NASA Sending Plants to Mars in 2021

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posted on May, 10 2014 @ 06:37 AM
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Plant life may touch down on Mars in 2021.


Researchers have proposed putting a plant-growth experiment on NASA's next Mars rover, which is scheduled to launch in mid-2020 and land on the Red Planet in early 2021. The investigation, known as the Mars Plant Experiment (MPX), could help lay the foundation for the colonization of Mars, its designers say.


"In order to do a long-term, sustainable base on Mars, you would want to be able to establish that plants can at least grow on Mars," MPX deputy principal investigator Heather Smith, of NASA's Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California, said April 24 at the Humans 2 Mars conference in Washington, D.C. "This would be the first step in that … we just send the seeds there and watch them grow." [The Boldest Mars Missions in History]

The MPX team — led by fellow Ames scientist Chris McKay — isn't suggesting that the 2020 Mars rover should play gardener, digging a hole with its robotic arm and planting seeds in the Red Planet's dirt. Rather, the experiment would be entirely self-contained, eliminating the chance that Earth life could escape and perhaps get a foothold on Mars.

MPX would employ a clear "CubeSat" box — the case for a cheap and tiny satellite — which would be affixed to the exterior of the 2020 rover. This box would hold Earth air and about 200 seeds of Arabidopsis, a small flowering plant that's commonly used in scientific research.


The seeds would receive water when the rover touched down on Mars, and would then be allowed to grow for two weeks or so.

"In 15 days, we'll have a little greenhouse on Mars," Smith said.


Read full article: news.discovery.com...

I've been following news related to Mars colonization since day one. To think that this will happen in my lifetime amazes me. We have advanced in technology so rapidly in the last 50 years.

Sometimes I've got to pinch myself and remind myself this is not science fiction anymore, this is real.




posted on May, 10 2014 @ 06:47 AM
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a reply to: Rainbowresidue

It seems they have been working on this type of project for a while now.
I remember an article discussing sending plants to the moon in 2014 for a project called lunar oasis 2014.

Mars must be the next phase of the project. Another step towards the goal of colonization.

This stuff fascinates me... thanks for sharing.

:-)
leolady



posted on May, 10 2014 @ 07:27 AM
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a reply to: Rainbowresidue

I feel exactly the same!! I love science fiction but this is so much more exciting!!
I remember experiments have been done to grow plants in Mars like soil and were successful...i clearly remember potatoes grew well in that type of soil.

I would like somebody to explain something for me, please, as I am not an astrobiologist..and please forgive my ignorance...the article says:
"the experiment would be entirely self-contained, eliminating the chance that Earth life could escape and perhaps get a foothold on Mars."

If our plants were to escape and grow successfully on Mars and the planet gains or regains vegetation......wouldn't that be a good thing?




posted on May, 10 2014 @ 07:40 AM
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a reply to: Agartha

I thought they meant insects.
I'm not sure about that either.



posted on May, 10 2014 @ 07:48 AM
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a reply to: Agartha




I would like somebody to explain something for me, please, as I am not an astrobiologist..and please forgive my ignorance...the article says:
"the experiment would be entirely self-contained, eliminating the chance that Earth life could escape and perhaps get a foothold on Mars."

If our plants were to escape and grow successfully on Mars and the planet gains or regains vegetation......wouldn't that be a good thing? - See more at: www.abovetopsecret.com...


Good thoughts.

I imagine there would be some concern with our contaminating the planet in a harmful way because we simply do not know what impact our plants might have on a foreign planet we really don't know enough about yet.

Imagine an alien life form bringing their "plants" here to Earth and the plan was on keeping it contained... but it escaped and ended up being deadly to life here ?

leolady



posted on May, 10 2014 @ 07:51 AM
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a reply to: leolady

What you say is true, Leolady, but we have our own flora whilst Mars is barren.........we know there are no plants growing there now, so what would be the harm?





posted on May, 10 2014 @ 08:03 AM
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Well it's certainly been discussed for many decades now, it's about time a plan was put into action with sufficient funding..



