Will It Be Possible To Breathe Martian Air Due To Its Low Oxygen Content? What Do We Know About The Structure Of Mars’ Air And Atmosphere, The Oxygen It Contains, And Their Compatibility With The Human Body?
Imagine an astronaut landing on the surface of Mars. What does he need to survive on the Red Planet? From the beginning, we can make a shortlist: water, food, shelter, and of course, oxygen. We have no problem breathing on Earth; Because the Earth’s atmosphere contains enough oxygen to breathe for us and many other living things. Plants and some types of bacteria provide this oxygen to us.
Also, we probably all know that oxygen is not the only gas in the Earth’s atmosphere, and we should even say that most of the Earth’s atmosphere is made up of other gases. 21% of the Earth’s air comprises oxygen, and almost the rest is nitrogen (78%). There are other gases in smaller proportions in the Earth’s atmosphere, Including carbon dioxide.
You may be wondering if the Earth’s atmosphere has more nitrogen than oxygen, why do we need oxygen to breathe? Why does our body not have such a strategic and decisive need for nitrogen, which is present in the atmosphere in a higher percentage, for example?
To better understand the interaction between the human body and oxygen, we need to be careful about human respiration.
When the tail is operated, all the gases in the air enter the lungs; But our body uses only oxygen, and the rest goes back to the atmosphere when we exhale. Oxygen is considered fuel for our body cells and helps provide the building blocks needed by the human body for survival. The human body cells combine oxygen with nitrogen and hydrogen to produce various proteins to make new cells in the body. We continue the article by addressing the oxygen situation on Mars with this introduction.
One of the images was taken by NASA’s persuasion astronaut from the surface of Mars and the rocks on its floor.
Air of Mars
Mars’s atmosphere is thin, and its volume is only 1% of the Earth’s atmosphere. In other words, Mars has 99% less air than Earth. We must not forget that Mars is about half the size of Earth; Therefore, the gravitational force of Mars is not strong enough to prevent gases from escaping into space. Mars’ most abundant atmospheric gas is carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide is a highly concentrated toxic gas for humans living on Earth.
We are grappling with one of the most critical problems in human history in controlling the amount of carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere. Fortunately, carbon dioxide makes up only one percent of the Earth’s atmosphere; But on Mars, the figure is 96 percent. Human society is currently at odds with the same 1 percent carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere.
With a bit of condescension, we can say that the atmosphere of Mars is devoid of oxygen. Only 0.1 percent of Mars’ atmosphere is made up of oxygen, and that amount of oxygen is not enough for humans to breathe.
Astronauts’ clothing can provide the oxygen they need to breathe, But if the astronaut wanted to take off his clothes and live in the air of Mars, he would lose his life immediately. In such an unpleasant situation, which may even be annoying to imagine, the astronaut suffocates not only because of the lack of oxygen; Rather, due to the lack of atmospheric pressure on the surface of Mars, his blood will boil almost simultaneously.
Life without oxygen
So far, scientists have not been able to find any trace of life on Mars, and much of the research in this area has been limited to speculations about distant pasts with many amulets. However, the search for scientists has just begun, and we are at the beginning of a long research journey. It can say that robotic probes have only been able to scratch the surface of the Red Planet in a literal way, and there is still much to be explored.
There is no doubt that the nature of Mars is unusual for humans. It is not just a matter of air or concentration.
We have another big problem: there is very little liquid water on the surface of Mars. To all these problems, we must add that the weather on Mars is often cold, and at night, it drops to minus 73 degrees Celsius.
Many organisms on Earth can withstand harsh conditions. We have been able to find life in the Antarctic and at the deepest point of the oceans and miles below the Earth. Many of these areas have extremely high or low temperatures and are almost devoid of oxygen and water.
Even if life did not exist on Mars now, the situation might have been different billions of years ago. In the distant past, when Mars’s atmosphere was thicker, there was more oxygen, the atmosphere’s temperature was higher, and it found a large volume of liquid water on its surface.
One of the goals of the NASA mission to Mars is to search for signs of ancient life on the planet.
For this reason, this space robot is looking for fossils of organisms inside the rocks of Mars, Organisms such as Martian microbes, which most likely existed in ancient times and the early form of life.
NASA’s Perseversion Mars rover took this selfie on the 90th day of its mission.
Oxygen production on Mars
One propulsion equipment is called MOXIE, a fantastic device that collects carbon dioxide in the Martian atmosphere and converts it to oxygen. If the technology used in MOXIE works as scientists expect, future astronauts on Mars will not only be able to produce the oxygen they need; They can also use the oxygen produced as one of the constituents of rocket fuel for ground-back missions.
The more oxygen produced on Mars, the less oxygen will need to be transported from Earth to Mars, making travel to the Red Planet easier. However, even if oxygen is produced from the Martian atmosphere, Martian astronauts will still need their spacesuits.
NASA is currently working on new technologies to enable humans to travel to Mars. Human-crewed missions to Mars may begin ten years later, in the late 2030s. You may be one of the lucky ones to be selected to travel to Mars and take the first step on other planets.