By the end of the decade, NASA plans to create a lunar outpost on Mars before humans explore the planet.
Base camps on Mars and the Moon will be the home and workplace for astronauts. In addition, an ecosystem will be arranged here, which will include animals. It will help researchers survive in space, Live Science reports.
The main functions of the lunar outpost are to preserve the lives of astronauts, protect against radiation, space vacuum and extreme temperatures. Other features will depend on the set goals. Outposts can be used for scientific research, extraction of natural resources and to create a platform for other space travel.
“In the future, the Artemis base camp will be able to house up to four astronauts for a month,” – NASA notes.
|Illustration of NASA astronauts at the South Pole of the Moon. Credit: NASA
At the same time, animals can help perform vital functions, scientists say. For example, insects will carry out pollination, shrimp and fish can be grown and used as food sources.
However, at present, scientists have not reached an agreement on whether it will be possible to arrange a space ecosystem.
“Ecosystems outside of Earth are still far in the future and belong more to the realm of science fiction than to active scientific research,” David Catling, an astrobiologist at the University of Washington in Seattle, told Live Science.
At the same time, the researchers note that it will be difficult for animals to live in the conditions of space. An obstacle to this is low gravity.
“The gravity of Mars is about one-third that of Earth, and that of the Moon is one-sixth that of Earth. Habitats can be created according to the temperature, pressure, and composition of the atmosphere that Earths are used to, but it is impossible to change the force of gravity.” said Christopher McKay, a planetary scientist at NASA’s Ames Research Center.
McKay suggests that animals will develop on Mars and the Moon in the same way as on Earth, but there is no evidence for this yet. Low gravity can affect the development of muscles and bones, because of which animals on Mars will not be able to stand and walk properly. Under these conditions, small animals such as mice and aquatic animals would probably be best suited to populate space.
Changes in gravity are not scary for fish, so they may well become “space” residents. They do not require a lot of resources and do not leave a lot of waste.
Insects can also go to Mars together with people. Scientists have found that it is a good source of protein. In addition, they take up little space and use little water. Insects can pollinate plants that will be grown for food.
For the colonization of the Moon, researchers are also considering slow-moving animals, which are often called “water bears.” These tiny creatures can withstand extreme conditions, including extreme heat and cold, radiation and the vacuum of space.
“Such colonization is far in the future. In order for it to become possible, a number of engineering problems need to be solved,” – said astrobiologist David Catling.
We will remind you that NASA accidentally detected an unknown signal outside our galaxy. Scientists cannot find a scientific explanation for it.
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Vira Shurmakevich, “UP. Life”