The set up has been done to death on earth

edit on 10-5-2014 by TritonTaranis because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 10 2014 @ 08:16 AM
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a reply to: Agartha

It is not barren ... it is virginal!

Here is an ancient 1996 article on that issue and relevant to the threads topic ...

Moon Miners' Manifesto #93 March 1996 Section 6.9.3.2.093.of the Artemis Data Book: Breeding Plants for Mars Environment by Peter Kokh


It is not precise to say that Mars is "barren", only that it is "virginal"
That is not the end of the story. That Mars has no life, and quite possibly never spawned life even in earlier wetter and warmer times does not make the planet "barren". It only makes the planet "virginal". That conditions may have never been special to allow life to rise on its own, does not mean that life, originated elsewhere, and then bioengineered to fit Martian conditions, could not be successfully transplanted to Martian soil, with intelligent guidance, corrections, and compensations. That is a tall challenge, however, but we hope to sketch how it might be accomplished. Or at least, the first steps one intending to green the planet might take.


Please see the article for a more in depth point of view!


Also how bizarre for me that I came across that very article only yesterday due to somebody in chat talking about Nasa planting rocks on mars and I misread that as Nasa putting plants on mars and that reminded me that I had read something along those lines and so I went looking for such things but I didn't find the exact article I was looking for and this article I did find was the closest in nature to what I remember.

Very spooky!


Anyway I hope the article I linked helps!



posted on May, 10 2014 @ 08:22 AM
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a reply to: DietJoke

Thank you for that article, Dietjoke!!!! .....but my question is still doing my head! lol

Virginal means vegetation has never grown on Mars........I still don't see why it would be a problem to grow ours there.




posted on May, 10 2014 @ 08:25 AM
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a reply to: Rainbowresidue

I know the kind of plant I'd vote for to go to Mars, there to sit and await human explorers.

Which again brings me to my oft-repeated lament: why send just one or two rovers at a time? Send a dozen, two dozen, scatter them yon and hither, go forth and multiply. I've been told it's money, that earth doesn't have enough money to send dozens of rovers roving. Nonsense. Space is there for the taking (some say faking), and there are enough earthlings with sense (and money) enough to get on board and make everything happen.



posted on May, 10 2014 @ 09:15 AM
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No Arabidopsis, but ASPARAGUS.
www.abovetopsecret.com...

Bassano, 27 January 2009 (Italy) In the International Year of Astronomy, a Group of Owners of Restaurants in Bassano (Italy) they have received in the city of the Brenta river the NASA technicians of the American Aerospace Agency (JPL) responsible of the mission of the space probe Phoenix that in the last year, reached on the Red Planet after a travel of ten months, has confirmed that the Mars soil is adapt to the cultivation of the ASPARAGUS! - See more at: www.abovetopsecret.com...


www.scientificamerican.com...

Phoenix finds alkaline soil with plenty of minerals Jun 26, 2008 |By JR Minkel soil sample NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona/Max Planck Institute. Martian soil around NASA's Phoenix Lander is slightly alkaline and has enough different minerals that it could support Earthly plants and—more to the point—microbes beneath the Martian surface, according to the first results from the probe's wet chemistry experiment released today.



posted on May, 10 2014 @ 09:15 AM
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a reply to: Agartha


Virginal means vegetation has never grown on Mars........I still don't see why it would be a problem to grow ours there.

You're right, it wouldn't be a problem because there is no life on mars to complain about it. In fact it seems to me like we should be trying to cover Mars in plant life because then it may get an atmosphere and we may be able to live on Mars without having to worry about oxygen.

The real problem with this idea though is that plants consume carbon dioxide and output oxygen. On Earth that is a great thing because we mammals take in oxygen and output carbon dioxide. It's a naturally balanced ecosystem which depends on many different components.

Even if the soil on Mars has the necessary nutrients for plants to grow, and an adequate amount of sun light, the plants still need a constant supply of carbon dioxide to grow. It would probably be impossible for plant life to spread on Mars by its self for that reason.

