Matt is tired and wants to go home
(Mirror Daily, United States) The Martian has sparked a lot of debate as to whether it’s possible or not, but now scientists tell Matt Damon if he could really live on Mars.
The idea of the debate is centered round the farming. The story in the movie and the book that it’s based on says that Matt Damon plays an astronaut, by the name of Mark Watney, who is left stranded on Mars by his colleagues (seeing as it’s Matt Damon, I would say on purpose).
He tries to reestablish contact with them and with NASA, but fails. Soon enough he realizes that, even if he manages to get in touch with them and NASA to send a rescue party, it would still take them years to reach him (yeah, sure, after we watch our kids grow up for a couple of years, we’ll go find Matt Damon. We’ll just tell him it was really far away and we had a flat tire, or something).
So, in the meantime, using his knowledge as a botanist, he creates some sort of fertile soil and uses it to grow potatoes. Spectacular plot, indeed. But let’s see if it really could be done. Jim Bell, a planetary scientist with the Arizona State University says that the theory of it all is perfectly ok. Practice, however, wouldn’t go so well.
The soil needs to be fertilized in order to be able to sustain plants. For that, we, on earth, use things like manure and it is clear that’s where Damon got his inspiration from when he used his own poop. In theory, fine, in practice – well, scientists say eating a plant that was grown in a soil fertilized with human poop would actually make you sick. Human poop has pathogens that are highly dangerous to your body.
However, the movie seems to have found a loophole for that. Damon is only using his own poop to fertilize the crops and frozen poop from the other astronauts. So, basically, the frozen doodoo has no more pathogen agents and his own doodoo, well, is his own, so he would only be putting back into his body what he got out.
So scientists say that in a situation of extreme survival, you might be able to get away with it. But dude, you’re not going to like it. Scientists conclude by saying this is a sci-fi movie after all and we should all just be glad that Matt Damon got to play with poop in space!
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