Mars soil may be arable....

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docm

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This could have major implications: astronauts on Mars missions may be able to put up an inflatable greenhouse and grow their own food.&nbsp;<br /><br />New York Times story....<br /><br /><div style="margin:5px0px0px"><div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px">Quote:</div><table border="0" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="4" width="100%"><tbody><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px"><strong><font size="3">Alkaline Soil Sample From Mars Reveals Presence of Nutrients for Plants to Grow</font> </strong><br /><br /><strong><font color="#8b0000">Stick an asparagus plant in a pot full of Martian soil, and the asparagus might grow happily, scientists announced Thursday. <br /><br />An experiment on the Phoenix Mars lander showed the dirt on the planet&rsquo;s northern arctic plains to be alkaline, though not strongly alkaline, and full of the mineral nutrients that a plant would need.<br /><br />&ldquo;We basically have found what appears to be the requirements, the nutrients, to support life whether past, present or future,&rdquo; said Samuel P. Kounaves of Tufts University, who is leading the chemical analysis, during a telephone news conference on Thursday. &ldquo;The sort of soil you have there is the type of soil you&rsquo;d probably have in your backyard.&rdquo;</font></strong><br /><br />Mars today is cold and dry, and the surface is bombarded by ultraviolet radiation, making life unlikely, but conditions could have made the planet more habitable in the past. Plants that like alkaline soil &mdash; like asparagus &mdash; might readily grow in the Martian soil, provided that other components of an Earth-like environment including air and water were also present.<br /><br />The preliminary findings from Phoenix do not answer whether life ever existed on Mars (or might still exist somewhere underground), only that conditions, at least at this location, are not the harshest imaginable. The soil, taken close to the surface, was similar to what is found in parts of Antarctica, Dr. Kounaves said. The soil elsewhere on the planet could well be very different; even the soil farther down in the ground could turn out to be acidic or otherwise vary in composition.<br /><br />The Phoenix is capable of performing the same chemical analysis on three more samples.<br /><br />In a different experiment, a tiny oven heated another sample of the Martian soil to 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit, which released water vapor. &ldquo;This soil clearly has interacted with water in the past,&rdquo; said William V. Boynton of the University of Arizona, the lead scientist in this experiment.<br /><br />Dr. Boynton said he could not say when the liquid water was present or even where it was. The moisture might have come from dust particles that had blown there from other parts of Mars. &ldquo;At this point, it is difficult to quantify what was given off,&rdquo; he said.<br /><br />The oven experiment also found carbon dioxide vapors, not surprising because the planet&rsquo;s thin atmosphere is primarily carbon dioxide. The data have not revealed any carbon-based compounds. <br /><br />The Phoenix mission is not directly looking for life on Mars, but rather whether conditions for habitability ever existed. In the wet chemistry experiment, water was mixed into the soil to produce Martian mud. Then the apparatus performed the same sorts of tests that gardeners use to test the condition of their soil.<br /><br /><strong><font color="#8b0000">The pH level was between 8 and 9, Dr. Kounaves said. The pH, or potential of hydrogen, reflects the concentration of hydrogen ions, or acidity, of a substance and usually varies between 0 and 14, with 7 considered neutral. (The water of Earth&rsquo;s oceans, for comparison, has a pH of 8.2.) The experiment also found the presence of magnesium, sodium, potassium and chloride ions in the soil.<br /><br />&ldquo;There&rsquo;s nothing about it that would preclude life,&rdquo; Dr. Kounaves said. &ldquo;In fact, it seems very friendly.&rdquo;</font></strong>
 
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a_lost_packet_

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This should be in big bold letters on every Headline news page. It means that if we wanted to set up a habitable station on Mars, we DON'T have to bring all our own dirt... (Hydroponics, not included.)&nbsp; That's almost like a bunch of nice "settler" themes.&nbsp; Farming, on Mars, is possible under the right circumstances.&nbsp; You can't get much better than that except if you found evidence that there were Starbucks and Wallmarts already there.<br /> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <font size="1">I put on my robe and wizard hat...</font> </div>
 
