NTRS - NASA Technical Reports Server

Back to Results
Gaia and the colonization of MarsThe Gaia hypothesis states that the atmosphere, hydrosphere, surface sediments, and life on Earth behave dynamically as a single integrated physiological system. What has been traditionally viewed as the passive environment is a highly active, integral part of the gaian system. Aspects of the surface temperature and chemistry are regulated by the sum of life, the biota. Formulated first by James E. Lovelock, in the late 1960s, the Gaia hypothesis has been in the scientific literature for more than 25 years. Because of its properties of exponential growth and propagation, life is a powerful geologic force. A useful aspect of the Gaia idea is that it requires integration of scientific disciplines for the study of Earth. The recently touted Earth system science is broadly parallel with the gaian concept of the physiochemical regulation of Earth's surface. We discuss here, in a gaian context, the colonization of Mars by Earth organisms. Although colonizing Mars may be impossible, its accomplishment would be exactly equivalent to "the reproduction of Gaia by budding.".
Document ID
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
Margulis, L. (University of Massachusetts Amherst 01003, United States)
West, O.
Date Acquired
August 21, 2013
Publication Date
November 1, 1993
Publication Information
Publication: GSA today : a publication of the Geological Society of America
Volume: 3
Issue: 11
ISSN: 1052-5173
Subject Category
Lunar and Planetary Science and Exploration
Distribution Limits
NASA Discipline Exobiology
Non-NASA Center