Growing potatoes in Rosliston Martian Regolith Simulant

i turned 50 towards the end of last year and at the following RAG meeting our secretary Heather Lomas presented me with a tray of “Rosliston Martian Regolith Simulant” as a birthday present from the club. This particular Regolith simulant is very special as it is material from beneath the foundations of the new Peter Bolas Observatory on site that looks like it might have come from Mars! Of course no one knows exactly what Martian Regolith is like so for our purposes this material from beneath the forestry centre’s topsoil is good enough! I was quite excited to get such a historical present, remembering the foundation (pun intended) of our new observatory as well as giving me a chance to follow in the steps of the hero in the book “The Martian”. The Martian is a 2011 science fiction novel written by Andy Weir. It was his debut novel under his own name. The story follows an American astronaut, Mark Watney, as he becomes stranded alone on Mars in the year 2035, and must improvise in order to survive. The Martian, a film adaptation directed by Ridley Scott and starring Matt Damon, was released in October 2015.

In the story, Mark survives by growing potatoes in soil made from Martian Regolith and mixed with human faeces – the latter I do not intend to do so I will need to find an alternative….


Present from RAG:

Flexible container (foldable as I would of course need if I was going to Mars..) for growing potatoes….

Seed potatoes (3 small potatoes left over from last Sunday lunch) – put into egg box to force them to sprout read for planting in Rosliston Martian Regolith next month!

For the faecal element I need something like this….

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