Mars Could Have Enough Molecular Oxygen to Support Life

Journal of Aircraft and Spacecraft Technology 2019, 3 (1): 11.23

13 Pages Posted: 10 Jul 2019

See all articles by Relly Victoria Petrescu

Relly Victoria Petrescu

Polytechnic University of Bucharest - ARoTMM-IFToMM

Date Written: July 9, 2019


There is a recently introduced study that proposes the idea of the possibility of salty water somewhere on the surface of the planet Mars or immediately near the surface but in the basement of the planet at a relatively small depth. The study illustrates the possibility of O2 oxygen dissolved in salt water, oxygen needed to support breathing oxygen, microbes and complex organisms, such as sponges. "Nobody has actually thought of Mars as a place where aerobic breathing would work because there is enough oxygen in the atmosphere in the Earth," said Vlada Stamenkovic, a planetary scientist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory who led the paper previously mentioned. "What we want to suggest is that it would be possible for this red planet that is so different from our Earth, although close, to have given a chance to aerobic life." As part of the report, Stamenkovic and his coauthors also wanted to identify the vast majority of Martian regions that could contain most of the salts with the highest amount of oxygen dissolved in them. This could help NASA and other space agencies to send out well-timed missions including the optimum place for amortization, they said. Planet Mars, as it now looks, is not what you consider to be a hospitable place for most earthlings. Here, on Earth, 21% of our atmosphere is made up of oxygen - because of the abundance of plants and other organisms that produce oxygen as a by-product of photosynthesis. Once, the amount of oxygen was much higher on Earth, the percentage at that time being at least 28-30%. The Martian atmosphere, on the other hand, is made up of 0.15% oxygen, according to data collected by specialists so far, so the chance that life will develop as on Earth with the current oxygen percentage is null. Without plants to produce O2, the small amount of oxygen on Mars is created when sunlight interacts with CO2 in the atmosphere of the planet. In addition, Mars' atmosphere is extremely thin - 160 times thinner than Earth's atmosphere. Such an atmosphere is not capable, as it is now to sustain life as we know it today on Earth. In addition, the surface temperature drops frequently to minus 100 degrees, making it extremely difficult to have liquid water on the surface of the planet. Liquid water will freeze or evaporate on Mars, but salty water or brine may remain liquid at or just beneath the surface of the planet, the authors said. This is due to the fact that the water mixed with salts has a lower frost temperature than the clean water.

Keywords: NASA, Water, Salt Water, Red Planet, Mars Lander, Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars

Suggested Citation

Petrescu, Relly Victoria, Mars Could Have Enough Molecular Oxygen to Support Life (July 9, 2019). Journal of Aircraft and Spacecraft Technology 2019, 3 (1): 11.23, Available at SSRN:

Relly Victoria Petrescu (Contact Author)

Polytechnic University of Bucharest - ARoTMM-IFToMM ( email )


Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics