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DGAP-News: Mars One Ventures AG: Can bacteria survive in Mars soil and thus enhance crop production?

DGAP-News: Mars One Ventures AG / Key word(s): Miscellaneous
Mars One Ventures AG: Can bacteria survive in Mars soil and thus enhance crop

24.02.2017 / 10:02
The issuer is solely responsible for the content of this announcement.

Wageningen / London, February 24th, 2017- The Imperial College in London is
going to investigate if bacteria will survive in the Mars and Moon soil simulant
in cooperation with Wageningen University & Research in March 2017. To be able
to live on Mars or the Moon, humans will need to grow their own food. One of the
key factors in plant growth and recycling of dead plant parts are bacteria. They
break down the dead leaves, roots and stems and thus make nutrients, manure,
available again for plant growth. Completing this cycle is essential for
sustainable crop growth on Mars. "With this next step we are moving from just
growing crops to building a small but sustainable ecosystem", said Dr. ir.
Wieger Wamelink of Wageningen University & Research and a Mars One adviser.

The experimental work will be carried out by Dr. Maaike van Agtmaal, a
Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Division of Ecology and Evolution of the
Imperial College in London. Soon she will start her first measurements. First,
the Mars and Moon soil simulant is sterilised to make sure no bacteria are
present. Then the simulant soil will be inoculated with bacteria from different
agricultural soils and placed in microcosms. The activity of the bacteria will
be monitored. "My aim is to study the process of terraforming of soils, the
process of making soil habitable. We will therefore also compare the results
from the simulants with Sahara sand and Arctic soil and with sterilised soil
simulant without bacteria", Van Agtmaal said. The experiment will last one month
during which samples will be taken every week to observe which bacteria can
enter the soil, see if they survive and test which essential soil functions they
can bring.

One of the essentials for plant growth are nutrients as nitrogen, phosphorous
potassium or calcium. These nutrients will be taken up by plants, resulting in
growth. However, this will deplete the nutrient stock in the soil. For this
reason, dead plant parts that are not eaten have to be returned to the soil,
just like the faeces and urine of the humans. The nutrients in the dead plant
parts will not be released to the soil, unless bacteria break down the dead
plant material first. They feed from the dead plants, meanwhile releasing the
nutrients for the plants. "We have been growing crops on Mars and Moon soil
simulant for several years now", Wamelink explains, "and we have demonstrated
that it is possible to harvest over a dozen different crops including tomatoes,
green beans, potatoes, carrots and radishes. These are important ingredients for
a healthy and tasty diet for future Mars settlers. However, the harvest is still
less than from crops grown on earth potting soil. This could be due to a lower
bacterial activity and this experiment may reveal this."

Bas Lansdorp, CEO and co-founder of Mars One: "For our mission of permanent
settlement on Mars, growing food locally is very important. While our astronauts
will bring storable food from Earth, they will try to eat as much fresh food
that they produce on Mars as possible, increasing their independency from
supplies from Earth and increasing the quality of life. Mars One is particularly
interested in this research as it could mean an important step towards producing
food more efficiently on Mars."

About Dr. ir. Wieger Wamelink
Dr. ir. Wieger Wamelink, a Mars One adviser, is a senior ecologist at Wageningen
Environmental Science at Wageningen University & Research (the Netherlands). He
has made significant scientific contributions to the understanding of the
possibilities of using Martian soil for food production on Mars, a key component
of the Mars One mission.

Wieger Wamelink has over 20 years of experience in experimental, field and
modelling ecology after graduating as a plant breeder with speciality of plant
physiology. He has (co-) authored more than 150 scientific publications and has
appeared in many tv and radio shows and in many newspapers and other media.
Wieger Wamelink collaborates with other departments within Wageningen University
& Research including the department of Mars One adviser Prof. Dr. Leo Marcelis.

Wieger Wamelink, Wageningen University & Research, +31 317 485917 an overview of the Mars Moon
experiment pictures of the Mars Moon

About Maaike van Agtmaal, PhD
Maaike van Agtmaal is a soil microbial ecologist whose research focuses on
experimentally testing the role of soil bacterial diversity on various soil
functions in the lab and in the field. She is intrigued by microbial
interactions in soil, and the effect which these small scale processes could
have on ecosystem functioning. She works as postdoctoral researcher at Imperial
College London on the Ugrass project: 'understanding and enhancing soil
ecosystem services and resilience in UK grass and croplands' which is part of
the Soil Security Program of the UK.

Maaike van Agtmaal, Imperial College London, +44 20 759 42317 / +44 7821495624

About Wageningen University & Research
Wageningen UR is a collaboration between Wageningen University and the DLO
foundation. 'To explore the potential of nature to improve the quality of life'.
That is the mission of Wageningen UR (University & Research centre). A staff of
6,500 and 10,000 students from over 100 countries work everywhere around the
world in the domain of healthy food and living environment for governments and
the business community-at-large. The scientific quality of Wageningen UR is
affirmed by the prominent position they occupy in international rankings and
citation indexes.

For more information about Wageningen University & Research, please

About Mars One
Mars One aims to establish a permanent human settlement on Mars. Before
carefully selected and trained crews will depart to Mars, several unmanned
missions will be completed, establishing a habitable settlement waiting for the
first astronauts to arrive.

Mars One consists of two entities: the not-for-profit Mars One Foundation and
the publicly trading Mars One Ventures AG [FRA: KCC], ISIN: CH0132106482. The
Mars One Foundation implements, and manages the mission and owns the mission
hardware. It also selects and trains the crews, and is building an ever growing
community of experts and supporters that follow the progress of the mission and
contribute to it.

Mars One Ventures holds the exclusive monetization rights around the Mars One
mission. There are many revenue possibilities around the mission to Mars:
merchandise, ads on video content, broadcasting rights, partnerships,
Intellectual Property, events, games, apps, and many more.

For more information about Mars One, please

24.02.2017  Dissemination of a Corporate News, transmitted by DGAP - a service
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The issuer is solely responsible for the content of this announcement.

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Company:  Mars One Ventures AG

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Phone:    +41 61 312 34 11


ISIN:     CH0132106482

WKN:      A14NYB

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