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neuvik

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<p>With the knoweldge they have now can they guess if other regions would be just as habitable?&nbsp;&nbsp; Theres barely enough sunlight for the MPL in its current region.&nbsp;&nbsp; </p><p>Awesome though, I'm so freaking happy the MPL is suceeded in its mission thus far.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; I hope it finds a nice chunk of ice to really put the icing on the cake, and show off in front of all the nay-sayers. </p><p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p> </p><p><strong><font color="#ff0000">I don't think I'm alone when I say, "I hope more planets fall under the ruthless domination of Earth!"</font></strong></p><p><font color="#0000ff">SDC Boards: Power by PLuck - Ph**king Luck</font></p> </div>
 
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docm

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<p><BR/>Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>I hope it finds a nice chunk of ice to really put the icing on the cake, and show off in front of all the nay-sayers. &nbsp; <br />Posted by neuvik</DIV></p><p>Looks like they did, a few centimeters under the landing site.</p><p>http://phoenix.lpl.arizona.edu/06_19_pr.php</p><p>AnimGIF showing the ice sublimating;</p><p>http://phoenix.lpl.arizona.edu/images/dodo_020_024.gif</p><p>and this big patch exposed by the landing rocket;</p><p><br /><img src="http://sitelife.space.com/ver1.0/Content/images/store/0/10/90cb332c-84d6-4983-9a9b-121a9f360670.Medium.jpg" alt="" /></p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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neuvik

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Whoops should have said a big chunk of ice for the TEGA hah.&nbsp;&nbsp; After I saw that in the main MPL thread I was decently convinced they found ice too, since I can barely keep dry ice from vaporizing in our reefers for cleaning and it is freaking cold in there. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p> </p><p><strong><font color="#ff0000">I don't think I'm alone when I say, "I hope more planets fall under the ruthless domination of Earth!"</font></strong></p><p><font color="#0000ff">SDC Boards: Power by PLuck - Ph**king Luck</font></p> </div>
 
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kelvinzero

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<p>I always thought soil was a bit more complicated than that, I mean with all sorts of organisms complimenting each other, and probably earth's soil being unable to support modern plants until a very slow process of conversion by more hardy organisms like lichens had occured.</p><p>I would like to see a lot more focus on artificial biospheres. We could colonise the solar system with the rockets we have now if we could sustain human life indefinitely in enclosed environments. It also should be the burning question to anyone wondering if we can live sustainably on earth either.</p>
 
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frodo1008

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<p><BR/>Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>With the knoweldge they have now can they guess if other region would be just as habitable?&nbsp;&nbsp; Theres barely enough sunlight for the MPL in its current region.&nbsp;&nbsp; Awesome though, I'm so freaking happy the MPL is suceeded in its mission thus far.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; I hope it finds a nice chunk of ice to really put the icing on the cake, and show off in front of all the nay-sayers. &nbsp; <br /> Posted by neuvik</DIV></p><p>I have yet to see ANY nay-sayers about the robotic exploration of the solar system, especially those exploring Mars!&nbsp; Try not to turn what is a technological triumph into some kind of political football if you please! </p><p>Or are you referring to those of us who believe that we should go back to the moon with manned missions first, before going on to Mars?</p><p>If so, that would be another entire thread (and one that has been thoroughly gone over before).&nbsp;</p>
 
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neuvik

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<p><BR/>Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>I have yet to see ANY nay-sayers about the robotic exploration of the solar system, especially those exploring Mars!&nbsp; Try not to turn what is a technological triumph into some kind of political football if you please! Or are you referring to those of us who believe that we should go back to the moon with manned missions first, before going on to Mars?If so, that would be another entire thread (and one that has been thoroughly gone over before).&nbsp; <br /> Posted by frodo1008</DIV></p><p>Political football? &nbsp; Frodo is your entire post just an attempt to provoke me? &nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp; There are people who think the Mars Phoenix Polar Lander was a waste of money; I did not mention any political entities.&nbsp; Almost all the news articles SDC has printed on the MPL have people shouting how its a waste of money on the message boards, go look. &nbsp;&nbsp; There was also that very obnoxious individual who posted all in caps on this forum and was thankfully banned. &nbsp; What I said was just a a side note, one I think your trying to blow up. &nbsp; &nbsp; Perhaps I should have posted the question I asked in larger print, so it would stand out more.&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp; Again, I have nothing but admiration for the MPL team, and I certainly did not mean to derail the thread. &nbsp; I posed a question I was curious about hoping someone would answer it, and put down some friendly banter. &nbsp; Nothing wrong with that. </p><p>The MPL team has done an outstanding job, on a shoe string budget. &nbsp;&nbsp; If its wrong to hope that the people who think the MPL was a bad idea, get proved wrong; well then I'm just an evil, ruggedly handsome, space exploration and exploration advocationist. </p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p> </p><p><strong><font color="#ff0000">I don't think I'm alone when I say, "I hope more planets fall under the ruthless domination of Earth!"</font></strong></p><p><font color="#0000ff">SDC Boards: Power by PLuck - Ph**king Luck</font></p> </div>
 