Plant life on Earth didn't start out by consuming carbon dioxide the way it does now, there wasn't always this natural balance between mammals and plant life, it took a lot of time to reach this stage. And since Mars has no magnetic field it's unlikely that Mars will ever naturally support life again.



posted on May, 10 2014 @ 09:36 AM
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Well, I hope none of monsatans abominations are allowed to go there!

There should be some very strict rules, and rule one should be NO GMO's.



posted on May, 10 2014 @ 09:50 AM
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a reply to: VoidHawk

..they'll have an office right next to the McDonalds, golf-courses & shilton hotels


 

i think it'll end up being nothin' but GM up there..
i don't think they'll leave the potential there for mars to naturally evolve of its own accord (what happens when the experiment tries to contruct its own tower of babel?) ..there's always some kind of creator (and the ensuing rules) involved with these things..
/shrugs
edit on 10-5-2014 by UNIT76 because: inescapable theology



posted on May, 10 2014 @ 10:24 AM
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originally posted by: Rainbowresidue

I've been following news related to Mars colonization since day one. To think that this will happen in my lifetime amazes me. We have advanced in technology so rapidly in the last 50 years.

Sometimes I've got to pinch myself and remind myself this is not science fiction anymore, this is real.



You realize there were plans to have humans on Mars by 1985 right?

Its not so much that technology has advanced so much as interest in doing this has advanced. We could have done this mission in the 1980s had Apollo level spending stayed consistent.



posted on May, 10 2014 @ 10:47 AM
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a reply to: JadeStar

Back then it just seemed like wishful thinking to be honest.
Maybe because there was no real interest...
I'm wondering why they are so set on colonizing Mars now.
What has changed?

Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

edit on 10/5/2014 by Rainbowresidue because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 10 2014 @ 11:17 AM
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a reply to: ChaoticOrder

Thank you, what an excellent response!
Terraforming Mars is definitely something I will read on.



posted on May, 10 2014 @ 12:41 PM
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originally posted by: Rainbowresidue
a reply to: JadeStar

Back then it just seemed like wishful thinking to be honest.
Maybe because there was no real interest...
I'm wondering why they are so set on colonizing Mars now.
What has changed?

Thanks for sharing your thoughts.



You're welcome.

I think what has changed was that in the 1980s everything was still framed as a sort of Cold War, us vs them thing. Going to Mars was still seen as being a primarily US endeavor.

The co-operation on the International Space Station, the rise of many, many other country's space programs, miniaturization of ever more powerful computing technology as well as the new burgeoning private sector space companies like Space-X, Sierra Nevada, Orbital Sciences, Bigelow Aerospace, etc has lead to the idea that the cost of such a mission could be vastly smaller than was imagined back in the 80s.

So in summary, cheaper electronics, global partners and private space capability is bringing the cost of colonization down to Earth.



posted on May, 10 2014 @ 08:30 PM
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originally posted by: ChaoticOrder
a reply to: Agartha




Virginal means vegetation has never grown on Mars........I still don't see why it would be a problem to grow ours there.


You're right, it wouldn't be a problem because there is no life on mars to complain about it. In fact it seems to me like we should be trying to cover Mars in plant life because then it may get an atmosphere and we may be able to live on Mars without having to worry about oxygen.

Mars has no atmosphere because it has no protection. The core would have to be kickstarted to produce the magnetic field that shields Earth. Without this happening Solar Winds will just strip away any oxygen created.

Turning Mars into Earth 2.0 is far more difficult than most realize, it's simply beyond our current capabilities.



posted on May, 10 2014 @ 08:32 PM
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originally posted by: Rainbowresidue
a reply to: JadeStar



Back then it just seemed like wishful thinking to be honest.

Maybe because there was no real interest...

I'm wondering why they are so set on colonizing Mars now.

What has changed?



Thanks for sharing your thoughts.



What changed is other countries caught up, so we have to act. We are also now in mini cold wars with Russia and China.





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