Heinz created a Mars-like version of their famous ketchup using tomatoes from Mars. This was done in order to better understand the possibility that humans could one day be able to live on Mars.

Martian regolith is more harsh than soil. It lacks organic matter and gets less sun. The team needed to develop new methods to increase growth. 

Humans on Mars may one day be able to cultivate their own food using Martian soil. This is as shown in Matt Damon’s movie The Martian.

Heinz made Ketchup from the tomatoes they created, and now scientists believe that these techniques can be used for growing crops in Earth’s harsher climate.

Mike Massimino is a former NASA astronaut and a self-proclaimed ketchup fan. He told MailOnline that space is all about sauce and that it is essential to have a familiar taste of ketchup when far from home.

He was asked whether he would travel to Mars. Now that he is aware of the possibility of growing tomatoes for sauces, he replied: “It would be unlikely someone would ask me that.”

However, he does believe humans will visit Mars in the next 10-15 years, adding: ‘I think we will make it this time thanks to private sector operators like [Elon]Musk.

Heinz created a new “Marz Edition” of the famous ketchup using the tomato products from the experiment. It is said that it can be distinguished from its normal counterpart.

Heinz has made a version of its famous ketchup from tomatoes grown in Mars-like soil, in an effort to understand how humans might live on the Red Planet

Heinz made its popular ketchup with tomatoes that were grown in Mars-like soil in an attempt to learn more about how people might survive on Mars.

Taking inspiration from art, a team from Heinz, and the Florida Institute of Technology¿s Aldrin Space Institute decided to find a way to grow ketchup-quality tomatoes in a simulated version of Martian regolith

Taking inspiration from art, a team from Heinz, and the Florida Institute of Technology’s Aldrin Space Institute decided to find a way to grow ketchup-quality tomatoes in a simulated version of Martian regolith

In the movie The Martian, Matt Damon's character was able to grow potatoes in Martian soil inside a greenhouse. The Heinz team created similar conditions on Earth

Matt Damon, in the film The Martian was able grow potatoes inside a greenhouse using Martian soil. Similar conditions were found on Earth by the Heinz Team


Martian soil differs from Earth:

Regolith refers to the material found on Mars’ surface. It isn’t soil like we imagine it.

Martian regolith lacks any significant organic matter. 

Although it does contain the essential macro- and micronutrients for plant growth, they may not be in all forms. 

There are microbes and fungi that help to condition the soil on Earth and interact with plants in order to facilitate this process.

This is how the Martian environment was replicated on Earth

RedHouse, a Martian greenhouse on Earth was created by the team.

For future colonists, they recreated Martian light, temperature and soil conditions (regolith), which is the benchmark for simulation experiments.

What’s different about this project?

It has been difficult to get plants to produce fruit in Martian Regolith Simulants (MRS). 

It is this aspect that makes this project so unique.

Heinz added space-related credentials to his company by sending a Marz Edition ketchup in the air – taking it up 22 miles until the Earth’s curve was visible, at which point temperatures dropped to -94F. 

Heinz’s Tomato Masters launched the mission to determine if Mars colonists could produce martian ketchup.

It began by selecting the right seeds and using world-leading strategies to ensure that crops thrive. Heinz describes this role as “an increasing important one considering the level of soil degradation we are currently experiencing.” 

The research saw them team up with a group of leading scientists at the Florida Institute of Technology’s Aldrin Space Institute to grow Heinz tomatoes of a high enough quality to become bottles of the iconic Heinz Tomato Ketchup. 

The Aldrin Space Institute’s grounds were home to a bespoke greenhouse called the “Redhouse”.

It replicates what would be found on Mars for produce growing.

The heat generated by artificial LED lighting was used to grow the seeds. Researchers also had to use the analog Martian regolith (7,716lb) for this purpose.  

This project was successful in producing tomatoes. It also made Heinz Tomato Ketchup. The company stated that the tomato ketup is now at Heinz HQ after it traveled to higher altitudes.

This week was the unveiling of the Martian ketchup. A limited edition bottle set off on a flight beyond Earth’s atmosphere. It reached 37,000m in the air and returned to Earth at -70C.