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a_lost_packet_

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<p><BR/>Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>With the knoweldge they have now can they guess if other regions would be just as habitable?</DIV></p><p>Considering previous missions that found soil which was highly acidic, you'd probably have to either truck it in from another region or just not grow crops with it. </p><p>Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'> Theres barely enough sunlight for the MPL in its current region.</DIV></p><p>If you have the power, you don't need the sun.&nbsp; Lamps could be used as a supplement.&nbsp; Big greenhouse, free dirt with some special additives thrown in as starters and then recyclables used to replace what's leached, nice lamps on a combo nuke/solar/wind/battery power supply and then, all you need is... water.</p><p>Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>Awesome though, I'm so freaking happy the MPL is suceeded in its mission thus far.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; I hope it finds a nice chunk of ice to really put the icing on the cake, and show off in front of all the nay-sayers.&nbsp; Posted by neuvik</DIV></p><p>It looks like its there.&nbsp; It's definitely been there and if there is any within reach, we'll probably see some good evidence for it soon. </p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <font size="1">I put on my robe and wizard hat...</font> </div>
 
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scottb50

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<p><BR/>Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>Considering previous missions that found soil which was highly acidic, you'd probably have to either truck it in from another region or just not grow crops with it. If you have the power, you don't need the sun.&nbsp; Lamps could be used as a supplement.&nbsp; Big greenhouse, free dirt with some special additives thrown in as starters and then recyclables used to replace what's leached, nice lamps on a combo nuke/solar/wind/battery power supply and then, all you need is... water.It looks like its there.&nbsp; It's definitely been there and if there is any within reach, we'll probably see some good evidence for it soon. <br /> Posted by a_lost_packet_</DIV></p><p>I would have been surprised to find the soil is not made up of pretty much the same things Earths is. Just as Earth fostered life, because of a benevolent climate doesn't mean Mars did the same thing. I would think if the soil could support life and had, or does support life, the findings would show levels of Carbon, even if it was millons of years ago Carbon would still have been concentrated and detectable. If it is distributed uniformly would indicate natural Carbon, if it is not it would indicate life. I would think that would be a better indicator then finding water. </p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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neuvik

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<p><BR/>Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>Considering previous missions that found soil which was highly acidic, you'd probably have to either truck it in from another region or just not grow crops with it. <br /> Posted by a_lost_packet_</DIV><br />&nbsp;</p><p>Oh I thought it was because those missions landed relatively close to volcanoes and that accounted for it.</p><p>Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>If you have the power, you don't need the sun.&nbsp; Lamps could be used as a supplement.&nbsp; Big greenhouse, free dirt with some special additives thrown in as starters and then recyclables used to replace what's leached, nice lamps on a combo nuke/solar/wind/battery power supply and then, all you need is...&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Posted by a_lost_packet_</DIV></p><p>True but for a future Mars human mission, wouldn't those power generation methods be a bit hard to construct.&nbsp; I'd suspect nuclear in the short run for them since it works with the long range satellites, that or chemical reaction. &nbsp; The light that mars absorbs is not too much, but every bit counts when things need to grow. But I agree the first nurseries will probably have to be powered by our sources to make light and heat.</p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p> </p><p><strong><font color="#ff0000">I don't think I'm alone when I say, "I hope more planets fall under the ruthless domination of Earth!"</font></strong></p><p><font color="#0000ff">SDC Boards: Power by PLuck - Ph**king Luck</font></p> </div>
 
