In search of a new life: The Mars planet

Life has been existing over for 3.5 billion years ago. There were significant events in the past, like the extinction of dinosaurs about 66 million years ago. We also know about the start of agriculture, human-made tools used for several purposes. Now in the 21st century, we’ve accomplished a lot of achievements. Still, yes, we are slowly destroying the planet Earth. The nature around us earlier was so satisfying maybe a decade or before that. Suddenly, humanity started constructing buildings, complexes, resorts, artificial reservoirs, etc. This list never ends. They are even cutting down the trees to get more residential areas leading to deforestation. After all, this will all lead to a concrete jungle in the future, there will be no oxygen for survival, the animals will start disappearing, and soon everything will come to an end. This sequence of incidents can be a nightmare for someone, but this can turn into a reality. It’s in our hands to save the planet.

A dinosaur statue.
A dinosaur statue.

On the other side, they’re positive things going around the globe. Scientists and researchers have continuously been looking for existence in life in the other planets. Several space programs have been successfully executed and are still in progress. We know our solar system consisting of eight planets, but we’ve been more interested in the planet Mars. The first mission on Mars on 14th July 1965, Mariner 4, followed by Mariner 9, entered into the orbit. Though the first landing was by Mars 2 but crashed due to a malfunction which later on 2nd December 1971, Mars 3 became the first spacecraft to land on the Mars surface, that too interrupted after 14.5 seconds after its signal transmission failed.

A Mars rover.
An animated Mars rover.

Now in search of water on Mars, there are several types of research claiming that it is in the form of ice caps and many more theories. Still, of these findings, scientists, namely John G. MacDonald, Karien Rodriguez, and Stephen Quirk, developed something unique by which plants can be grown. You heard it right, a polymer through which it can deliver oxygen for the germinating sprout. They claim that regolith has nutrients for plant growth, but not oxygen, the prior requirement of a sapling as 95% of the Martian atmosphere is carbon dioxide. They described two methods of extracting oxygen, either from the metal oxides pre-existing in the regolith and electrolysis, but both processes are time-consuming. The proposed idea is that when the polymer combines with sodium hydroxide and hydrogen peroxide, it becomes an oxygen infused foamed hydrogel. It has the potential to deliver controlled amounts of gaseous oxygen. The foamed matrix, along with regolith, can form the base or be directly coated around the seed to grow plants.

A plant is in a hand.
A person is holding a plant.

The most crucial mission among them was MOM, an interplanetary mission by ISRO, India called Mangalyaan, orbiting since 24th September 2014, becoming the 4th space agency to reach the planet Mars with the lowest cost. This mission has fascinated the kids in India, it got picturised in a movie called “Mission Mangal” in the Hindi language, premiered on 13th August 2019 in theaters. Imagination never ends, everything has a route, and hence it becomes a success, a part of the movie’s storyline. I hope you adhere the same in reality.

For more details about the research, you can visit the site mentioned below: