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On the habitability of Mars: An approach to planetary ecosynthesisThe possibility of utilizing Mars as a habitat for terrestrial life, including man, is examined. Available data, assumptions, and speculations on the climate, physical state, and chemical inventory of Mars are reviewed and compared with the known requirements and environmental limits of terrestrial life. No fundamental, insuperable limitation of the ability of Mars to support a terrestrial ecology is identified. The lack of an oxygen-containing atmosphere would prevent the unaided habitation of Mars by man. The present strong ultraviolet surface irradiation is an additional major barrier. The creation of an adequate oxygen and ozone-containing atmosphere on Mars may be feasible through the use of photosynthetic organisms. The time needed to generate such an atmosphere, however, might be several millions of years. This period might be drastically reduced by the synthesis of novel, Mars-adapted, oxygen producing photosynthetic strains by techniques of genetic engineering, and modifying the present Martian climate by melting of the Martian polar caps and concomitant advective and greenhouse heating effects.
Document ID
19770005775
Document Type
Special Publication (SP)
Authors
Averner, M. M. (NASA Ames Research Center Moffett Field, CA, United States)
Macelroy, R. D. (NASA Ames Research Center Moffett Field, CA, United States)
Date Acquired
September 3, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 1976
Subject Category
SPACE BIOLOGY
Report/Patent Number
NASA-SP-414
Distribution Limits
Public
Copyright
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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