Mars soil researcher Wieger Wamelink has been awarded the 2016 Klokhuis Wetenschapsprijs prize for science. He was awarded the prize during the special children's opening of the InScience Dutch International Science Film Festival hosted in LUX, Nijmegen, on 2 November. His proposal was placed on the shortlist by the children's jury together with five other projects from the Netherlands. The editors of the popular educational television programme Het Klokhuis selected Vegetables from Mars as the winner.
Wieger Wamelink caused a media sensation with his research into the possibility for growing vegetables such as radish, tomatoes, and rocket in Mars or moon soil. He investigated whether the heavy metals that occur naturally in these soils would also be present in the crops rendering them harmful for human consumption. However, the results of the study were positive. Heavy metals such as lead and zinc are not more predominant in vegetables grown in Mars or moon soil than those grown on Earth.
Wieger Wamelink is a researcher at Wageningen Environmental Research (Alterra). He started a crowdfunding project to fund his research for Mars and moon experiments
The other nominations for the 2016 Klokhuis Wetenschapsprijs came from Tilburg University, University of Twente, VU University Medical Center Amsterdam, Academic Medical Center Amsterdam, and the University of Amsterdam.