Devon Island helps scientists prepare for Mars exploration • Earth.com

Last update: September 20th, 2020 at 4:00 pm

Today’s Image of the Day from NASA Earth Observatory features Devon Island in Canada, the largest uninhabited island in the world.

The harsh, desert climate on Devon Island is very similar to the conditions on Mars, providing scientists with an ideal setting to prepare for upcoming missions.

On the northeast coast of Devon Island, the Truelove Lowlands has a more hospitable, lush environment that hosts Arctic bluegrass.

Professor Eric Vaz of Ryerson University in Toronto thinks that someday certain hardy plants from Earth could be grown on Mars. 

“In fact, I think we will need to bring plants and think about terraforming if we are serious about having people live on Mars,” said Vaz.

While Professor Vaz does not expect to see Arctic bluegrass growing on Mars anytime soon, he is optimistic about the future.

“Looking outside of Earth opens up the idea that we must be a species going to different places to survive. We are travelers. We need to think outside of our confinement,” said Professor Vaz. 

“There are enormous technological challenges that will have to be addressed before bluegrass or any other plants will be grown on Mars, but the good news is that we already have incredible geospatial tools and databases of environmental data that we can start using today to start working on the problem.”

The image was captured in July 2020 by the Operational Land Imager (OLI) on Landsat 8.

By Chrissy Sexton, Earth.com Staff Writer

Image Credit: NASA Earth Observatory

 

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