Ahead of its ambitious manned Mars mission, NASA is working on producing oxygen from bacteria and algae in view of recent findings of carbon materials which may point to ancient life traces of organism on Mars.
Since NASA is planning to send humans to Mars by 2030, it is seriously exploring the possibility of producing oxygen from these materials on the Red Planet to resolve one major issue that the humans may face on Mars as it is not possible to send stocked oxygen from Earth.
A report in Science Times said NASA has roped in Techshot to develop a feasible method to make use of bacteria and algae to produce oxygen on Mars. The company has to eliminate nitrogen from Mars and derive oxygen from it. Oxygen is mainly produced from algae and bacteria on Earth and NASA hopes to replicate similar method on Mars for longer survival of humans on Mars.
Eugene Boland, chief scientist of Techshot, told Science Times: “This is a possible way to support a human mission to Mars, producing oxygen without having to send heavy gas canisters. Let’s send microbes and let them do the heavy lifting for us.”
To achieve this, researchers are turning to creating “Mars Rooms” simulating similar harsh environment that exists on Mars to see whether any kind of bacteria and algae can survive from the oxygen and nitrogen already found in the bedrock on Mars.
Essentially these micro-organisms can be carried along by astronauts to Mars where they can turn out oxygen for human living. If successful, NASA may send the algae and bacteria onboard its next rover mission in 2020 and by 2030 the available oxygen on Mars should help the humans to begin living on it.