Can humans be able to breathe on Mars without spacesuits?

Friday, 22/12/2023, 18:37 (GMT+7)

Mars exploration and colonization pique scientists, space enthusiasts, and public interest, but the question arises about habitability: If humans breathe on Mars' air without spacesuits?

Humans have explored Mars for many years to handle the question of the possibility of breathing on Mars without spacesuits.

The Fact of Earth's Atmosphere

On Earth, oxygen is a crucial component of the air we breathe, taking up just approximately 21% of our atmosphere. 

While Nitrogen constitutes the majority of the remaining composition up to 78%. 

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Earth's air consists of approximately 21% oxygen and up to 78% nitrogen. Image Credit: Getty

The balance of these gases supports the respiratory needs of human beings and many other forms of life. 

However, the composition of the Martian atmosphere differs significantly from the Earth.

The Distinctive Air On Mars

The Martian atmosphere is characterized by its thinness, comprising only about 1% of Earth's atmospheric volume, which means 99% less air exists on Mars than there does on Earth.

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The Martian atmosphere is thin, comprising only about 1% of Earth's atmospheric volume. Image Credit: Getty

In reality, Mars has a smaller size and lower gravitational force, which allows atmospheric gases to escape into space more easily than on Earth, leading to Mars' great scarcity of air.

In addition, the predominant gas in the Martian atmosphere is carbon dioxide (CO2), accounting for a staggering 96% of the air composition. Otherwise, the percentage of oxygen in the Martian atmosphere is negligible, amounting to just one-tenth of one percent.

Can humans be able to breathe on Mars without spacesuits?

The lack of oxygen on Mars poses a significant challenge to human respiration.

As a result, humans will be immediately fatal if they try to breathe the Martian air without an amount of certain oxygen supply from spacesuits.

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Mars is unquestionably an extreme planet. Image Credit: Getty

In addition, the low atmospheric pressure on Mars would further affect the inhospitable conditions, leading to the boiling of bodily fluids and other adverse effects. 

Also, the surface of Mars has very little liquid water. The nighttime low is below -100 degrees Fahrenheit (-73 degrees Celsius), making the weather extremely frigid.

Mars Research Explores Signs Of Life: MOXIE Extracts Oxygen For Future Missions

Scientists are nonetheless fascinated by the prospect of life on Mars, both in the distant past and in the present, despite these hostile conditions.

There is no specific evidence of life has been found yet, ongoing research and exploration missions aim to uncover signs of ancient Martian life.

Innovative technologies, such as NASA's Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment (MOXIE), offer hope for future human missions to Mars.

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The research aims to uncover signs of life on Mars remains ongoing. Image Credit: Getty

MOXIE aims to extract oxygen from the Martian atmosphere by converting carbon dioxide, potentially enabling astronauts to produce their oxygen supply and reduce the reliance on resources transported from Earth. 

These advancements give hope for the eventual colonization of Mars, as the ability to generate oxygen locally would be a game-changer for sustaining human life on the planet.