EXPLORING LIFE IN OUTER SPACE
If life becomes unbearable on earth, there is still hope if there is no life in heaven or in life hereafter but in outer space. And why not? Our space scientists have already designed vehicles that could reach the outer limits of our defined universe. We have already reached the Moon and lately Mars.
We are becoming smarter every day that in time we will approximate the kind of alien intelligence which our planet has been visited constantly. We can repay the same tack in the near future.
Lately, NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) is pursuing a research on what plant to introduce to a nearby planet. It has been studied that the complex Martian atmosphere contains mostly carbon dioxide and extremely exposed to ultraviolet radiation. Its atmosphere although fatal to normal earthly life still contains basic life sustaining components.
Accordingly, Mars has a thin atmosphere — too thin to easily support life as we know it. The extremely thin air on Mars can also become very dusty. Giant dust storms can blanket the entire planet and last for months.
The atmosphere of Mars is about 100 times thinner than Earth’s, and it is 95 percent carbon dioxide. Here’s a breakdown of its composition:
Carbon dioxide: 95.32 percent
Nitrogen: 2.7 percent
Argon: 1.6 percent
Oxygen: 0.13 percent
Carbon monoxide: 0.08 percent
Also, minor amounts of: water, nitrogen oxide, neon, hydrogen-deuterium-oxygen, krypton and xenon.
Mars’ thin atmosphere and its greater distance from the sun mean that Mars is much colder than Earth The average temperature is about minus 80 degrees F (minus 60 degrees C), although it can vary from minus 195 degrees F (minus 125 degrees C) near the poles during the winter to as much as a comfortable 70 degrees F (20 degrees C) at midday near the equator.
Considering the fact that there are available varieties of plants on Earth which could grow in harsh condition, sending it in Mars may as well promote life within its domain. Astrobiologists are now deep into research and testing on some plants, especially selected potatoes which may not only grow well on Mars but also reproduce in large qualities. The research would have also a positive impact on Earth since it could also address the scourges of hunger and malnutrition obtaining in some parts of our planet due to poverty and climate change.
The experiment is also forward looking since our planet faces climatic condition that eventually might lead to desertification, rising temperature and high salt content in the soil. Dealing with outer planetary system like the Red Planet, is likewise understanding the driest place on Earth and working on how it could further and support life and agriculture.
And while appreciating something which is outside of my competence, I accidentally discovered that there are also tropical plants in our midst which can qualify to be tested for possible introduction to outer space for growing and reproduction. And I am biased on succulent plants. I tried planting it in a highly controlled environment (to mimic harsh and unforgiving conditions), inside a sealed bottle (no air) with salty dried sand (no water) and exposed it to direct sunlight (ultraviolent radiation) and it is still growing after two weeks! I have as yet to place it inside the fridge though to further simulate the cold atmosphere of the Red Planet.
The pseudo experiment is interesting since in my estimation, I have offered a brief attention on what our planet will be centuries from now (Mars like in the making) and how it can still promote life despite man’s tendency to abuse nature.
My generation may not be aware of the consequences of climate change but there are sectors, individuals like us, who try to push the limits of their imagination to live life for more centuries to come. It is like living for a thousand years more and quite sincerely, it is somewhere between living here or in outer space.