Planting Pine trees on Mars??

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Gonzz







PostPosted: December 20, 2004 3:32 PM 

This article:

http://sic.sapo.pt/index.php?article=13057&visual=3&area_id=5

in a Portuguese TV channel web site is claiming that a group of NASA scientists along with a Mexican group from UNAM are studying the possibility of sometime in the future planting a special species of pine trees (that grows on the Orizaba Mountain in Mexico) on Mars.

This species of pine trees grows at 5000 meters altitude, in extreme cold and in an atmosphere which bears very low levels of oxygen. Apparently these trees serve as hosts to a particular species of bacteria that helps them survive in such harsh conditions (the article doesn't go so far as to explain what kind of exchange between tree and bacteria goes on, but hints that the bacteria are able to provide nutrients to the trees).

Anyone knows anything regarding this? The site is reliable, but is probably getting this news from a news agency or other news organization.

Apparently these trees survive in extreme cold and very low oxygen. There is one remaining problem though: very few water on Mars.

Does anyone suppose that if (big if) these trees could indeed survive the harsh conditions of mars and if (another big if) there was some liquid water beneath the surface of mars, available to the roots of these trees, we could have a pine tree on mars?? Shocked

I find it a bit hard to believe, but it sure would be nice

Halitosis


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Reply: 1



PostPosted: December 20, 2004 3:57 PM 

Even if these trees couldn't survive on Mars, it does raise the interesting question of whether we could bioengineer plants that would survive. It would be an easy way to terraform to planet, far easier than making giant machines and landing them on the planet. I suppose it might take longer, but once the biome really got going, it seems like it would happen pretty fast. The original species might end up killing themselves, but their sacrifice would not be in vain. Smile

This also reminds me of the game SimEarth, which had a scenario where you terraformed Mars, and guess what, you did it by planting evergreen trees (after tweaking various other factors first).. Fun game, if a bit limited and simplistic.

carla


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PostPosted: December 20, 2004 4:19 PM 

I think under the present conditions there
is no place on Mars where the trees can live.
But at current Mars axis inclination two
stable states of mars climate are possible.
The current low pressure and low temperature
state, and a higher pressure and much warmer
state, when the carbon dioxide from the polar
caps is released in the atmosphere.
The warmer climate state might allow
plant life in regions near the poles,
where in summer the sun is shining
all day and allows sustained
temperatures above freezing.
When there is sunlight plants
do not need oxygen,
they make it themselves.

Anonymous


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Reply: 3



PostPosted: December 20, 2004 7:43 PM 

Mars now is too cold. Those trees could not survive the winter and nightly termperatures.

Anonymous


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PostPosted: December 20, 2004 7:52 PM 

Trees roots need oxygen. Tree leaves expire oxygen, but couldn't produce enough oxygen locally, especially without containment, for the roots to use.

mario59


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Reply: 5



PostPosted: December 21, 2004 2:04 AM 

I'm not a specialist, so I ask:
Even some kind of fungus/lichens seed in (let's imagine in deep canyons); where the atmosphere is thicker, would die ?
I've seen lot of strange plants grow up everywhere, even in the worst places.
Ok, we are on the earth, but maybe some good experiment into simulated environement could help....
do anybody knows if there are some experiments around like this?
URL's accepted !

Rolling Eyes Smile

carla


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Reply: 6



PostPosted: December 21, 2004 4:15 AM 

There are trees on earth that could survive the
winter on mars, e.g. some larks from east
siberia.
The problem is that they also
need a summer, with average
temperatures 10K above freezing over
at least 2 months, and with
liquid water - that is what is missing at mars
under the present conditions.

Denmike


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Reply: 7



PostPosted: December 21, 2004 5:20 AM 

It is a misunderstanding that earth-trees could survive without oxygene, as they produce it themselves by solar-power. At sundown they will suffocate as they, like most other complex life-forms, need oxygen for the ungoing metabolism and arent able to store it for the dark hours.

carla


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Reply: 8



PostPosted: December 21, 2004 12:22 PM 

There is no sundown in Summer in the polar
regions, and in the rest of the year, it
is so cold that the metabolism of the trees
is at rest and does not need oxygen.

Mike


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Reply: 9



PostPosted: January 7, 2005 1:33 PM 

seems there are already trees on Mars!

[link]

youd be the judge

adam


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PostPosted: January 7, 2005 2:17 PM 

Eeeeh?

burningmoron


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PostPosted: January 7, 2005 3:19 PM 

well, they ain't dunes, and they ain't rocks.

that's for sure.

um3k


Posts: 53

Reply: 12



PostPosted: January 7, 2005 4:38 PM 

Maybe they're frozen CO2.

burningmoron


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Reply: 13



PostPosted: January 7, 2005 7:53 PM 

and maybe they are pine trees.

if it is feasible for multicellular beings to be watching "Oprah" on the 3rd rock from the sun, then I say...

Anything, and everything, is possible.

