SpaceX is getting ready to go in a few short years and NASA’s moon missions have been regarded as a stepping stone into the reddish planet, however the cold, hard fact is this: Mars wants to kill one. Its gravity is detrimental to muscles and bones, it provides little protection from radiation plus it’s incredibly cold. If individuals wish to colonize Mars, they will have to come up with specific ways to survive there.

Enter”frozen smoke” An international team of scientists is suggesting using silica aerogel, sometimes dubbed suspended smoke because of its physical look, to heat up the top of their reddish planet enough to support life and melt frozen water. The aerogel is a remarkably light weight material already being fabricated on Earth and is now used in NASA’s Mars rovers as insulating material.

The analysis, published Monday in the journal Nature Astronomy, essentially generated Mars-in-a-box, mimicking the light which hits our planet’s surface in the lab and setting a level of aerogel, roughly an inch thick, across the surface.

“We used a customized solar simulator to replicate the spectrum and intensity of the sunlight falling on the Martian surface,” said Robin Wordsworth, first author on the study. Wordsworth and his coworkers subsequently measured the temperatures and also how much UV radiation passed through the aerogel.

He said that the experiments were envisioned because existing thoughts to alter Mars’ environment on a global scale seem”very hard to achieve.” Instead, the team desired to reproduce that the results of Earth’s atmosphere on the remote planet on a much lesser scale.

“Earth’s atmosphere raises surface temperatures through the greenhouse effect, also blocks UV radiation via the ozone layer,” he said. “Any solution to habitability on Mars must do both of these things, being a minimum.”

They discovered that the thin layer of aerogel, that looks like a cloud that was suspended, did just that. It may block UV radiation but allow enough visible light to pass through to heat the surface of Mars over the melting point of water. Even the aerogel tiles were able to increase the temperatures up to 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit).

To complement the lab function, the team ran computer simulations of how the aerogel protector would fare if placed over Martian ice deposits. Their results showed that”earth like temperatures” including 32 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit could possibly be achieved through nearly the complete Martian year, which can ensure liquid water was open to anybody at the very surface.

Maybe not exactly. The team highlights when Mars is to be made in the future, there are philosophical and ethical questions which require serious mulling over, particularly when Mars still contains lifetime today. If we were to begin transporting humans as well as inevitably, microorganisms from Earth to Mars, those poisonous species could threaten life already present on the planet. We have no idea yet that Mars now supports any lifetime, however it’s been proposed as an answer to a number of Mars’ suffering puzzles. The authors observe that establishing a more self indulgent strategy as described within the newspaper wouldn’t support life outside of the aerogel-shielded regions.

Wordsworth said he intends to conduct longer lab experiments to”explore a greater variety of Mars environmental constraints,” in addition to continuing the laptop simulation work. Fieldwork is also planned using Mars-like internet websites here on Earth, where the researchers could venture outside and test their aerogel protects in the surroundings.