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"... plans to send just a small group of people who would build a transparent dome that could be pressurized so that they could farm on Martian soil . . ."

What? Can you do that?




Well, yes, though admittedly not without some help:

http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2010-08/martian-farms-...


You absolutely can. Martian soil is surprisingly very rich, even by Earth's standards.


I highly recommend Robert Zubrin's "The Case for Mars" - you'll be surprised what else is possible on Mars with current technology:

http://www.amazon.com/The-Case-Mars-Settle-Planet/dp/1451608...


Also, TA Heppenheimer's Colonies in Space has a dandy compilation chapter on research on agriculture in enclosed environments. ("Up on the farm")

http://www.nss.org/settlement/ColoniesInSpace/colonies_chap0...

Most of what's talked about in that chapter will also be possible on Mars.




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