Why not pine trees on Mars..why not much more?

the default assumption should be life is omnipresent, not rare...who ever instilled such conditioning as is evident by the rockheads on this board is a criminal...perhaps religion..perhaps fear....

open your minds people, and you sight will focus...there is a brave new universe out there, and we are such a minute part.

They're Rocks


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Reply: 14



PostPosted: January 7, 2005 8:51 PM 

No, there can be no pine trees on Mars. The environment would not support them.

The default assumption, when confronted by rocks, is -- they are rocks.

As to the universe as a whole, there can be no default assumptions, because, with respect to life, we have a sample size of one: earth. Thus, there is no way to calculate the odds of whether life is common or rare. For all we know, it is equally likely that earth is the only planet in the entire universe with life, as it is that millions of planets harbor life.

We do know that life needs very special conditions, as the entire solar system, except for earth, appears to be sterile. So that argues against life being "omnipresent." Life is anything but. 99 percent of the universe is empty space.

QUOTE: "Criminal..."

Pathetic. Rolling Eyes

QUOTE: "Religion."

I'm an atheist. Twisted Evil

QUOTE: "Open your minds..."

Just don't let your brains fall out.

karl


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Reply: 15



PostPosted: January 7, 2005 10:48 PM 

I doubt the credibility of those who would start with a complex organism to colonize mars. Even if the trees could survive freezing, they would still desicate without a source of liquid water. When the ground freezes on earth, the plant above the surface dries out and can be killed. I also agree with the roots needing oxygen.

single cell life forms are the way to go for harsh environments.

Now before we go terra forming mars, we need to find out why the atmosphere and water disappeared previously.

Halitosis


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Reply: 16



PostPosted: January 7, 2005 11:05 PM 

We wouldn't need to literally use TREES.

Stan


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Reply: 17



PostPosted: January 8, 2005 9:45 AM 

They're Rocks

I "respectfullY" disagree with your statement "We do know that life needs very special conditions"

On Earth, we find life in sea vents with temperatures going up to 340c, under extreme depths of the sea with no sunlight and of course unimaginable pressure.
Certainly, on other planets (such as Mars) conditions milder than this are found.

Statistically, of course you are correct that we have a sample of one planet, but we have done quite a bit of exploration. We have found that there is a consistancy to the Universe in chemical composition. Physics remain constant.
Life absolutely abounds on our planet. It is incredibly hardy, and adaptable by its very nature. While it is statistically impossible to develop a margin of error given only one proven planet, It is not illogical to believe that life is common to the rest of the Universe.

Stan

blito3


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PostPosted: January 8, 2005 10:51 AM 

if you turn this arguement on its head...lets say the earth was only hospitable to a few of the extreme life forms on our planet. how would that be viewed from an aliens perspective. would
earth be declared devoid of life?

They're Rocks


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Reply: 19



PostPosted: January 8, 2005 4:31 PM 

Stan,

Certainly I don't think it's "illogical" to believe that life is common to the rest of the universe. I'm just saying, as you understand, that with a sample size of one, we can't make valid predictions.

Yes, the laws of physics hold universally, and the stuff that makes up life is spread throughout the universe. But "special conditions" indeed are needed for life to begin and thrive. Otherwise, life would have begun on the other worlds of our solar system, and adapted itself to unique conditions there. Apparently this has not happened. So while it's true that earth life is incredibly robust and versatile, this is the case only within the context of conditions found on Earth.

The immense size of the universe is no coincidence. Many scientists have pointed out that the universe must be as extensive as it is, both in space and time, for us to be here. This is known as an antrhopic condition. We should not expect to find intelligent life in a small universe, because the necessary heavy elements would not yet have been forged in the early generations of stars, which then exploded, seeding the universe with the "star stuff" that became us.

We need to consider the possibility that it takes a universe this large, and this old, to produce even one intelligent species -- which would be us. If there is life elsewhere, it might be microbial only, which in fact constitutes the majority of earth life even today, and constituted the totality of earth life prior to the relatively recent Cambrian explosion.

I think if you talk to biologists, you will find that most of them are skeptical about intelligent life elsewhere, and maybe only slightly less so about simpler life forms. Then, too (speaking now only of intelligence), there is Fermi's Paradox: Where are they? The Great Silence from the rest of the galaxy is puzzling, and perhaps telling.

Halitosis


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Reply: 20



PostPosted: January 8, 2005 9:51 PM 

Regarding the seeming 'silence' of the universe: We could simply be so far away from any other intelligent species that we haven't picked up their signals yet. Additionally, there is the question of how we would even recognize an alien transmission, unless it was specifically made to be very obvious. There is no reason why they would follow a format that we would readily recognize as anything except white noise. And I'd be amazed if a signal would reach us without being highly deteriorated..

And if we're so sure that some alien species would send out an obvious signal (prime numbers, whatever), then why aren't we? Will we, ever?

Regarding life in general, I think the universe would be much more interesting if life were prevalent, and since boring things are bad, I will believe that life is prevalent.

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