Scientists could have found the key to making Mars livable for terrestrial life forms, and that key would have the aerogel silica, a material that will stimulate global warming on the red planet, reports the study published in Nature Astronomy magazine.
According to the researchers, the main requirements for Mars to be habitable are more heat and protection against ultraviolet rays (UV). It is estimated that approximately additional atmospheric heat is needed approximately 50 degrees Celsius To heat the surface of the planet dry enough to allow water to remain in its potable form.
Scientists have identified that silica aerogel has the necessary properties to create a solid state greenhouse effect on the Red Planet.
The material is similar to a polystyrene foam that contains 99% air, which makes it a extremely lightweight He is also an expert on prevent the transmission of heat, This is why it is an excellent insulating material that is used for this purpose in all roots & # 39; Martians from NASA. In addition, being translucent, Aerogel lets you pass the visible light at the same time as it blocks radiation harmful to ultraviolet light.
"The silica aerogel is a promising material because its effect is passive," said planetary geologist Laura Kerber of the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, in a press release published in the EurekAlert magazine. "It would not require large amounts of energy or the maintenance of moving parts to keep an area warm for long periods of time," he added.
The researchers demonstrated that in order to increase the local temperature in the required 50 degrees Celsius one would need 2 or 3 centimeters of silica aerogel layer. This layer would allow water to remain liquid throughout the Martian year.
"A system to create small islands of habitability would allow us to transform Mars in a controlled and scalable way," summed up Kerber.
However, scientists admit that this idea is still far from being a reality and requires numerous studies and additional tests.
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