The problem of growing food on inhospitable habitats is being explored in real life by NASA and Mars One in preparation for their manned mission and permanent colony on Mars.
In the Prologue of the novel Trials I write about plants capable of sustaining their own growth in light restricted areas – such as in caves. The basic concept is that bacteria living on a plants leaves emits a spectrum of light capable of fueling photosynthesis within the plants.
Bioluminescence in nature can be explored here or you can simply take my word for it. While natural organisms do not emit light along a UV spectrum, it is only a matter of time before science reaches the capability to engineer organisms that are capable of doing so.
Here is what I propose – double down our efforts refining our already impressive array of drought ready plants (so they can thrive with very little water) and simultaneously develop a bacteria that is capable of providing UV spectrum light through Bioluminescence. Real life science has already developed the capability to grow plants in martian soil, so all that is left is this sustainability. There is a second added benefit. Plants grown on a mass scale will increase the greenhouse effect on Mars. If we can seed the planet with enough flora, fauna, plant, and bacterial life, perhaps someday a sturdy atmosphere capable of sustaining life would develop!
What do you guys think? Possible, plausible, or absurd?