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NASA plans to produce oxygen on Mars from microbes


NASA plans to use either algae or microbes to produce breathable oxygen on Mars with the help of Techshot Inc. The project aims to reduce the payload on space shuttles which occupies a lot of space and makes them heavy.mars-pic-nasa

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has the sought the help of Techshot Inc, a research and development firm, to produce oxygen on the Red planet. The oldest of living organisms, algae and bacteria are likely to be used for generating oxygen and nitrogen. Scientists believe that the project will help to sustain human missions and life on Mars.

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Techshot has already developed special rooms called “Mars Rooms” that replicates the environment on the Red planet. The rooms are capable of simulating the bleak Mars climate, along  with the atmosphere and radiation. If the project becomes successful, they need to carry gas canisters to the planet will be eliminated.

NASA plans to carry a small container like devices with microbes  that will be buried under the ground by Mars rover during mid 2020. Sensors in the container will determine the amount of oxygen produced, and will send the data to the satellite orbiting the planet. Under the leadership of Eugene Boland, the rooms will be used to study and evaluate the program using algae or bacteria.

These rooms will turn into oxygen producing factories. Techshot also will manufacture oxygen generating equipments during a manned Mars mission in 2030. The company aims to produce enough oxygen on Mars, and to create a nitrogen-free soil.

NASA scientist Kevin Zahnle believes that the methane on Mars is likely to be originating from the rover. However, member of NASA’s Curiosity team Chris Webster stated that there is no leakage of methane from the rover. He added that while it its true that the concentration of methane in the chamber is 1,000 times higher, the comparison is actually misleading.

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A movie buff, a bookworm, and a compulsive doodler. All posts by Anirudh

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