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Bacteria, algae to produce oxygen on Mars

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Mars at the boundary between darkness and daylight, with an area including Gale Crater beginning to catch morning light.

NASA mulls using bacteria and algae to produce oxygen on Mars, as a 2030 deadline for sending humans to the red planet looms.

“This is a possible way to support a human mission to Mars, producing oxygen without having to send heavy gas canisters,” chief Techshot scientist, Eugene Boland, was quoted in the Science Times as saying on Saturday.

Techshot has been commissioned by NASA to solve one of the Mars mission’s most critical issues, the production of oxygen.

The two basic organisms could be tasked with removing nitrogen from the Martian soil and converting it into oxygen, said the company which has designed X-ray systems for the International Space Station and deep-sea chambers for submersible vehicles.

In order to test their theory, Techshot has constructed the “Mars Room” which is a special laboratory designed to precisely emulate the atmosphere and soil chemistry of Mars.

According to the company, some of their experiments have proven successful so far.

NASA intendeds to send canisters filled with microorganisms to be implanted in Mars’s soil, hoping they would start producing oxygen.

Between 70 and 80 percent of our planet’s oxygen is produced by cyanobacteria and photosynthetic algae, which can be found in soil, trees, rocks as well as salt and fresh water.


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