I'm not an expert in this subject, here's my 2 cents...
Originally posted by Ben Miller
The official story of the atmosphere on Mars is that there is only .13% oxygen and 95.32% nitrogen.
95.32% of carbon dioxyde, you mean.
It seems that this atmosphere is excellent growing conditions for plants but seriously deadly for humans.
Well, it's not that simple. Don't forget that most plants still need oxygen to breath, in addition to need CO2 for photosynthesis. So I guess, in
order to change Mars' atmosphere to support life, at first we would have to use organisms like primitive algae, before introducing more complex
plants. I'm not biologist, but I guess those primitive organisms would still need liquid water...?
But there are several other variables to consider: I think, before anything else, we would need to increase dramatically the temperatures in Mars,
possible with greenhouse effect. There's also the problem of solar radiation, which is much more intense in Mars. There's been debate on the
sustentability and effects of life under intense radiation.
All in all though I would think the space suits with the rebreathers that are commonly used in space walks would suffice.
In principle, yes. Only problem I see with the suits is that the astronauts would be exposed to solar radiation during a lot more time than they have
been currently. I don't really know if additional changes on the suits are being planned for a trip to Mars, but NASA is likely considering all
Does anyone have any theories contradicitng the official story of the atmosphere?
I don't, but a lot of people here might have.
Is there any other dangers that need to be addressed for humans to walk on Mars?
I think the biggest challenge is the effects of a long term presence in the Mars environment, considering radiation, low gravity and low pressure. And
these things are much more difficult and even impossible to change - even if the atmosphere is breathable.
Would planting fast growing vegetation/landcover "fix" this atmosphere and how long could it take? (of course the lack of water problem would have
to e solved for this bold plan to work)
As I said, I think at first we would need to increse surface temperature. And this could take a lot of time. It's difficult to predict with what we
know (we don't even know for sure the effects of greenhouse in Earth itself, hehe), but I'd guess at least tens of thousans of years?
Have they done any seismographing of the surface to detect water below ground? (that could be drilled for)
I know there's been studies on this, but as far as I know, "earhquakes" detected on Mars haven't revealed water. But considering things like
sensibility and less sismic activity in Mars, I'm not sure we would find water, if there's any, with the seismographs we sent there so far.