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What are the self-sustaining ecosystems that could be established on Mars?
I am not looking for ideas or hypothetical proposals. I have read several books (e.g., the Martian Voyage trilogy by C.S. Lewis) that explore what life on Mars might be like. It is generally assumed that Mars was once warm, wet, and relatively Earth-like, but that it has now become cold and dry (and probably covered with massive dust storms, etc.)
I have also read a few essays and blog posts that address the question of what life would be like on Mars (e.g., these two: and But, this is an old question, and I am wondering about the current state of Martian ecology.
What are the current self-sustaining ecosystems that can be established on Mars (or on the surface of any moon or planet)?
Edit: I am particularly interested in ecosystems that would be able to exist in the thin Martian atmosphere.
It’s possible to populate Mars with earth-like lifeforms.
The biggest problem is heating up the planet. In the beginning of Mars’ existence, a large quantity of water was present, which explains the high temperature of the planet. Water has a very important role to play. For Earth’s ecosystem to thrive, the planet needs to retain water on its surface. This would mean that Earth-like lifeforms would require a constant supply of water, otherwise they would die.
The other problem is that Mars does not have much land mass. The best place for land would be its moons, Phobos and Deimos. They are rocky, but not overly so. Phobos is about 5,000km across and Deimos is 3,000km across. This would mean that the only thing that would need to be transported to Mars is the necessary food for the Martian lifeforms.
However, the biggest problem would be the thin atmosphere. On earth, the average
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