Water, Nitrogen and Carbon Are Important to Life: Argumentative Essay

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In order for me to be able to build and sustain a colony on Mars I will need to find out the following things about Mars: Firstly I will need to find out what we have on Earth that helps us survive, Secondly I will need to find out what Mars doesn’t have that Earth does so that we are able to implement what Mars still needs for humans to survive and colonize on it. Finally, I will need to find ways of actually colonizing Mars using my findings

Using Earth as a benchmark

If we ever want to colonize Mars we first need to compare it to another planet that sustains life and see what that planet has that Mars doesn’t and what better planet to compare Mars to than our very own planet, Earth? