Cellular Mars Bio-bubbles

[One of my older speculations - feasibility unknown, slightly updated for posting]

Mars' atmosphere is severely lacking, from a human perspective.  Near vacuum pressure, mostly poisonous carbon dioxide and nearly lacking in free oxygen, unable to provide any decent radiation shielding.  Yet it's sufficient to support world-encompassing dust storms that can last long enough to be a major problem for any human colonists trying to use solar as an energy source.  If the atmospheric pressure could be increased and free oxygen added, humans might be able to go 'outside' on Mars with just warm clothing and a sort of artificial 'gill' to extract and concentrate the oxygen.

It seems reasonable to suspect that if Mars were given a denser and somewhat warmer atmosphere,  Mars soil might release frozen carbon dioxide and water to make the atmosphere even denser.

Synthetic biology has been making great strides over the past decade, closing in on the ability to create synthetic designer life forms.   So perhaps it will become possible to create cells that can survive and replicate on Mars.   Alternatively, we should eventually develop sufficiently capable molecular nanotechnology to create self-replicating nano-bots.  Though many have remarked on the potential dangers of such, the risk need not be much greater than unleashing a bio-based replicator on Mars.

So what if synthetic cells or nano-bots were programmed to eat atmospheric carbon dioxide and solar energy to form a graphene -based bubble colony organism to hold in atmosphere at higher than standard pressure and temperature.  Such bubbles might eventually grow to immense sizes - creating vast atmospheric cells as the growing bubbles bump into each other and constrain each others' growth.   If one layer of graphene is insufficient to contain an atmosphere anywhere near 1 Earth atmosphere, there could be multiple levels of bubbles within bubbles, each level of bubble with slightly higher pressure than the bubble containing it.  

As a bubble forms over an area, the warmer air would release more carbon dioxide and eventually water vapor into the atmosphere in a positive feedback loop.   As the colonies take carbon out of the atmosphere, free oxygen would be left behind.  The cellular structure of the new Mars atmosphere might make dust storms impossible - or at least much more limited in scope.

In such an environment, it seems likely that less robust, more conventional plants might be able to take hold on the surface of Mars, and human colonists could thrive.


Popular posts from this blog

Proposed Presidential Vision and Plan for NASA

Could a Minimum Income Cryptocurrency Nuke Bitcoin?