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Project Title:  Plant Trek: Investigating Strategies for Regolith Pre-Conditioning to Support the Establishment of Plant-Microbe Systems in Martian Habitats Reduce
Images: icon  Fiscal Year: FY 2023 
Division: Space Biology 
Research Discipline/Element:
Space Biology: Microbiology   | Plant Biology  
Start Date: 01/10/2023  
End Date: 01/09/2024  
Task Last Updated: 05/18/2023 
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Principal Investigator/Affiliation:   Lynch, Kennda  Ph.D. / Universities Space Research Association 
Address:  Lunar and Planetary Institute 
3600 Bay Area Blvd 
Houston , TX 77058-1113 
Phone: 281-486-2149  
Congressional District: 36 
Organization Type: NON-PROFIT 
Organization Name: Universities Space Research Association 
Joint Agency:  
Loureiro, Rafael  Ph.D. Winston-Salem State University (Inc) 
Simpson, Anna  Ph.D. Jet Propulsion Laboratory 
Venkateswaran, Kasthuri  Ph.D. Jet Propulsion Laboratory 
Project Information: Grant/Contract No. 80NSSC23K0400 
Responsible Center: NASA KSC 
Grant Monitor: Ruby, Anna Maria  
Center Contact: 321-867-7065 
Unique ID: 15500 
Solicitation / Funding Source: 2021 Space Biology NNH21ZDA001N-SBPS E.9: Plant Studies 
Grant/Contract No.: 80NSSC23K0400 
Project Type: GROUND 
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Space Biology Element: (1) Microbiology
(2) Plant Biology
Space Biology Cross-Element Discipline: None
Space Biology Special Category: (1) Bioregenerative Life Support
Task Description: A critical component to long-duration deep space exploration, specifically on Mars, is developing self-sustainable in situ food production and life support systems. To accomplish this task, it will be necessary to understand how to integrate plant-microbe systems optimally with planetary in situ resources. The overarching goal of this proposed Early Career pilot study is to develop and assess an integrated system approach for pre-conditioning and structing Martian regolith into agriculturally stable and usable soil to support plant growth, sustain microbe-plant interactions, minimize plant stress, and optimize food production and life support. As a part of this study, we will test a microbial consortium derived from a natural perchlorate-reducing system as a pre-inoculant for mitigating perchlorate toxins in Martian regolith simulant. We will also evaluate the phased approach of introducing pioneer species and plant-beneficial micro-organisms as an intermediate structure building step for transforming Martian regolith into a viable agricultural substrate that will reduce plant stress and increase seed germination rates and overall biomass production. The results of this study will pave the way for long-term sustainable crop production in a Martian habitat.

Research Impact/Earth Benefits:

Task Progress & Bibliography Information FY2023 
Task Progress: New project for FY2023.

Bibliography: Description: (Last Updated: ) 

Show Cumulative Bibliography
 None in FY 2023