[meteorite-list] NASA May Put Greenhouse on Mars in 2021

From: Carl Agee <agee_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Thu, 8 May 2014 19:28:57 -0600
Message-ID: <CADYrzhqmmbqTBAT5RJSOm1dfCeeSKAUyVitJg=VJQ_xUR_urPw_at_mail.gmail.com>

NASA's Planetary Protection Officer will have to approve it!

-Carl Agee
Carl B. Agee
Director and Curator, Institute of Meteoritics
Professor, Earth and Planetary Sciences
MSC03 2050
University of New Mexico
Albuquerque NM 87131-1126

Tel: (505) 750-7172
Fax: (505) 277-3577
Email: agee at unm.edu

On Thu, May 8, 2014 at 6:10 PM, Mendy.Ouzillou via Meteorite-list
<meteorite-list at meteoritecentral.com> wrote:
> Just watched an old Dr. Who episode about that very project. Did not turn out well ...
> Mendy Ouzillou
> On May 8, 2014, at 4:44 PM, Ron Baalke via Meteorite-list <meteorite-list at meteoritecentral.com> wrote:
> http://www.space.com/25767-nasa-mars-greenhouse-rover-plant-experiment.html
> NASA May Put Greenhouse on Mars in 2021
> By Mike Wall
> space.com
> May 6, 2014
> Plant life may touch down on Mars in 2021.
> Researchers have proposed putting a plant-growth experiment on NASA's
> next Mars rover, which is scheduled to launch in mid-2020 and land on
> the Red Planet in early 2021. The investigation, known as the Mars Plant
> Experiment (MPX), could help lay the foundation for the colonization of
> Mars, its designers say.
> "In order to do a long-term, sustainable base on Mars, you would want
> to be able to establish that plants can at least grow on Mars," MPX deputy
> principal investigator Heather Smith, of NASA's Ames Research Center in
> Mountain View, California, said April 24 at the Humans 2 Mars conference
> in Washington, D.C. "This would be the first step in that - we just send
> the seeds there and watch them grow."
> The MPX team - led by fellow Ames scientist Chris McKay - isn't suggesting
> that the 2020 Mars rover should play gardener, digging a hole with its
> robotic arm and planting seeds in the Red Planet's dirt. Rather, the experiment
> would be entirely self-contained, eliminating the chance that Earth life
> could escape and perhaps get a foothold on Mars.
> MPX would employ a clear "CubeSat" box - the case for a cheap and tiny
> satellite - which would be affixed to the exterior of the 2020 rover.
> This box would hold Earth air and about 200 seeds of Arabidopsis, a small
> flowering plant that's commonly used in scientific research.
> The seeds would receive water when the rover touched down on Mars, and
> would then be allowed to grow for two weeks or so.
> "In 15 days, we'll have a little greenhouse on Mars," Smith said.
> MPX would provide an organism-level test of the Mars environment, showing
> how Earth life deals with the Red Planet's relatively high radiation levels
> and low gravity, which is about 40 percent as strong as that of Earth,
> she added.
> "We would go from this simple experiment to the greenhouses on Mars for
> a sustainable base," Smith said. "That would be the goal."
> In addition to its potential scientific returns, MPX would provide humanity
> with a landmark moment, she added.
> "It also would be the first multicellular organism to grow, live and die
> on another planet," Smith said.
> The 2020 Mars rover is based heavily on NASA's Curiosity rover, which
> landed in August 2012 to determine if the Red Planet has ever been capable
> of supporting microbial life. Curiosity has already answered that question
> in the affirmative, finding that a site called Yellowknife Bay was, indeed,
> habitable billions of years ago.
> NASA wants the 2020 rover to search for signs of past Mars life, and collect
> rock and soil samples for eventual return to Earth. But the space agency
> is still working out the details of the robot's mission - for example,
> figuring out what instruments it will carry.
> NASA received 58 instrument proposals for the rover during its call for
> submissions, which lasted from September 2013 until January of this year.
> Final selections should be made by June or so, NASA officials have said.
> Curiosity totes 10 instruments around Mars, so the 2020 rover may end
> up with a similar amount of scientific gear.
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Received on Thu 08 May 2014 09:28:57 PM PDT

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