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Terraforming on Mars can still be possible after NASA concludes otherwise, scientists say



Elson Musk from SpaceX can imagine a nuclear device acting as an artificial sun on Mars for its long-term terraforming plans, but NASA has finally disagreed with his plans and others for the planet so far. With that in mind, Harvard University researchers have conducted a study of the use of a silica aero gel to create regionally shaped parts of the planet. Their results have recently been published in Nature Astronomy.

NASA's message is clear: the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) required to warm enough Mars to provide the necessary atmospheric pressure for human survival is not present on the red planet. "The transformation of the inhospitable Martian environment into a place that astronauts could explore without sustaining life is not possible without technology far beyond today's capabilities," NASA concluded in a press release last year about turning our neighbor to the next Earth. "Our results show that Mars does not leave enough CO2 (carbon dioxide) to ensure significant warming of greenhouse gases if the gas is released into the atmosphere; Moreover, most of the gaseous carbon dioxide is not available and can not be easily mobilized. As a result, Terraforming on Mars is not possible with the help of modern technology. "

Wordsworth et al. / Nature of Astronomy / Harvard University

Harvard scientists who published a recent study instead suggested a way to bypass this problem by exchanging a planetary strategy for local transformation. By covering some areas of the Martian surface with a thin layer of silicagel, namely areas with large amounts of water ice, enough sunlight will warm up and combine with natural underground heating processes to create a potentially habitable environment. [19659002] "In particular, we demonstrate through experiments and modeling that under Martian environmental conditions, a layer of 2-3 cm thick silica aerogel will simultaneously transmit sufficiently visible light to photosynthesis, block dangerous hazardous radiation and raise the temperature below it for constantly above the melting point of the water without the need for any internal heat source, "is detailed in the study.

After the temperatures were adequate, the gases released from the ice in the lakes and the regolith (soil) would accumulate to form a pressure atmosphere under the aerogel layer. If they succeed so far, microbes and plant life can theoretically survive. "Putting silicon aerogels shields over enough of the ice-rich areas of the Martian surface can allow photosynthetic life to survive there with minimal subsequent interference," said the scientists. This photosynthetic life will continue to produce oxygen for the more ordinary inhabitants of Earth to use them.

Besides proposing the use of silica aerogel properties, the research team also tests environmental factors that mimic those on Mars. Their results so far show that warming above the required temperature for liquid water would be readily available for application as required under the aeroger. These results are promising, but many more tests and in-situ studies will be needed to prove the concept further.

An artistic presentation of the concept of the Mars Geodesic Home. Maybe a silica aerogel can integrate into larger versions? | NASA / Clouds AO / SEArch

While NASA's findings last year seem to slam SpaceX's dream of eventual terraforming on Mars (see the coffee transformation glass for the full picture). the table. Perhaps, if Harvard's further research and testing demonstrates positively the potential of the idea of ​​the Silicon Aerobic habitat, small regions across the planet may resemble the most ideal places on Earth – very similar to Earth itself.

parks with balloon? Will the aerogel cover geodetic structures as seen in many other Martian colony concepts? Even if there are no answers, the enthusiasm for finding answers is exciting.


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