This experimental sauce was subject to rigorous quality tests to be approved for use in Heinz Tomato Ketchup bottles.  

Cristina Kenz (chief growth officer Kraft Heinz), stated that “there are many factors our tomato masters think about when it comes down to the right properties of Heinz tomatoes grown in different soil types.” 

“We’ll use our learnings to keep up our efforts towards sustainable crop production.”

“We are so happy that our experts were able to grow tomatoes on another planet. We want to share this creation with the rest of the world. 

‘From analysing the soil from Martian conditions two years ago to harvesting now, it’s been a journey that’s proved wherever we end up, Heinz Tomato Ketchup will still be enjoyed for generations to come,’ Ms Kenz added.

Andrew Palmer and his team from the Aldrin Space Institute submitted the first three scientific papers that chart the mission. They began testing seeds under the unnatural conditions of Martian regolith. 

Eventually researchers succeeded in growing tomatoes that have the qualities Heinz required for ketchup, and say the work put in to grow under Mars-like conditions, could be used to improve growth rates of food crops in harsher Earth environments

Researchers eventually succeeded in cultivating tomatoes with the Heinz-required qualities for ketchup. They also believe that the effort to grow the tomatoes under Mars-like conditions could help improve the growth rate of other food crops.

To further add to its space credentials, Heinz sent a bottle of the Marz Edition ketchup into the air - going up 22 miles to the point where the curve of the Earth was visible and temperatures drop to -94F, before returning to the Earth

Heinz also sent a Marz Edition ketchup in space. It traveled 22 miles up to the point that the Earth curve was visible. Temperatures dropped to -94F before it returned to Earth.

Palmer explained that “Before this, most efforts in discovering ways to cultivate plants under Martian-simulated conditions were short-term studies of plant growth. This project has focused on long-term food harvesting. 

Heinz Tomato Ketchup is a dream product, and this was what we were able to achieve. 

“Working with Heinz’s Tomato Masters has enabled us to explore the potential for food production in the long-term beyond Earth.” Working with some of the largest food corporations in the world can teach us a lot.

Mike Massimino, a former NASA Astronaut is an avid fan of Heinz Ketchup. He took it along with him to the International Space Station when he was there.

Former NASA Astronaut, Mike Massimino is a superfan of Heinz Ketchup, taking it with him when he visited the International Space Station

Mike Massimino was a NASA Astronaut and he is a huge fan of Heinz Ketchup. He even took the Heinz Ketchup with him on his trip to the International Space Station.

They had to generate heat from artificial LED lighting, and were growing the seeds in 7,716lb of the analog Martian regolith

The team had to heat the seedlings using artificial LED lighting and 7,716lb analog Martian regolith.


Heinz’s Tomato Masters launched the mission to determine if Mars colonists could produce martian ketchup.

The perfect seeds were chosen, which are tough enough to withstand extreme weather conditions while still retaining all the necessary ingredients for making ketchup.

These world-leading technologies were then used to ensure that crops thrive. 

Heinz describes these methods as having an “increasingly important role” in light of the current soil degradation. 

The research saw them team up with a group of leading scientists at the Florida Institute of Technology’s Aldrin Space Institute.

They used a bespoke greenhouse, dubbed the ‘Redhouse’ on the grounds of the Aldrin Space Institute.

The conditions it mimics are those humans would encounter when planting produce on Mars. It is indoors with oxygen and uses Martian soil.

They needed to produce heat using LED lighting artificially and they were planting the seeds in 771lb of analog Martian regolith.

The process took more than 2,000 hours and covered nine months. That’s two years, from the initial concept to the final product. 

MailOnline was informed by him that he likes ketchup, and has had it today. It is true that I was among only two astronauts who gained weight from space. It is important for me to eat when I am away from my home and deployed.

He said, “It’s about comfort. Sharing a meal adds mental wellness, improves morale, and it’s really important.”

Massimino claimed that he used ketchup to cover almost every meal he ate aboard the ISS. It gave him a taste of home and made it more familiar.

Professor of Mechanical Engineering, he is also an experienced spaceflight pilot, four spacewalks veteran, and was the first ever astronaut to tweet from orbit.

