Watch the Video

A team of world-class scientists have grown potatoes under Martian conditions in a bid to save millions of lives.

Watch the experiment as its happened in the International Potato Centre.

One giant leap for the Potato.

World changing.

Malnutrition and hunger affect 780 million people worldwide.

We now have the power to fight malnutrition and lift people out of poverty.

Barbara Wells

If we can grow potatoes on Mars, we can save lives on Earth.

A solution to world hunger, has arrived.

Our new potato has been sent to help famine struck areas in Bangladesh.

Joel Ranck

What is CIP?

There are over 4,000 edible varieties of potato, mostly found in the Andes of South America. Potato is the third most important food crop in the world after rice and wheat in terms of human consumption. More than a billion people worldwide eat potato, and global total crop production exceeds 300 million metric tons.

The International Potato Center, known by its Spanish acronym CIP, was founded in 1971 as a root and tuber research-for-development institution delivering sustainable solutions to the pressing world problems of hunger, poverty, and the degradation of natural resources. CIP is headquartered in Lima, Peru and has offices in 20 developing countries across Asia, Africa, and Latin America. CIP seeks to achieve food security, increased well-being, and gender equity for poor people in the developing world. CIP furthers its mission through rigorous research, innovation in science and technology, and capacity strengthening regarding root and tuber farming and food systems.

CIP is part of the CGIAR Consortium, a global partnership that unites organizations engaged in research for a food secure future. CGIAR research is dedicated to reducing rural poverty, increasing food security, improving human health and nutrition, and ensuring more sustainable management of natural resources. Donors include individual countries, major foundations, and international entities.

Crop of the future

The soil in La Joya Pampas-a sector of the Atacama Desert in southern Peru that's considered one of the driest places on earth-is very similar to that found on the Red Planet.

The scientists plan to transport 200 pounds (100 kilos) of it to a CIP laboratory in Lima that will simulate the complex Martian atmosphere-which contains mostly carbon dioxide-and expose it to extreme ultraviolet radiation.

"We'll have more concrete results in one or two years, Valdivia said, adding that it will take more than five years to launch an unmanned mission to Mars. The potential future space crop is also one of the oldest.
Records of potato cultivation date back to 2500 BC, when the indigenous Aymara Indians farmed it in modern-day Peru and Bolivia. If the varieties selected for next month's experiment don't adapt to the desert soil, the researchers will introduce nutrients and subject them to radiation.

The Team

The Potato on Mars team is a cross-disciplinary cohort of CIP and NASA scientists representing the fields of agriculture, plant breeding, astrobiology, medicine, and physics. Together they are exploring how to grow potatoes on Mars while simultaneously benefiting Farmers of Earth.

Potato Facts

Potatoes are incredibly robust and have the ability to grow in any soil.


March 15, 2017

Scientists Successfully Grow Potatoes in Mars-Like Soils

Can potatoes grow on the red planet? The International Potato Center is on the case

March 09, 2017

Potatoes can grow in 'extreme' Mars-like conditions, a new NASA-backed experiment shows

In the 2015 blockbuster movie "The Martian," a fictional botanist-turned-astronaut gets stranded on Mars, forcing him to "science the s---" out of his dire situation.

March 30, 2017

'Super potato' grown in Mars-like conditions may benefit Earth's arid areas

Scientists in Peru conducted experiments reminiscent of the 2015 Matt Damon film the Martian, creating similar conditions on Earth

March 10, 2017

Spuds on Mars: Potatoes Can Sprout in Red Planet Environment, Study Suggests

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March 08, 2017

Yes, You Can Grow Potatoes On Mars

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March 08, 2017

The Martian got it wrong: Study reveals potatoes would grow OUTSIDE in Martian soil in breakthrough for manned missions

Experiments to grow potatoes in the harsh soil of the southern Peruvian desert have revealed new promise for their ability to thrive on Mars.

March 10, 2017

Scientists: Potatoes Can Grow on Mars

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30 March, 2017

Life on Mars? Scientists successfully grow potatoes by replicating Red Planet's environment

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08 March, 2017

Experiment suggests potatoes really will grow on Mars

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10 March, 2017

'The Martian' gets it right: You probably can grow potatoes on Mars

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April 15, 2016

Mark Watney would be proud! Nasa is attempting to grow potatoes in Peruvian soil that mimics the conditions found on Mars

In film The Martian, Mark Watney uses soil on Mars to grow potatoes - and this kind of space gardening might not be as far away from reality as it seems. Researchers in Peru are attempting to mimic the conditions...

June 25, 2016

Can potatoes really grow on Mars?

NASA and private companies are planning expeditions to Mars. The new space race could be titled "Destination: Mars." But the astronaut...

April 19, 2016

NASA Wants To Grow Potatoes On Mars

NASA is taking a page out of "The Martian's" playbook and is researching ways to grow potatoes on Mars. The starchy spud is not just a good source...

April 19, 2016

Spuds in space: is growing potatoes on Mars key to surviving climate change?

Echoing Ridley Scott's The Martian, Nasa is running tests to see if potatoes could survive the climatic extremes...

March 16, 2016

NASA's mission: Growing potatoes on Mars

Scientist team up with the International Potato Centre in Peru...

June 26, 2016

Can potatoes really grow on Mars?

NASA and private companies are planning expeditions to Mars. The new space race could be...