IT is a monumental achievement that some of the finest minds in the world have so far failed to accomplish.

Now students from the University of Southampton are looking to put the first life on Mars after reaching the final of an international competition.

Forty-three years after music legend David Bowie asked if there was life on Mars, the university’s Spaceflight Society team is competing to send a small greenhouse to the red planet in which lettuce will be grown using its different atmosphere and sunlight.

But they need your help to realise their dream as the worldwide public will vote for the best of 10 schemes in the finals of the competition, run by Mars One, a global organisation that aims to establish a human colony on the red planet from 2024.

Suzanna Lucarotti, who is leading the Southampton project, said: “To live on other planets we need to grow food there. No one has ever actually done this and we intend to be the first. This plan is both technically feasible and incredibly ambitious in its scope, for we will be bringing the first complex life to another planet.

“Growing plants on other planets is something that needs to be done, and will lead to a wealth of research and industrial opportunities that our plan aims to bring to the University of Southampton.”

Suzanna, who is studying for a masters in engineering, aerospace, aeronautical and astronautical/space engineering, added: “We have tackled diverse sets of engineering challenges, including aeroponic systems, bio filters, low power gas pressurisation systems and failsafe planetary protection systems and then integrated them all into one payload on a tight mass, power and cost budget.

“We can build this here and now. The only step now is to win the public vote.”

Daily Echo:

Their project is the only UK entry in the finals and was selected for its technical feasibility and popularity.

If it wins, the greenhouse will arrive on Mars in 2018 along with other official Mars One experiments.

The Spaceflight Society is a team of under and postgraduate students with a range of different skills and disciplines.

  • HOW TO VOTE To vote for the team, vote #LettuceOnMars by visiting the team website

You can also follow them on twitter @MarsOneProject or via