I am currently researching the idea of growing spirulina algae on Mars for as a renewable source of oxygen, food and material. So the question arises: How feasible would it be to grow spirulina in an artificial habitat on Mars?
There are photosynthesizing organisms capable of growing on Mars !
Some places on Mars near the equator are low enough to have liquid water on the surface for a few hours.
Could one of them be Nostoc Commune ?
Photo taken by YAMAMAYA
Nostoc Commune is a species of cyanobacterium, so it produces oxygen, common names include star jelly and fah-tsai. It's a colonial species, forming a gelatinous mass with other colonies growing nearby and between the ordinary cells nitrogen-fixing cells occur.
It is found in many countries around the world and is able to survive in extreme conditions in polar regions and arid areas. The cells also contain pigments that absorb ultraviolet radiation which enables it to survive in places where high levels of radiation occur !
It produces extracellular polysaccharides that can be used for plastic production.
Nostoc Commune is eaten in east Asia.
I think algae are not suitable for Mars, in particular because of the dry conditions there and the ultraviolet radiation, but it well may be that Nostoc Cummune is suitable within the lower regions near the equator !
There are a few questions like this but I cant find one that addresses all the avenues of this question.
1) No known terrestrial photosynthesizing organism is capable of growing on Mars currently. This is because of the temperature and pressure of Mars as well as the fact that it's very dry. These aspects are important because, as far we know it, all photosynthesizing life forms require liquid water which would either freeze or vaporize on Mars. Thus seeding Mars with algae would do nothing.
2) If you meant raising algae in controlled environments on Mars that's a little different. It is possible but not necessarily feasible.
- Algae does not make for good human food.
- Algae requires a lot more water to productively grow than other plants.
- Algae harvesting and processing requires more equipment than other plants
- there are methods that can produce plastics from processing any organic matter
In short, there is a long list of plants better suited for these purposes than algae.