Where No Ketchup Has Gone Before

“First came the billionaires, then the movie stars — now ketchup is making its mark on the space race.”  (CNN November 8, 2021)

At first glance, this seemed like a silly story – Heinz had made “Marz Edition” of their ketchup using tomatoes that were produced in a controlled environment similar to what plants could expect if they were growing up on the Red Planet.

But turns out this was a serious experiment by 14 astrobiologists as part of long-term food harvesting  strategy for NASA.  I guess astronauts and Mars pioneers need a little more than freeze-dried ice cream (which is awful, by the way) to get by.

The ketchup will not be available to the public but there will be a big taste test tomorrow – if you are Twittered or Instagramed, you can watch it at 10 a.m. ET.  For the rest of us, we’ll just have to dream.

If you have a couple of Martian acres, what would you want to grow (and would you want to garden in person or from a distance)? 

41 thoughts on “Where No Ketchup Has Gone Before”

  1. i’m thinking peas and beans might be interesting with gravity making climbers a different equation
    tomato’s potato garlic and lettuce onions and basil and i’d be good
    that’s if i’m there
    if i’m not let’s grow ginsing and ship it back look at what grows well in martian soils
    can you cover it with solar panels and make a battery production plant out of it
    how long does it take to get to mars? could you do a commute on a yearly basis?
    ketchup is good but i’d need mustard so let’s grow some mustard seed

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Rise and Shine BAboons,

    My first thought at seeing this question was this, “Don’t give Renee and Chris more gardening space! They will need MORE freezers!” I miss the Great Gift Exchange, but I support the decision VS. Gardening in person is the only way I want to garden, so I pass on the gardening property in space. I do think a TV show, “Gardeners in Space” is something we should work on

    I am off to work today after a week off. I dreamt Sunday that I scheduled all my clients at 11 am on Thursday and they all showed up.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Our current garden space is producing more than we can use now. I would only garden on Mars if the garden came with Martians to do all the work in it.

      Liked by 3 people

  3. Forget the ketchup garden. I say get to work on a Star Trek-style replicator. Push a few buttons and you get a burger, fries, and a chocolate malt on a little tray.

    Liked by 4 people

      1. I read a book several years ago about the science of Star Trek. And the description of what it would take to actually do “beam me up Scotty” made me realize this will probably never happen. Ever. Makes me a little sad.


  4. Half of the beauty of gardening is just playing in the dirt and seeing things grow. Are there weeds in martian soil? Cause that’s where the trouble comes in…

    Liked by 4 people

  5. The Red Planet produces red veggies and fruit.
    Beets, red bell peppers, tomatoes, rhubarb, red potatoes, radishes, cranberries, strawberries, red onions…

    Liked by 5 people

      1. but the punchline is that everything is red
        apples oranges and bananas are all res
        milk wheat and sunflowers all red
        your cheddar cheese is red
        your cottage cheese is red
        your new challenge is presenting shades of red on a plate

        i love shades of red together from my first exposure to tubes of paint
        cadmium red light med and dark with a spot of napatol crimson next to it
        that orange red sets them all off and turns it to art

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I checked it out and discovered that the commute time to Mars is 150 to 300 days so that would make it kind of a annual trip where you would travel for six months or a year and stay for six months or a year and in order to do that I would hope to be able to travel on a ship that would not only have sleeping quarters in a chair but also exercise facilities lounge space and some comforts

    Once in March it would be good to set up the space to run a shelf during the time that I was gone and or to accommodate those who would follow may be a good thing to get underway would be the process to grow fruit trees and perennials and find out how they reacted to the different light no light time frames that would be involved in Mars versus the customary earth process

    Liked by 4 people

  7. There’s a threat of an idea there you could fill the space vessel with compost and send it up to Mars in six months to a year it would be turned into beautiful potting soil at which time that soil could be planted with seeds from the Martian robots and shipped back to us and after a six month gestation. The crops planted would be ready to be harvested and the vessel could be reloaded with compost and ship back tomorrow’s on a never ending cycle and our composting problems would be solved as far as where to go for landfill and we could have a nonstop gardening lab

    This sounds likeA problem if you have to wait for six months for it to arrive but if you’re loading ships daily and so you have 365 ships coming and going making a drop in making their pick up it could be quite an industry

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Now I’m picturing robotic harvesting happening on the ship for the return when crops have been judged to be ripe put into baskets and removed to the refrigerated section of the vehicle

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I read The Martian. It’s actually one of the best books I’ve ever read. He did grow potatoes except at one freak storm wiped out his entire crop. And although Andy Weir made it seem like it was a fairly simple process (albeit expensive) to go to Mars and back, it’s not something I’m going to sign up for. I think there are way too many big problems that haven’t been solved yet for travel to Mars. One of them is how to protect our puny fragile bodies from radiation once we get further out in the space than we have been. The other thing that bothers me about traveling to Mars is how many times we’ve seen what we’ve sent to the red planet crash upon arrival. So I’m not sure that I want to get on a small enclosed space for 300 days to a place where will it might crash land and never get home from again. That being said hot peppers would be my choice.

      Liked by 5 people

    1. Weir double checked every scientific and technological detail to be sure he was right. He wrote it online and got feedback to check on his science. A few small details slipped by him. There is one glaring error but he needed it to make the plot work. Mars does not have enough atmosphere to produce winds like that.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. The science was one of the things that I like best about this book. And the fact that he wrote the science so that it was understandable to your average moderate lay person was great as well.


      1. TYVM – “Thank You Very Much”
        YMMV – “Your Mileage may vary”
        DAMHIK – “Don’t ask me how I know”

        Among others I see frequently…


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