Researchers from NASA have proposed a project that would put a small greenhouse on Mars in 2021 - the next time Mars rover is scheduled to land on the red planet.
The project is called the Mars Plant Experiment (MPX) and is designed to help the process of establishing human colonization on Mars, according to RT.
Scientists from the space agency said MPX would be a self-contained project and will be closed off from Mars' atmosphere to make sure that there is no way plant life could escape.
"In order to do a long-term, sustainable base on Mars, you would want to be able to establish that plants can at least grow on Mars," Heath Smith, MPX deputy principal investigator of NASA's Ames Research Center, said in April at the Humans 2 Mars conference in Washington, D.C. "This would be the first step in that ... we just send the seeds there and watch them grow."
MPX would attach a clear "CubeSat" box, a case for a small satellite, to the exterior of the rover. The box would hold air from Earth and close to 200 seeds of Arabidopsis, a tiny flowering plant commonly used for scientific research, NBC News reported.
After Rover touches down on Mars, the seeds will receive water and grow for at least two weeks.
"In 15 days, we'll have a little greenhouse on Mars," Smith said.
The project will provide a test for organisms on the red planet and demonstrate how life from Earth deals with Mars' high levels of radiation and low gravity. Smith said that the planet's gravity is equal to almost 40 percent of that on Earth.
"We would go from this simple experiment to the greenhouses on Mars for a sustainable base," she said. "That would be the goal."
The scientists are focusing on long-term research, RT reported. However, MPX will still make history as a short-term project.
"It also would be the first multicellular organism to grow, live, and die on another planet," Smith said.