NEW YORK: American space agency NASA has plans to send microscopic organisms to Mars to support human life on the Red Planet.
The space agency got the idea after successfully producing oxygen on a ‘Dummy Mars’ using microscopic organisms.
For carrying out the research, NASA created simulated conditions in the laboratory. It created a ‘Dummy Mars’ to see if the micro-organisms were able to produce the life-sustaining gas, oxygen.
Experts then tested how algae and bacteria reacted with the Martian soil, known as regolith.
This special laboratory, called the Mars room laboratory, was the brainchild of NASA, along with a company, Techshot Inc, from South Carolina.
Together, these two have created conditions on Earth, which replicate the red planet. They are hopeful of landing some 100 people on Mars from 2030, by carrying out the exactly same tests on Mars, as conducted in the laboratory.
So far, modest success has been achieved in this regard. Not only have some microorganisms made oxygen, but also played their part in effectively removing nitrogen from the soil.
Researchers are contemplating on setting up ‘biomes’ wherein these little oxygen factories will be spread out to carry oxygen across the surface of the red planet, in other to allow humans to breathe.
As planned, these organisms will be sent in containers, aboard an unmanned aircraft, with a rover operated from the Earth. This rover will place them on the surface of Mars and sensors will help keep a track of the amount of oxygen produced.
Scientists feel that this is the only alternative to heavy gas canisters, in order to support a human mission on Mars.
They are mindful of the damage that can be inflicted to the planet from these ‘alien’ organisms, due to which they have ensured that the containers would be tightly sealed.