Mars Planet - What plants can be deployed on Mars? What are the difficulties? Is that even possible?
Updated: May 28
We are Marketers, so to make this research, we looked for content in the web 100% of the time. Follow the blue letters to reach the original minds behind the quotes!
To understand which plants can actually prosper on Mars, we looked for questions into several places, until we found a Quora post which resumes the best the reason why plants could not survive Mars environment without any structure to help them resist the extreme weather. Following paragraphs were written by Erik Painter, a former fish Biologist who studied in the university of Washington!
Since Mars is about 95% carbon dioxide and plants need carbon dioxide to live, why don't we send 2 spaceships, one filled with all kinds of plant seeds and the other filled with water, to Mars and plant those seeds to put oxygen into the Martian atmosphere since plants create oxygen? - Quora Question
Water is too heavy to send in large enough quantity. But there is frozen water on Mars. Most plants could not survive the cold, lack of O², low atmospheric pressure, and the radiation.
However, cyanobacteria which photosynthesizes can live in Mars-like conditions. And large numbers would not be too heavy. The Great Oxygenation Event on Earth 2.45 billion years ago was caused by cyanobacteria.
“Planetary researchers at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) simulated the conditions on Mars for 34 days and exposed various microorganisms to this environment. "During this period, the lichens and bacteria continued to demonstrate measurable activity and carry out photosynthesis" “The water required for this process is present in the morning and evening of the Martian day, when humidity condenses as precipitation across the surface, and the organisms can absorb it”. Surviving the conditions on Mars This is the sort of polar lichen that did fine in Mars conditions.
Polar and high altitude lichens have also been found able to survive Mars' conditions. Lichens are a symbiotic relationship between fungi and algae (plants) or cyanobacteria.
Lichen have been even able to survive the vacuum of space. Lichen that survives in space are macroscopic. They photosynthesize. They are multicellular and they are eukaryotes. They are well known to live in the most extreme environments. In the experiment during the Foton-M2 space mission they were exposed to vacuum, wide fluctuations of temperature, the complete spectrum of solar UV light and bombarded with cosmic radiation for 14 days. Analysis post flight showed a full rate of survival and an unchanged ability for photosynthesis.
Also, bacterial life survives in the stratosphere of Earth which has an atmospheric pressure, temperature and radiation similar to Mars. Janibacter hoylei sp. nov., Bacillus isronensis sp. nov. and Bacillus Aryabhattai sp. nov., isolated from cryotubes used for collecting air from th... - PubMed - NCBI
Methanogens which make methane in conditions without oxygen have also been found to be able to live in Mars-like conditions. Some use CO2 and hydrogen to make methane and water. In some places they get that H from reactions in basaltic rocks. Methane (and water vapor) are much better greenhouse gases than carbon dioxide. With enough methane released, Mars would warm, releasing frozen CO2 and then melting water. Earth organisms survive under low-pressure Martian conditions
However, even if we can find organisms that will produce oxygen by photosynthesis on Mars in thousands of years (or more), the bigger problem will be keeping the atmosphere from being from being lost into space by solar winds. Mars has no magnetosphere to protect the atmosphere. The lack of a magnetosphere is thought to be one reason for Mars's thin atmosphere. Mars’ magnetic field - DTU Space
_ Erik Painter contribution on Quora.
There is a LOT OF CLAY in Mars - Discovered recently by Perseverance
"Clay found on Mars points Toward Watery past" _ Astronomy.com
Which means: Mars really had water in the past. But as mentioned previously: a very possible reason for water to being vanished, could be solar blasts that hits Mars with a certain frequency. So, since Mars has no magnetosphere to protect itself from Solar Blasts, it is more than visible the difficulty level humanity will have to make Mars habitable.
What plants can be deployed on Mars?
Other crops with shallow roots benefit from clay soil's ability to retain moisture;
But, without any human-made structure, these plants deployed in Mars terrain alone would soon die by lack of water and possible sun blasts!
To start to build all structures Mars needs, the first step is to start. Now that Perseverance Rover is already exploring Mars, SpaceX's specialists study the best structures, essential materials and essential first professionals to send in the first trip to Mars.