Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Future Martian Colonies Powered By Algae? Authentic NASA Toys and Replicas
(Hat Tip: IsraGood, Image Credit: Ken Rust via Got Algae?)

Mars is cold. It's unbelievably cold. In order for future colonists to avoid freezing to death (as well as their machines), they are going to need a source of energy to provide heat.

While innovative solar power may be able to help keep a small outpost alive, it will probably not be able to power large settlements.

Even though nuclear power plants have proven their worth as far as energy goes, Earthly politics may prevent them from being used on Mars, as launching anything nuclear has the side affect of making a million minds nervous.

In order to establish thriving cities upon the pink deserts of Mars, future colonists may have to turn towards algae in order to keep their cities (and rovers) alive.

( "I am constantly dumbfounded by this plant. This little thing is the baseline for the production of oxygen in the world; it knows how to use carbon dioxide and turn it into oxygen. It amazes me that despite this, algae are not given enough respect, and instead are treated like green slime." [...]

Berzin, the founder of GreenFuel Technologies - a U.S. company that produces green fuel from algae - discovered that "green slime" contains one of the keys to the alternative fuel the world is seeking. His company is the first ever to develop and produce biofuels from algae that are bred on gases emitted by power plants. It might sound like some sort of magic trick to put algae, CO2 and sunlight into a box and come out with fuel, but Berzin did it.

The fuel from these algae may not only help to keep the lights on within future Martian cities, but also enable them to develop faster (human driven) rovers, as the solar powered ones on Mars are definitely lacking in the speed department.

Since Mars has plenty of CO2 within its atmosphere, future colonists could easily pull this gas from the Martian environment, as well as from "the nostrils" of humans and pigs (after they exhale that is).

Mars also has no shortage of water, and while it will have to be heavily filtered, it could be more than enough to satisfy the thirst of these terrestrial algae.

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  1. How long would you think it would take for the algae to process enough oxygen before we can colonize Mars?

  2. We will have to bring oxygen with us anyways to Mars, so the amount would probably be what you would need to survive (as the algae could help us create more).



You can either visit the stars or watch them from afar.

But if you choose the former, you'll definitely get a better view.

~Darnell Clayton, 2007

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