(Trends Wide) — First it was the billionaires, then the movie stars … now the ketchup is pointing to the space race.
Heinz has unveiled its first “Marz Edition” ketchup with tomatoes grown on Earth under conditions similar to those on Mars. A team of 14 astrobiologists worked for nine months at Florida Institute of Technology’s Aldrin Space Institute, growing tomatoes in a controlled environment with soil, temperature and water conditions similar to those on Mars.
Former NASA astronaut Mike Massimino said ketchup made from conventional ground tomatoes has been a staple in space for dressing dehydrated foods, but the Marz Edition variety has implications that go beyond taste. The two-year experiment demonstrates the possibility of long-term food production on Mars.
“Until now, most of the efforts around discovering ways to grow crops under simulated Martian conditions are short-term plant growth studies. What this project has done is studying long-term food harvesting. Getting a harvest of quality to turn into Heinz Tomato Ketchup was the dream result and we have achieved it, “said Andrew Palmer, who led the team at Florida Tech’s Aldrin Space Institute.
NASA has also experimented with harvesting plants in space to provide astronauts with more nutrients for their freeze-dried diets. (Apparently the human body cannot survive on freeze-dried ice cream.)
The International Space Station recently hosted a taco party after harvesting the first chili peppers at the station; Ketchup could be the next guest at the taco party. There has been talk of sending a tomato growing experiment to the space station, NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough said Friday.
The research team and Massimino will be the first to test the final product on November 10 at 10 am ET. You can watch the historic event on Heinz’s social media channels, such as Twitter and Instagram.
Martian ketchup isn’t available for purchase, but if you ever find yourself traveling to Mars, it might be one thing you don’t have to pack.