Mars Habitation Project – part 1
Welcome to planet Mars!
Or at least a piece of it.
The soil turns red very fast, in less than a minute (pictures 2 and 3) when exposed to the Earths oxygen-rich atmosphere.
We don’t take any chances, when working with home brew extraterrestrial soil – so I’m all wrapped up in protective hazmat suit. Don no try this at home.
Update Jan. 2018: 5 months into the experiment, we’ve still failed to grow anything in the “Martian” soil. Even live plants dies within hrs or a couple of days.
Our next step is to dig deeper into the mystery, using a special microscope to observe live cells being exposed to the synthetic Martian soil. (The microscope is on its way to our lab and is expected to arrive next week from UK.)
By understanding how the chemicals affects living organisms at cellular level, we might find a solution for future expeditions to the red planet, to grow agricultural products needed for colonization.
Already after 1 day of experimentation, we’ve made several discoveries about the properties of Mars soil.
1. We thought the soil would be hydrophobic, given the facts that it consists of several metallic components – but it’s the way around! When we closed the container, the humidity level was about 55%
A little over 1 hr, the sensors showed 0% humidity. The soil is very hydrophilic. (Maybe the reason they find trails of water on Mars, but no liquids.)
2. The electric resistance is practically 0. The soil is highly conductive.
Since there’re storms on Mars, there should be lightning – and if it struck the ground, the pulse would travel very far and electrocute everything and everybody within miles radius.
It would also shortcut any electronic circuit, if exposed to the soil. (I’m gonna test it tomorrow by putting an unshielded Arduino inside the container.)
— UPDATE: The Arduino microcontroller died pretty much instantly when exposed to the soil. —
3. It’s irritating – just a small amount got out of the container and it’s still itching in my eyes when I go inside my workshop.
The part of my skin that was exposed to it, is also still itching, although I’ve washed it several times with soap, water and even ethyl alcohol – and pretty much instantly after being exposed.
4. Adding a small amount of LOX (Liquid Oxygen) to a small sample turned out to be explosive. The sample evaporated immediately after contact with LOX, in an intensive flash.
Any leakage of liquid Oxygen would be a catastrophic on planet Mars. Future astronauts – be careful.