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frodo1008

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<p><BR/>Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>Political football? &nbsp; Frodo is your entire post just an attempt to provoke me? &nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp; There are people who think the Mars Phoenix Polar Lander was a waste of money; I did not mention any political entities.&nbsp; Almost all the news articles SDC has printed on the MPL have people shouting how its a waste of money on the message boards, go look. &nbsp;&nbsp; There was also that very obnoxious individual who posted all in caps on this forum and was thankfully banned. &nbsp; What I said was just a a side note, one I think your trying to blow up. &nbsp; &nbsp; Perhaps I should have posted the question I asked in larger print, so it would stand out more.&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp; Again, I have nothing but admiration for the MPL team, and I certainly did not mean to derail the thread. &nbsp; I posed a question I was curious about hoping someone would answer it, and put down some friendly banter. &nbsp; Nothing wrong with that. The MPL team has done an outstanding job, on a shoe string budget. &nbsp;&nbsp; If its wrong to hope that the people who think the MPL was a bad idea, get proved wrong; well then I'm just an evil, ruggedly handsome, space exploration and exploration advocationist. <br /> Posted by neuvik</DIV></p><p>As, like yourself I am not a nay-sayer the use of the term somewhat picks my negative interest.&nbsp; Sorry, if I was too harsh, but that is the way I do feel.&nbsp; I did not mean anything harmful about this, and certainly nothing personal.</p><p>I have also heard the term used in a negative fashion by some of the more extreme "Mars First!" types here in the past to describe those that believe in a slower and more ordered space program (and hopefully therefore a more sustainable program as well).&nbsp; However, i can see from your response that you are not one of these types either.&nbsp; Once again, sorry if I misinterpreted your remarks.</p><p>I actually did not realize that there would be those that would be against such a mission. To me (someone that actually worked on just about every rocket engine that powered American human spaceflight), being against such a small expenditure of federal money for something that can answer such important questions is just somewhat inconceivable! &nbsp;</p><p>But, I guess that if we have the "Moon Hoax" types that say that NASA never landed on the moon, then I have to guess that just about anything is possible!</p><p>To me, both the robotic and manned programs of NASA are not only not an actual expense of the federal government, but an investment in the future of not only the USA but of all mankind! &nbsp;</p><p>Once again, my apologies if I have offended you here!&nbsp;</p>
 
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neuvik

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<p><BR/>Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>To me, both the robotic and manned programs of NASA are not only not an actual expense of the federal government, but an investment in the future of not only the USA but of all mankind!&nbsp; Posted by frodo1008</DIV></p><p>Thats what I'm all about!&nbsp; I never had any doubt exploration would not be cheap, that buerocratic leeching would make a large dent, that the ISS is just a sham to keep Russia's engineers employed. &nbsp; It is just a hurdle we must overcome, and even then we do learn things of value.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Exploration is and has been our destiny; I see it as the only one thing that will ever stand a chance in uniting the multitude of different politics, religions, races and sexs. &nbsp; Unfortunatly there are those who disagree totaly, reading the posts on the SDC news articles can be quite scarry sometimes. &nbsp; </p><p>Stephen Hawking gave a speech at the University of Washington DC, on NASAs' 50th Birthday in which he called for greater vigor in constitution for our new space race. &nbsp; Even with my deplorable physics knowledge I can see that the benefits of space exploration will pay humanity off a hundred fold (I don't really need a Lucasian Professor of Mathematics to tell me that either, although he writes excellent books!).</p><p>Well glade we got that sorted out!&nbsp; I accept your apology and hope you accept mine; I'm sorry for my part.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>If the Phoenix lander gets the data to determine if their is a large enough supply of water; I think the public would be for a Mars Mission. &nbsp;&nbsp; At least thats my hope, water is after all, life.&nbsp; &nbsp; Ofcrouse a lot of research is needed, but heres hoping one day we can watch a live broadcast of a mission to mars team! </p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p> </p><p><strong><font color="#ff0000">I don't think I'm alone when I say, "I hope more planets fall under the ruthless domination of Earth!"</font></strong></p><p><font color="#0000ff">SDC Boards: Power by PLuck - Ph**king Luck</font></p> </div>
 
