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Researchers Say We Could Survive on Mars - Carlos Gamino
News from Attorney Carlos Gamino

Researchers Say We Could Survive on Mars

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By Carlos Gamino

An international team of researchers has proposed that humans could use silica aerogel – sometimes called “frozen smoke” – to warm up the surface of Mars enough to support life and melt frozen water on the red planet.

In a study published in early July, the scientists created a replica of Mars. They simulated the light that hits the planet’s surface and placed a layer of aerogel over the top.

“We used a customized solar simulator to reproduce the spectrum and intensity of the sunlight falling on the Martian surface,” said Robin Wordsworth, the first author listed on the study. “Earth's atmosphere raises surface temperature via the greenhouse effect, and blocks UV radiation via the ozone layer. Any solution to habitability on Mars must do these two things, as a minimum.”

The team ran computer simulations to figure out multiple scenarios, and it all looks promising – but nobody’s rushing to Mars with aerogel just yet.

There are still philosophical and ethical concerns holding us back. For example, what if Mars does have life on it? We’d disrupt that quickly by transporting humans (and all the microorganisms we carry) there. (For the record, many scientists suspect that there is some kind of life on Mars.)

But how quickly could we get there if we resolved those concerns? SpaceX is preparing to head to the red planet in a few years, and many officials see NASA’s moon missions as a stepping stone to far-flung planets like Mars. The gravity on Mars is bad for bones and muscles, there’s very little protection from solar radiation and it’s insanely cold there – but scientists could end up solving these problems in our lifetimes.

What Do You Think?

Should scientists continue their research on making Mars habitable for humans? 
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this, so please feel free to share them with me on Facebook or on Twitter. Join the conversation and make your voice heard!

Carlos Gamino