Scientists Create Material That Can Support Life On Mars

Material That Can Support Life On Mars

The researchers suggest that regions of the Martian surface could be made habitable with a material - silica aerogel - that mimics Earth's atmospheric greenhouse effect.

Enter "frozen smoke." An worldwide crew of scientists is proposing the use of silica aerogel, typically dubbed frozen smoke because of its appearance, to heat the surface of the red planet enough to support life and melt chilled H2O.

In the summer, this solid-state greenhouse effect creates pockets of warming under the ice.

Silica aerogel could also be used in order to build habitation domes or even self-contained biospheres on Mars, experts confirm.

"We started thinking about what kind of materials could minimize thermal conductivity but still transmit as much light as possible", said Robin Wordsworth, Assistant Professor, Environmental Science and Engineering, Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS).

Co-author Dr Laura Kerber, of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, said: 'Mars is the most habitable planet in our Solar System besides Earth.

More news: Atletico to sign Trippier from Tottenham

Of course, life in this instance is most likely inanimate objects such as rocks shaped like real lifeforms such as rats, pigs and birds. But, according to Kerber, "a system for creating small islands of habitability would allow us to transform Mars in a controlled and scalable way". Additionally, the same material can be incorporated into greenhouses and habitats for any future pioneers that visit Mars. If we want to begin transporting humans and, inevitably, microorganisms from Earth to Mars, those invasive species could threaten life already present on the red planet. "Aerogels are not easy to make on a large scale, like those needed for this effort, and to accomplish the goal of creating a habitable region associated with subsurface ice on Mars, it would require a lot of aerogel". Like its gaseous form, frozen carbon dioxide allows sunlight to penetrate while trapping heat. This material, made mostly of silica and similar to Styrofoam, is nicknamed "frozen smoke" for its appearance, notes CNET.

So, rather than terraforming an entire planet - something which is physically impossible with today's technology - this approach essentially involves terraforming just a small, manageable patch of Mars.

Researchers acknowledge there are still significant engineering challenges to overcome.

Earth is the only home we've got-for now. The Martian polar ice caps are comprised of water ice and carbon dioxide.

"Spread across a large enough area, you wouldn't need any other technology or physics, you would just need a layer of this stuff on the surface and underneath you would have permanent liquid water", Dr. Wordsworth said. There is also the question of getting the aerogel to Mars. "If there is, how do we navigate that", asked Wordsworth.

To understand how aerogel greenhouses would fair in Mars, a team of scientists from Harvard, University of Edinburgh and CalTech recreated Mars-like conditions in a lab.

Related News:

Most liked

Dark Mode finally coming to Outlook Mobile
A PWA (Progressive Web Application) is an application that enables you to enjoy the best features of both native and web platform. And until then, the team of Google engineers will be working upon bringing improvements to their Adsense mobile web interface .

Apex Legends Devs Continue to Battle Cheaters
With the launch of Apex Legends' new Ranked League , the issue of cheating has risen to the fore once again. Respawn Entertainment has stated for multiple times that their fight against cheaters is far from over.

PROSECUTORS: MS-13 Committed Gruesome Killings w/ Knives, Machetes,
In announcing that investigation, the LAPD said detectives had noted an uptick in MS-13 graffiti and activity in the area. Prosecutors say photos show MS-13 gang members flashing gang signs and displaying guns and showing off an MS-!3 tattoo.

Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr reunite at concert
Besides Starr, Joe Walsh of Eagles-fame participated in the triple guitar solo on the finale, playing songs like 'The End' . Up till that point the concert had already been one of McCartney's most energized performances in recent years.

Penguins Break Into Sushi Stall, 'Detained' By Police
New Zealand police have been called to a sushi bar in the capital Wellington to remove a pair of little penguins. They were then released back into Wellington Harbour, with the assistance of the DOC and Wellington Zoo.

Amazon Reportedly Has New Echo Coming In 2020 With Better Sound
Both Vesta and this high-end Echo speaker are said to be in development at Lab126, Amazon's research and development house. The organization intends to launch the new Echo probably next year, as per individuals acquainted with the product.

Florida expert captures elusive ‘Chance the Snapper’ at Chicago lagoon
Robb presented Chance to captivated reporters at the Humboldt Park Boathouse Tuesday morning, ending the unusual, week-long hunt. The five-foot-long reptile was spotted hanging out at the Humboldt Park lagoon - an unexpected sight for IL locals.

De Ligt arrives at Juve ahead of expected deal
With the Red Devils he would've been given the chance to revive a sleeping giant and he would've been guaranteed a starring role.

Trump gets his third acting secretary of defense this year
Esper returned to his Army role after stepping down as acting defence secretary while the Senate weighs his nomination. There has been no Senate-confirmed defense secretary since Jim Mattis left last New Year's Eve.

Scientists predict more days of dangerously-high heat indexes to come
Under such conditions, it becomes hard for the human body to cool down and recuperate, which can take a cumulative toll over a period of several days.

Spain's National Police Arrest ‘Bigwig’ Who Hid Cocaine Under Toupee
That was during an investigation into an alleged Brit drugs gang which had aligned with a ring in Colombia. Last year, more than 100kg of cocaine were seized by Spanish police at Barcelona's El Prat airport.

Social media can lead to depression in teens
Elroy Boers, a postdoctoral researcher in Conrod's lab who worked on the study, said he was surprised by one of the findings. For years, experts have pointed a finger at phones as a possible factor in depression and other mental health problems .

Smith waived by Cavaliers; not likely headed to Lakers
The Athletic's Joe Vardon reported earlier in the day the team would waive Smith if they couldn't manage to trade the shooter. Prior to his five-year stint in Cleveland, Smith spent time with the Knicks, Denver Nuggets and New Orleans Hornets.

Pittsburgh's Canton Avenue loses 'steepest' title to Welsh street
Baldwin Street was the kind of accidental tourist attraction that can be both a blessing and a bit of a nuisance for locals. Dunedin mayor Dave Cull told Stuff that officials may refer to the street as "the southern hemisphere's steepest street ".

Waze starts showing toll prices for road trips in USA and Canada
Apple Maps and Google Maps give you a setting to avoid toll roads, but Waze goes further and shows you the toll prices. Users in the USA and Canada will now see exactly how much they'll have to pay at tolls on their route.