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a_lost_packet_

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<p><BR/>Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>&nbsp;Oh I thought it was because those missions landed relatively close to volcanoes and that accounted for it.</DIV></p><p>I don't know if that was one of the reasons given for the high acidity.&nbsp; But, "high" is relative and there haven't been that many soil sample readings.&nbsp; So, you go with what you got and most people expected to see more of the same.&nbsp; What they received was good new though - a more "Earth-life friendly" soil. </p><p>Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>True but for a future Mars human mission, wouldn't those power generation methods be a bit hard to construct.&nbsp; I'd suspect nuclear in the short run for them since it works with the long range satellites, that or chemical reaction. &nbsp; The light that mars absorbs is not too much, but every bit counts when things need to grow. But I agree the first nurseries will probably have to be powered by our sources to make light and heat. Posted by neuvik</DIV></p><p>Well, solar isn't difficult, you'd just have to bring the materials with you.&nbsp; The more you bring, the more you have.&nbsp; Wind generation is a mechanical-electricity conversion so it's conceivable that if there are any building materials on Mars available, (Iron oxide is a start) the bulky components could eventually be manufactured.&nbsp; Nuclear is a bit tricky as the amount of power necessary may require some pretty large and highly spec'ed assemblies be transported there.&nbsp; Fuel for those would have to be replaced as well if none could be refined.&nbsp; I don't know if there are suitable volatiles in quantity for conventional chemical power.</p><p>To be honest, I'm just excited about the dirt.&nbsp; It's decent dirt. Yes, we traveled millions of miles so I could be excited about some dirt on Mars. :)</p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <font size="1">I put on my robe and wizard hat...</font> </div>
 
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holmec

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<p><BR/>Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>I always thought soil was a bit more complicated than that, I mean with all sorts of organisms complimenting each other, and probably earth's soil being unable to support modern plants until a very slow process of conversion by more hardy organisms like lichens had occured.I would like to see a lot more focus on artificial biospheres. We could colonise the solar system with the rockets we have now if we could sustain human life indefinitely in enclosed environments. It also should be the burning question to anyone wondering if we can live sustainably on earth either. <br /> Posted by kelvinzero</DIV></p><p>I agree, I think its about time we do an arificial biosphere both in space and mars. </p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p> </p><p><font color="#0000ff"><em>"SCE to AUX" - John Aaron, curiosity pays off</em></font></p> </div>
 
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docm

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<p><BR/>Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>Well, solar isn't difficult, you'd just have to bring the materials with you.&nbsp; The more you bring, the more you have.&nbsp;</DIV></p><p>And&nbsp;that's improving.&nbsp; Nanosolar's printed thin panel line just upped capacity to 1 GW/year at 100 feet/minute, tripling the US solar panel capacity in one swipe,&nbsp;and they're saying that in principle it could run at 1,000 to 2,000 ft/min.&nbsp;Recent articles say they're looking at making it possible to use their nano-ink tech to print solar panels on standard printers.</p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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a_lost_packet_

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<p><BR/>Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>And&nbsp;that's improving.&nbsp; Nanosolar's printed thin panel line just upped capacity to 1 GW/year at 100 feet/minute, tripling the US solar panel capacity in one swipe,&nbsp;and they're saying that in principle it could run at 1,000 to 2,000 ft/min.&nbsp;Recent articles say they're looking at making it possible to use their nano-ink tech to print solar panels on standard printers. Posted by docm</DIV></p><p>I saw a news-blurb on that the other day.&nbsp; Remarkable stuff!&nbsp; "Printing" your own solar panels?&nbsp; That's just crazy-fun! :) </p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <font size="1">I put on my robe and wizard hat...</font> </div>
 
