A group of NASA scientists on the hunt in Sri Lanka for a possible match for Martian soils!


A group of scientists from NASA was in Sri Lanka past few days and investigating few locations including Ussangoda, Ginigalapelessa, and Indikolapelessa in southern parts of the island. The group `is currently engaged in a project to investigate an initiative to start a possible plant cultivation on mars, through their research here in Sri Lanka they expect to find a geologically similar soil types to the ones they see on Mars and see the challenges they have to face when starting a habitat on those soils.

NASA Scientist
Mr. Donald R. Hood delivering the guest lecture on “Alteration and Habitability of Martian Soil”

Mr. Donald R. Hood, a scientist from this group delivered a guest lecture yesterday (15th August) at the University of Sri Jayewardenepura and described the importance of their research work and explained geology of Mars and the major issues we have to face when establishing a crop on Martian soils. According to Mr. Hood the team is working on Rocks, Biology of the living organisms found in these areas, and chemical and physical nature of the soils in order to determine a suitable way of establishing a crop cultivation on Martian soils.

Prof. Suniti
Prof. Suniti Karunathilake speaking during the event

Prof. Suniti Karunathilake a Sri Lankan born scientist from the Planetary Science Laboratory of Lusiana State University in United States led the team and was accompanied by Prof. Maheshi Dasanayake, another Sri Lankan born scientist who undertook the genetic studies of the project.

Some of the Participants of the lecture

University students, lecturers and other guests participated the lecture and it had been organized by the Section D of the Sri Lanka Asociation for the Advancement of Science.

About Sisira Kumara

Sisira Kumara works as an Editor (News and Web) for The Sri lankan Scientist Magazine and the The Sri Lankan Scientist Media Organization. A graduate in Agricultural Biotechnology Mr. Sisira mainly covers local and international science news including latest findings and events.

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