Past projects of colonizing Mars involved sending robotic crafts to Red Planet to set up bases that scientists can later use it, and this time the engineers plan to turn the barren and cold world into sustainable environment for human life to thrive.
Living and performing experiments from close environments or with the astronaut suit on seem not to satisfy the Pentagon. Spokesperson from DARPA said that while terraforming the planet may be lengthy and expensive process it is no longer a Sci-Fi story.
Alicia Jackson from the Biological Technologies Office at the Pentagon’s DARPA said, “For the first time, we have the technological toolkit to transform not just hostile places here on Earth, but to go into space not just to visit, but to stay.”
DARPA researchers hope that current technology may allow them to transform the harsh, isolated world into a more Earth-like planet.
Genetically modified organisms they plan to ship off to Mars must be different from anything we are accustomed with. They must survive extreme temperatures that can reach up to minus 100 degrees F or minus 73 degrees at the equator, the thin atmosphere which is composed of carbon dioxide, low gravitation and lack of liquid water.
But the researchers at DARPA are not easily discouraged as they say the plants and algae they would genetically modify would be able to warm up the planet and even change its atmosphere and hydrological system.
And terraformation does just that, it deliberately modifies a planet’s harsh environment to allow humans to live it.
Ms. Jackson said that DARPA has access to the Google Maps of genomes, which is a huge database of genetic material gathered from hundreds of thousands of living organisms found on Earth. The database allows researchers to quickly find a gene and combine it with a set of other genes to create brand new life forms that can thrive in the Martin landscape.
DARPA before sending those organisms to Mars plans to first test them on Earth in locations that no human can survive. Researchers had been thinking about releasing them in places damaged by natural or human-made disasters to see if they truly are able restore the sites to pre-disaster conditions.