Updated 11:29 AM EDT, Tue, Jun 16, 2020

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NASA Plans to Build Oxygen Producing Systems on Mars


Although China has not officially announced a plan to send a probe to Mars, a lead scientist in China's moon probe mission says that the country plans to land a Mars rover around 2020, collect samples and bring them back by around 2030.

Future innovations for human exploration of the Red Planet need not have to bring heavy oxygen cylinders. Scientists are currently working on means to produce gas on the planet itself.

To achieve this goal, NASA is funding Techshot Inc., an Indiana-based company to research an answer to the production of oxygen that won’t rely on the planet Earth for future colonies on Mars.

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In the Mars room, Chief scientist Eugene Boland at Techshot Inc is exploring the potential of using ecosystem-building pioneer organisms such as bacteria or algae as oxygen factories; day and night changes in temperature and solar radiation.

The organisms would use Mars' ample supply of regolith as fuel, and may even serve a dual purpose in removing nitrogen from the Martian soil.

“This is a possible way to support a human mission to Mars, producing oxygen without having to send heavy gas canisters. Let’s send microbes and let them do the heavy lifting for us,” said Boland.

The research is a vital aspect to any serious attempt to create an outpost on Mars. Any colony established on the red planet would be isolated from the homeworld by roughly 225.3 million km, with the average time between re-supply missions expected to be around 500 days.

Habitable biodomes were believed by Boland that “enclose ecopoiesis-provided oxygen through bacterial or algae-driven conversion systems” might probably exist on the Martian planet in the near future.

NASA says their aim of astronauts touchdown on Mars in the year 2030 is necessary for obtaining proof of life.

Recently, NASA’s Curiosity rover discovered evidence of fixed nitrogen and carbon-containing organic molecules, elements for life, on the surface of Mars.

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