The food did not look great in “Total Recall,” but that has not stopped student Carlos Monleon-Gendall pioneering the Martian Terroir project to create wine suitable for consumption on the red planet. Making use of scientific experts, soil samples and a “Martian Acclimatisation Chamber,” the dream is close to becoming a reality.
Metro: What are the martian conditions you have created?
Monleon-Gendall: We try different light exposures, cell composition and an atmosphere based on data from Mars soil samples and probes. We have assembled the characteristics; it’s not 100 percent simulation, but it does transform the plants.
Would the wine taste better?
That’s the key question. It’s very different because of the process — the bacteria and yeast would create new flavor compounds that would taste different. The goal is to adapt our taste to like them.
Are you willing to try this and possibly poison yourself?
I would, yes; it’s an ongoing project and I will try. There is a risk of contamination because of the clay vessels we are using.
If this works could it get you a job in space exploration?
I’m very happy being an earthbound astronaut but we will need to develop this technology, so maybe yes, I will be the official NASA winemaker!