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Space & Astronomy

Scientists find a way to make Mars farmable

By T.K. Randall
July 15, 2019 · Comment icon 15 comments

Could we see farms on Mars in the future ? Image Credit: NASA
Growing crops on the Red Planet would undoubtedly go a long way towards building a sustainable human colony.
Given its cold, harsh environment, Mars might seem like one of the last places where crops would be likely to grow, but what if there was a way to transform its soil in to something that can support life ?

According to researchers at Harvard University, the answer lies in strategically placed "aerogel" sheets capable of mimicking Earth's greenhouse effect by trapping the sun's heat. If used effectively, these sheets could melt the subsurface ice and warm up the soil enough for crops to grow.

They could also help to protect the plants from harmful UV rays while still letting in visible light.

"If we want to make sustainable habitats on another planet using present-day technology, this approach could be very useful," said Robin Wordsworth who worked on the project.
"It's completely scalable, so the area covered could be anywhere from a few square meters to large regions of the planet."

The key would be to deploy the sheets in regions where there is enough ice to water the soil.

"Placing silica aerogel shields over sufficiently ice-rich regions of the Martian surface could therefore allow photosynthetic life to survive there with minimal subsequent intervention," the researchers wrote.

"The best place to try this is similar to where you'd want to land humans: at mid-latitudes where sunlight levels are still relatively high, but where it's close enough to the polar caps that near-surface ice deposits are still scattered around."

Source: The Guardian | Comments (15)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #6 Posted by acute 5 years ago
Imagine how flammable it would be if we put a few thousand farting cows on there.
Comment icon #7 Posted by sci-nerd 5 years ago
@XenoFish Osama virtually set the world on fire with 9/11. No other Jihadist has or had ever had such an impact. But he's dead. So we don't have anyone, since him, to set a world on fire. Get it? 
Comment icon #8 Posted by XenoFish 5 years ago
What in the does that have to do with Mars??? Please leave the jokes to Stiff...
Comment icon #9 Posted by XenoFish 5 years ago
Mars has methane.
Comment icon #10 Posted by sci-nerd 5 years ago
Moohsama bin Laden
Comment icon #11 Posted by Jon the frog 5 years ago
Same here, i was on a big hype and after it buhhhhh....
Comment icon #12 Posted by Imaginarynumber1 5 years ago
Contrary to what people believe, it's the cow burps that are the methane releasing culprits, not farts.
Comment icon #13 Posted by stupidhumans 5 years ago
Isn't there reportedly water on mars? Could you not transport water between the 2 planets? Where you gunna get the water for a soil farm which requires more water than aquaponics/hydroponics.
Comment icon #14 Posted by stupidhumans 5 years ago
Comment icon #15 Posted by tmcom 5 years ago
Water? A warning from a NASA official -  this image does not portray rain, it is just the way the film is processed and the vibe.

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