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techstepgenr8tion
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28 Mar 2021, 7:21 pm

Anton Petrov examining the question. Aparently, even given the current pressure and temparture, Anabaena could do okay IF there was a lot more nitrogen. This opens the door to another question perhaps - is this something we could bridge with synthetic biology?



Personally I love Terraforming Mars when I'm sitting around with a few good friends and four or five hours to kill. Jokes aside though - I do wonder if this sort of thing could help prep large human habitats and, if enough fine-tuning of microbes and even later technology helps us change the makeup of the atmosphere, it could transform the planet writ large into something with ecological cycles that are symbiotic with some form of life even if significantly different from what we'd have on Earth.


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29 Mar 2021, 7:27 pm

Cyanobacteria is mentioned in a youtube video I just posted on Linkedin.

StarTalk: Terraforming Mars with Neil deGrasse Tyson
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7XdkKMhAdnA

If you like to read non-fiction science you should read "A Case for Mars".

If you like hard-science fiction you might like "Red Mars".


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PhosphorusDecree
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04 Apr 2021, 10:59 am

I wonder if you could start Mars off with some kind of archaean. They're bacteria-like organisms which often thrive in extreme environments on Earth. Many don't need an earthlike atmosphere as they live by processing chemicals without using oxygen. I can imagine slowly, delicately tweaking the Martian ecosystem by adding one species of microrganism that changes things until it's possible for a second species to survive, and so on.


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techstepgenr8tion
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04 Apr 2021, 11:05 am

PhosphorusDecree wrote:
I wonder if you could start Mars off with some kind of archaean. They're bacteria-like organisms which often thrive in extreme environments on Earth. Many don't need an earthlike atmosphere as they live by processing chemicals without using oxygen. I can imagine slowly, delicately tweaking the Martian ecosystem by adding one species of microrganism that changes things until it's possible for a second species to survive, and so on.

That seems to be the general idea of the video - ie. dropping extremophiles in to the Martian environment.

In my mind one probably one of the biggest concerns is the scientific community figuring out a time at which point they're willing to 'pollute the crime scene'. For example once such bacteria start working their way around the planet it might make certain kinds of findings unrecoverable. I suppose then again fossil records would still be what they are, particularly with our interest in looking back to see if Mars actually had life when it had oceans and a functioning magnetic field. In one way it's the beginning of a sort of slow and natural terraforming but at the same time, admittedly, it's an irreversible process that probably needs certain kinds of research and results well established out in front of it - which might be a reason to send far more probes and rovers to Mars in coming decades before deciding to willfully let lose cyanobacteria or archaea on the surface.

I'm also guessing as well that we'd need to have something like laboratory cultivation (on a gradient between artificial Earth and Mars climates) and various kinds of natural selection happening on Mars and in large batches to maybe get released by crop-dusting drones. At the pace we're moving that probably wouldn't be until at least 2050 even if it's relatively low tech by then.


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09 Apr 2021, 8:24 pm

Just watching some students talk about mars on a live stream. Mars has no magnetic field like the Earth does so high energy particles from the sun hit the service more easily. One scientist said the surface is a similar PH to laundry detergent. In addition to the radiation at the surface the atmosphere is also very dry - so living things kind of get freeze dried.
The idea of living conditions being better underground is valid - the radiation would be absorbed by the regolith and rocks above and additional pressure and possible pockets of liquid water underground.
The idea of sending earth extremophiles may work but may not - it might be part of a larger "teraforming" effort.
The magnetosphere may be a big problem, but humans and technology might tip the balance.


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