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acidrain

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<p><BR/>Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>I always thought soil was a bit more complicated than that, I mean with all sorts of organisms complimenting each other, and probably earth's soil being unable to support modern plants until a very slow process of conversion by more hardy organisms like lichens had occured.I would like to see a lot more focus on artificial biospheres. We could colonise the solar system with the rockets we have now if we could sustain human life indefinitely in enclosed environments. It also should be the burning question to anyone wondering if we can live sustainably on earth either. <br /> Posted by kelvinzero</DIV></p><p>Oh i agree, this only supports what we can do in supporting life with an biosphere which i think using something along the lines of Bigelow and there inflatable modules of sorts or use it as a temperary until we build an artificial biosphere, after all look at all the biospheres and the research that has been put into such colonies. This is so exciting, i cant wait to see if they find a large piece of ICE and are able to&nbsp; determine what we would like to find. </p>
 
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MeteorWayne

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<p>I submit that the title of this thread is incorrect. Here's the Wiki definition of non arable. How many apply to Mars?</p><p>Land which is unsuitable for arable farming usually has at least one of the following deficiencies: </p><p>no source of fresh water (Mars); </p><p>too hot (desert) (Not Mars); </p><p>too cold (Arctic) (Definately Mars); </p><p>too rocky; too mountainous Too early to tell about Mars); </p><p>too salty (Much of Mars seems to be in this categaory); </p><p>too rainy; too snowy; too polluted (proabably doesn't apply to Mars); </p><p>or too nutrient poor (Probably does apply to Mars...while trace minerals are there, there is so far NO organic matter, which our plants sem to like a lot). </p><p>"Nutrient: Organic nutrients include carbohydrates, fats, proteins (or their building blocks, amino acids), and vitamins. Inorganic chemical compounds such as minerals; water and oxygen may also be considered nutrients."</p><p>MW</p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font color="#000080"><em><font color="#000000">But the Krell forgot one thing John. Monsters. Monsters from the Id.</font></em> </font></p><p><font color="#000080">I really, really, really, really miss the "first unread post" function</font><font color="#000080"> </font></p> </div>
 
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silylene old

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<p><BR/>Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>I submit that the title of this thread is incorrect. Here's the Wiki definition of non arable. How many apply to Mars?Land which is unsuitable for arable farming usually has at least one of the following deficiencies: no source of fresh water (Mars); too hot (desert) (Not Mars); too cold (Arctic) (Definately Mars); too rocky; too mountainous Too early to tell about Mars); too salty (Much of Mars seems to be in this categaory); too rainy; too snowy; too polluted (proabably doesn't apply to Mars); or too nutrient poor (Probably does apply to Mars...while trace minerals are there, there is so far NO organic matter, which our plants sem to like a lot). "Nutrient: Organic nutrients include carbohydrates, fats, proteins (or their building blocks, amino acids), and vitamins. Inorganic chemical compounds such as minerals; water and oxygen may also be considered nutrients."MW <br />Posted by MeteorWayne</DIV><br /><br />MW, I agree.</p><p>As you may remember from a post of mine about 8 or 9 days ago, I thought this whole 'arable soil' thing was one giant marketing mistake of a press release&nbsp;by the mission scientists.&nbsp; Let me put this whole quote here: "It is the type of soil you would probably have in your back yard - you know, alkaline. You might be able to grow asparagus in it really well." </p><p>Remember, in the US press, a juicy quote can and often&nbsp;frames the entire message.&nbsp; The headlines of CNN, MSNBC, newspapers, TV stations, etc all featured the clause taken from the very silly 'asparagus quote'.</p><p>Now let me translate how Joe Q. Public understands this (somewhat out of context) quote:&nbsp; Pointy headed scientists spend $400M to send a spaceship to Mars, and learn that we can farm asparagus.&nbsp; The average Bubba thinks that was the purpose of the mission!&nbsp; To see if the Martian soil was usable for farming !&nbsp; And even worse, for farming something utterly stupid, like asparagus, at that!&nbsp; Bubba thinks the US government is wasting hundreds of millions of $ to see if we can farm Mars.</p><p>This quote, and a few related other ones which I could also post here,&nbsp;I think can derail and sidetrack the entire public understanding of the mission, and indeed blemish all publicly funded space exploration as giving the impression that NASA is pursuing bizarre and useless endeavors.&nbsp; I think it will be harder next time NASA asks for funding with this impression hovering overhead.&nbsp; And it will be harder for scientists to get funding.&nbsp; This is because Joe Q. Public now has the impression we are wasting&nbsp;his tax $&nbsp;on seeing if we can grow asparagus on Mars.</p><p>The only good thing we have going for us here is that the public's memory is very short term.&nbsp; Perhaps the damage isn't too long lasting.</p><p>Sorry for the rant.&nbsp; This whole asaparagus and farming sh!t has bothered me from the moment the exuberant mission scientists foolishly uttered it.&nbsp; Hopefully NASA will do something smart and learn&nbsp;teach the mission scientists how&nbsp;to communicate more appropriate soundbites better the next time around.&nbsp; Now you can bash me for daring to criticize the poorly framed message they have delivered to the press.</p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature" align="center"><em><font color="#0000ff">- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -</font></em> </div><div class="Discussion_UserSignature" align="center"><font color="#0000ff"><em>I really, really, really miss the "first unread post" function.</em></font> </div> </div>
 
