Space Exploration: Could we grow trees on Mars?

With the issue of global warming becoming an ever present part of our society over the last decade, we have begun to consider where we relocate the human race when the earth ceases to exist. Scientists believe that we have less than thirty years to put an end to climate change and save our planet, but if that fails they have started to look at other planets to live on. The most likely candidate will be Mars, as recent discoveries show that it has ice which can be a source of water for the human race. Though it has water, it does not have the natural vegetation that earth offers and we as humans depend on for oxygen, so that begs the question- could we grow trees on mars?

 

First let’s look at what you actually need to grow trees. The basic things you would need would be soil, water and sunlight. Obviously you would need a seed to initiate the growing, but that is something that we can easily take with us to mars. As of right now there are no naturally growing plants on mars, due to the atmosphere not being right. That means we couldn’t just dig a hole somewhere on Mars and wait for a tree to grow because it just won’t work. Unlike on earth it also doesn’t rain on mars, so you would have no natural way to water the tree and with a limited water supply as it is, this could cause some issues.

 

A possible solution would be creating a greenhouse like dorm. This would allow us to create a small ecosystem with the natural cycle of photosynthesis. We could use UV heat lamps to mimic the sunlight of the sun and with the domed roof, the greenhouses would naturally condense and water the plants slightly for us. We would still need to water the trees, but not too frequently. Choosing which tree to grow could also be very useful for this as some trees require less water than others, like oak or pine trees.

 

Soil is also something that we would need in order to plant the vegetation and trees, we could bring some of that with us when we initially take voyage to Mars, but there are also ways of synthetically producing it, for example with cotton- we just need to prepare and have the correct resources. This is something that we can have prepared in anticipation for our relocation and should not be that much of an issue, though it may take up quite a bit of room in any craft we may use to travel.

 

The only issue with having to create domes for the trees is how much construction that may involve. You will understand the issues that will come with using domes if you have problems with overgrown trees yourself. We will have to either constantly expand the domes or continuously cut the trees down slightly, which may damage the trees.

 

So to conclude, we could not grow trees on mars without implementing our own technology

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