economical Mangalyaan (Mars Orbiter Mission).