In the movie The Martian, Matt Damon grows potatoes on Mars to survive. Well Dutch researchers at Wageningen University, who have been growing a range of crops in artificial Martian soil since 2013, have found that several veggies and at least one grain are safe to eat.
“We had crops and harvested them, tomatoes, rye grains, radish, rocket, cress, but did not taste them yet,” lead researcher Wieger Wamelink told Gizmodo earlier this year when they first started growing the plants. “First we have to make sure that it is safe to eat them because of the heavy metals that are present in the soils and may end up in the plants.”
Although the soil isn’t actually culled from the surface of the Red Planet, it’s mixed with minerals found in Martian dirt to create a close imitation. So far, radishes, peas, rye, and tomatoes have all proven safe to eat. Although Martian soil contains heavy metals like cadmium, copper, and lead, none of the crops have dangerous levels of them.