Department/School

Biology

Date of this version

Fall 2017

Document Type

Paper

Keywords

astrobiology, cyanobacteria, Great Oxidation Event, Mars, terraforming

Abstract

Astrobiologists around the world are searching for a way to make the human race an interplanetary species in preparation for the eventual engulfment of Earth by the sun, or detriments of climate change. One method could be terraforming Mars through the creation of a second Great Oxidation Event (GOE). The GOE was the process by which Earth’s atmosphere became full of oxygen, likely caused by oxygen-respiring cyanobacteria. Scientists theorize that cyanobacteria could be used on Mars to create a similar effect. Due to the adaptability of cyanobacteria, scientists believe that cyanobacteria could feasibly survive on Mars, and eventually produce enough oxygen for humans to live. There are several issues on Mars, blocking cyanobacteria from survival, including temperature, and water and nitrogen availability. This paper details what astrobiologists know about the GOE, cyanobacteria, terraforming, and the research necessary to make Mars habitable for humans.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 License.

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