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Turning Photons Into Food

How hard will it be to go to Mars? Professor Bruce Bugbee, winner of the D. Wynne Thorne Career Research Award, the highest research honor bestowed at USU, outlined just a few of the challenges of trying to sustain human life on our neighboring planet. He began with a simple analogy of just making the trip.

“Going to the (International) Space Station is like going from campus to downtown Logan,” Bugbee said. “Going to the moon is like going from here to the Salt Lake Airport. Going to Mars is like going to Antarctica. We’re not going to bring all our stuff with us. We can’t. We have to use the resources that are on Mars if we are going to do this.”

Bugbee, professor of Environmental Plant Physiology in the Plants, Soils and Climate Department and director of the Crop Physiology Laboratory at Utah State, was honored during USU Research Week, and his brief lecture about some of the challenges of “Turning Photons into Food” is available to view.

With a focus on biophysical plant physiology, plant nutrition and phytoremediation, Bugbee has authored over 360 published works, chaired the Crop Physiology division of the American Society of Agronomy, founded Apogee Instruments, and presented at TEDxUSU.

Throughout his career, Dr. Bugbee has received numerous awards including Mortar Board Top Professor, USU Graduate Mentor, USU Researcher of the Year, Utah Researcher of the Year and the Governor’s Medal for Science and Technology.