Friday, March 19, 2004

Oxygen for Mars Proposal

by Salvador Oria

Mars (and/or any other planet) should be contaminated.
Contaminated with life.
Our planet has extreme situations as regards soil, climate, light, weather, amounts of water, temperature, pressure, etc.
But it was not born like that.
Life changed the hell that Earth was into what we know nowadays.
It started from very simple organisms some of which still roam in the fieriest conditions our planet can produce.

I hold that we have to contaminate Mars spreading millions of
millions of lichen sporae thrown all over Martian thin atmosphere.
Lichens are a symbiotic (or reciprocal commensalism) community of algae cells in fungi substrates and some can even produce their own water. Useful bacteriae should also be tried.
How? Capsules containing the sporae have to enter Mars atmosphere jettisoned by a bigger capsule at the smallest possible angle to allow them the longest possible trip close to its surface in a criss-cross fashion, vents have to open to allow thin air to come in and blow the sporae out through a "tail" opening. Mars atmosphere currents at say a mile high, would disperse the sporae appropriately.
Some will land in bad places but some will not. The latter may start reproducing and mutating for better performance.

You know how lichens work.
Lichens (or other lower organisms) should be taken to the red planet to start using the CO2 and releasing O2. Which types?
We should take there the more sturdy varieties. If any start reproducing, half of the battle is won. Other organisms such as safe bacteriae, unicellulars and protozoa should also be tried in the Martian atmosphere as it is now. I am aware that changes in the atmosphere from these sources might take millennia. But we will have to do this for a start. Because one day we will have to start.
Think of the advantages if any Earth useful organism adapts and settles in.
Perhaps certain other low-requirements desertic-type cryptogams (or even phanerogams) can be sown/dispersed thereafter.
A wild dream perhaps?
NASA's space saga has not been a dream since the first day?

Salvador Oria, Buenos Aires

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