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NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts

Mars Ecopoiesis Test Bed

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

Ecopoiesis is the concept of initiating life in a new place; more precisely, the creation of an ecosystem capable of supporting life. It is the concept of initiating "terraforming" using physical, chemical and biological means including the introduction of ecosystem-building pioneer organisms. The proposed concept will be subjected to extensive laboratory testing directed toward the ultimate emplacement of a test bed on (in) the surface of Mars to test (demonstrate) the activity of pioneer organisms selected on the basis of research on earth. To achieve this a device is proposed to penetrate and surround a sample of Martian regolith at a carefully selected site likely to experience transients of liquid water, completely seal itself to avoid planetary contamination, release carefully selected earth organisms (extremophiles like certain cyanobacteria), sense the presence or absence of a metabolic product (like O2), and report to a Mars-orbiting relay satellite. This will be the first major leap from laboratory studies into the implementation of experimental (as opposed to analytical) planetary in-situ research of greatest interest to planetary biology, ecopoiesis and terraforming.

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Anticipated Benefits

Primary U.S. Work Locations and Key Partners

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Project Management

Project Duration

Technology Maturity (TRL)

Technology Areas

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