Terraforming Mars with Aerogel
Have you guys heard of this thing called silica aerogel? It was created by . scientists at NASA and Harvard for the use of insulation on certain spacecraft and equipment. Now scientists are looking to use aerogel to begin the terraforming of Mars to make it a more habitable place to live. This means, working on an atmosphere, livable places, farming etc.. and silica aerogel is exactly what we need.
Do you remember the inflatable planetarium domes they used to use in elementary school? Well, imagine that times about 1000x in size, and the material being made of silica aerogel. Yeah. That’s what scientists are thinking of using for making biospheres on Mars, where there can be oxygen flowing, heat from the sun being trapped in and maybe even forests.
Aerogel works similarly to how the greenhouse effect works on Venus and unfortunately on some places here on Earth. Where there’s a buildup of CO2 in the atmosphere and it’s so thick that when sunlight comes in, it heats up the surface and rather than radiating back into space it gets trapped under the atmosphere. Can sound bad, but if controlled it can be a matter of making life on Mars go from a dream to reality. To make this possible these domes will contain about 2 metric units of aerogel in thickness which would make an adjustment of the Martian atmosphere which is barely existent to being close to the Earth’s atmosphere.
Carl Sagan spoke about melting the north pole of Mars which will cause an increase in gases and emissions from an overall warming of the planet, but this would only increase the atmosphere to be about 7% that of Earth.. still not enough or humans to survive on. So it’s in technology like silica aerogel to make this possible.
The scientists leading this research were able to show through modeling and experiments, that a 2-3cm thick shield of silica aerogel could transmit enough visible light for photosynthesis!!! As well as block hazardous ultraviolet radiation, and raise temperatures underneath this gel to permanently maintain a temperature to the melting point of water!! And this is all without the need for any internal heat source.
This such exciting stuff that’s being working on for taking the next steps in human evolution and becoming a multi-planetary species.
To learn more about this research check out my latest IGTV video about this!! And the paper is published in Nature Astronomy. Chat soon my space peeps!!