Washington, Sep 30 (PTI) Scientists have created experimental Martian dirt — a simulant that closely resembles the soil on Mars and could help find ways to grow food on the red planet for future human colonies. Also Read - US Sets New Global Record With 1,480 Deaths in 24 Hours; President Trump Recommends Face Masks

Researchers from University of Central Florida (UCF) in the US developed a scientifically based, standardised method for creating Martian and asteroid soil known as simulants. Also Read - Coronavirus: Trump Tests Negative For Second Time, Says 'It Took Just 15 Minutes For The Result'

“The simulant is useful for research as we look to go to Mars. If we are going to go, we’ll need food, water and other essentials. As we are developing solutions, we need a way to test how these ideas will fare,” said Dan Britt, from UCF. Also Read - Coronavirus: US Laboratory Develops Portable, Five-Minute COVID-19 Test

Scientists looking for ways to grow food on Mars need to test their techniques on soil that most closely resembles the stuff on Mars.

The researchers’ formula is based on the chemical signature of the soils on Mars collected by the Curiosity rover.

Researchers believe that there is a market for the simulant.

At USD 20 a kilogram, plus shipping, it may be easier to send UCF an order, than to try and make it in labs across the nation, they said.

The team already has about 30 pending orders.

The researcher will help accelerate the drive to explore our solar system as demonstrated by investments already being made by Space X, Blue Origin and other private companies.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.