This Little Guy Might Grow Your Tomatoes on Mars

The solar irradiance on Mars is about half that we have on Earth, making it that much harder to sustain plantlife. In other words, we're gonna need some robots.

"Le petit prince" (the little prince) is a miniature greenhouse (concept) intended to walk a plant around Mars' surface in search of optimal growing conditions—elements from light to nutrients. Eventually the robot masters its environment, sharing growing tips with a whole swarm of bots plant-growing robots.

This Little Guy Might Grow Your Tomatoes on Mars

But the prince is not just a growing machine—the designer and 2009 Electrolux Design Lab finalist considers the bot first and foremost as a "pet" or "silent friend" to keep a colonist company. Of course, when the prince convinces you to come out for drinks on a Thursday night and he's hanging out with a group of old roommates from his factory days, well, its tough not to feel like a third wheel even if his intentions were sincere. [Tuvie via Treehugger]

Taste Test is our weeklong tribute to the leaps that occur when technology meets cuisine, spanning everything from the historic breakthroughs that made food tastier and safer to the Earl-Grey-friendly replicators we impatiently await in the future.