He said: ‘In space we have a saying, “it’s not about the food it’s about the sauce” – we could choose what food we wanted to eat up there but lots of the dishes came dehydrated and a little bit bland, so a good dollop of sauce always made your meals delicious, which started my love for Heinz Tomato Ketchup.’

Many experiments occur aboard the ISS as well as in various facilities all over the world. These are intended to increase our knowledge and potential for exploring the universe. This in turn will help us solve our Earth-related problems.  

Massimino stated that space exploration has brought many benefits to Earth. “From GPS and satellites that connect to continents to water filtration systems and purification systems for the ISS, which are used now to aid communities in disaster relief and aid, Massimino said.

Massimino replied to MailOnline when he was asked if he’d go to Mars.

He said that he thought his astronaut class would go to Mars. This was in the middle of the 1990s when NASA told new recruits that it might be within 10-15 years.

“As the time passes the answer to your question will become clearer.” [when will we go to Mars]He said that nothing has changed and added that it would happen again.

Massimino (pictured) told MailOnline: 'I like ketchup on Earth, I¿ve had some today already. In fact I was one of only two astronauts who gained weight in space. I like to eat and food is every important when you are away from home, deployed somewhere

Massimino (pictured) told MailOnline: ‘I like ketchup on Earth, I’ve had some today already. Actually, I am one of two astronauts to gain weight while in space. It is important for me to eat when I am away from my home and deployed.

Heinz used the tomatoes produced during the experiment to create a new 'Marz Edition' of its famous ketchup, said to be indistinguishable from the normal version

Heinz made a marz edition of its famous ketchup from the tomatoes that were harvested during the experiment. This is said to be unlike the standard version.

The Heinz ketchup 'Marz Edition' is pictured

Pictured is the Heinz marz edition ketchup 

“What makes today different from when I first became an astronaut 25-years ago? The participation of private companies.

“I believe we can make it this time because of private sector operators such as [Elon]Musk. 

British scientist, and science communicator Dr Maggie Aderin Pocock also spoke out about the possibility of making ketchup using ‘Martian’ tomatoes.

She stated, “It is so thrilling that Heinz, a well-established, long-standing company, is future gazing and has Marz in its eyes.” We must continue to look outwards in order to feed the entire world.

“This project is crucial in our pursuit of both short-term as well long-term food security goals for future generations. 

The prognosis is very good for planting crops on Mars’ regolith, which will allow us to cultivate crops here in Earth’s most remote areas. 

“And as our reach farther and further into space, it’s heartening that mass crop production on Mars is possible and probable beyond.

NASA plans to launch the first human mission to Mars between the 2030s and the early 2030s. China has similar goals. 

Elon Musk is a billionaire entrepreneur who also runs SpaceX. He says that by 2050, he would like to see a colony on Mars.

NASA intends to launch a manned mission on Mars in 2030s following the Moon’s first landing.

Mars represents the next major leap in human exploration of outer space.

Before humans reach Mars, however, there will be a number of steps taken by astronauts to return to Earth for an entire year.

As part of the timeline for events that will lead to Mars missions in 2030s, details of the lunar orbit mission have been revealed.

Nasa has outlined its four stage plan (pictured) which it hopes will one day allow humans to visit Mars at he Humans to Mars Summit held in Washington DC yesterday. This will entail multiple missions to the moon over coming decades

Nasa has outlined its four stage plan (pictured) which it hopes will one day allow humans to visit Mars at he Humans to Mars Summit held in Washington DC yesterday. Over the next decades, this will require multiple moon missions.

Greg Williams (Deputy Associate Administrator for Policy and Plans at Nasa) presented the four-stage plan of Nasa that will eventually allow human beings to reach Mars in May 2017. He also gave an estimate on its time frame.

Phases one and 2 Multiple trips will be required to reach lunar space in order to construct a habitat, which will act as a staging zone for the trip.

Last piece of hardware to be delivered would be the Deep Space Transport Vehicle that will later be used for crew transport to Mars. 

A yearlong simulation of Mars’ life will also be done in 2027. 

Phases three and four will start after 2030. They will include crew expeditions to Mars’ surface and Martian system.