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Future Martians?
Mars is looking more habitable all the time. Well you know, aside from the lethal atmosphere. And the cosmic radiation Martian colonists would be subjected to along the way. And the general soul-crushing inhospitality of the planet itself. Aside from all that, though, Mars would make a pretty sweet new place for us to build all the great stuff we have on Earth: endless parking lots, landfills full of old iPhones, privately-owned prisons, and of course Starbucks franchises. Lots of Starbucks franchises. Is the colonization of Mars realistically possible in our lifetime, though?

Getting there isn't the problem; we already have the rocket technology to get us well past Mars. The question lies in the ability of colonists to actually sustain themselves once safely on the Martian surface. Luckily, several studies published over the past year have given hope to the starry-eyed visionaries who believe we are on the verge of being able to colonize the Red Planet. First, an experiment concluded that potatoes can grow in simulated Martian soil under high-pressure, low-oxygen conditions, lending hope that the starchy staple crop could be grown by Mars colonists.

Another study by a team of Dutch scientists found that crops grown in (simulated) Martian soil are safe to eat. Now, a new crowdfunded study by those same scientists at Wageningen University & Research in the Netherlands claims that earthworms can survive and even reproduce in Martian soil.

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