- Oxygen Discovery ‘Completely Changes’ Potential for Life on Mars – Study
Eyed as prime real estate, Mars currently occupies the mind of space innovation suitors. Billions is being spent in the race to get humans to the planet but can the barren landscape be tamed? A new oxygen study provides hope.
SpaceX, Blue Origin and Boeing all have aspirations to put humans on the ground of the Red Planet. The US space agency NASA has a longstanding interest while Russia and even the United Arab Emirates each outlined their capabilities to get to, what data suggests is, a sparse, unsustainable landscape.
However, a new study into the cold, desert world could provide new impetus for explorers given that it suggests deposits of briny water may contain enough oxygen to support microbial life.
Published in the Nature journal, the study was led by researchers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena. Using atmospheric models to test how oxygen might react in water underneath the Red Planet’s surface, the team found evidence to suggest that the life sustaining chemical element could be present to a degree higher than expected.
“Even at the limits of the uncertainties, our findings suggest that there can be near-surface environments on Mars with sufficient O2 available for aerobic microbes to breathe,” the study states.