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MeteorWayne

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<p>This is also the fault of the MSM that doesn't understand the science as well.</p><p>I'll have to check how it was covered. I recall Jon Clarke and I had a bit of a debate in one thread or another. I wasn't too impressed with the news, because I heard "minerals". Minerals doesn't mean you can grow anything in it, organic matter is required. Yes it was a bit on the alkaline side, but IIRC what they said was the soil wouldn't kill anything you could grow in it. Not that it would thrive, or was arable. Have to check and see what my scribblenmotes said in the Phoenix Surface mission thread, as well as what the stories in the media said.</p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font color="#000080"><em><font color="#000000">But the Krell forgot one thing John. Monsters. Monsters from the Id.</font></em> </font></p><p><font color="#000080">I really, really, really, really miss the "first unread post" function</font><font color="#000080"> </font></p> </div>
 
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docm

Guest
<p>Plants absorb mineral nutrients as inorganic&nbsp;cations (Ca, Mg and K) and anions&nbsp;(NO3, SO4 and H2PO4) and trace elements dissolved in water.&nbsp;</p><p>Organic material in the soil only provides the source of these minerals through decomposition by worms, bacteria and fungi - the&nbsp;plants don't absorb the&nbsp;organic matter in soil itself.&nbsp; Under natural conditions soil only acts as a mineral&nbsp; reservoir, the soil itself is not necessary....which is the basis for hydroponics.&nbsp;</p><p>Whatever Mars has in those soils it of course&nbsp;isn't the complete mix, with some variation by crop, but it sure as hell shortens the list of necessary supplements that have to be taken there to grow things.</p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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silylene old

Guest
<p><BR/>Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>This is also the fault of the MSM that doesn't understand the science as well.I'll have to check how it was covered. I recall Jon Clarke and I had a bit of a debate in one thread or another. I wasn't too impressed with the news, because I heard "minerals". Minerals doesn't mean you can grow anything in it, organic matter is required. Yes it was a bit on the alkaline side, but IIRC what they said was the soil wouldn't kill anything you could grow in it. Not that it would thrive, or was arable. Have to check and see what my scribblenmotes said in the Phoenix Surface mission thread, as well as what the stories in the media said. <br />Posted by MeteorWayne</DIV><br /><br />MW, here are a few of the very many news stories titled "Asparagus on Mars":</p><p>http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/article4225008.ece</p><p>http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/06/28/2288615.htm</p><p>http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5jzUlvKnSf1q0_gfIpxVz1ADDFNYw</p><p>A list of blogs titled "Asparagus on Mars"::</p><p>http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&ie=UTF-8&rlz=1T4GZAZ_enUS252US252&q=asparagus+on+mars</p><p>723 news stories, about 1/4 headlined about asparagus:</p><p>http://news.google.com/news?sourceid=navclient&ie=UTF-8&rlz=1T4GZAZ_enUS252US252&tab=wn&ncl=1224443244&hl=en</p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature" align="center"><em><font color="#0000ff">- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -</font></em> </div><div class="Discussion_UserSignature" align="center"><font color="#0000ff"><em>I really, really, really miss the "first unread post" function.</em></font> </div> </div>
 
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