Heinz's "Marz Edition" Ketchup Uses Tomatoes Grown in Mars-Like Conditions

This food experiment can help determine long-term harvesting plans outside of Earth.

Ketchup is a fan-favorite condiment around the world, and it's used to coat everything from French fries to hot dogs and hamburgers. Now, this tasty topping is getting an out-of-this-world makeover: According to CNN, the Heinz brand created its "Marz Edition" ketchup with tomatoes grown in Mars-like conditions here on Earth. It took a research team of 14 astrobiologists and nine months to create the tomatoes, which they grew at the Aldrin Space Institute at the Florida Institute of Technology in an environment complete with soil, temperature, and water reminiscent to that on Mars.

The inspiration to create this new ketchup ties to the practices that astronauts currently follow in outer space. Former NASA astronaut Mike Massimino noted that he and his colleagues used ketchup to help add moisture and flavor to their dehydrated meals. However, the Marz Edition ketchup will now be able to also help test out the possibility of food growth on Mars one day.

"Before now, most efforts around discovering ways to grow in Martian-simulated conditions are short-term plant growth studies. What this project has done is look at long-term food harvesting. Achieving a crop that is of a quality to become Heinz Tomato Ketchup was the dream result and we achieved it," said Andrew Palmer, the team lead at the Aldrin Space Institute at Florida Tech.

There have been other recent experiments by NASA to provide astronauts with more food options while out in the galaxy, namely with plant harvesting in space since they typically eat freeze-dried foods. As of late, they found success with the harvesting of the first chile peppers grown in outer space. NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough shared that bringing the tomato experiment to the space station could be the next step in creating food outside of Earth. For now, the scientists will taste the Marz Edition ketchup on November 10 at 10 a.m. ET, and you can tune in on Heinz's social media channels, including Twitter and Instagram.

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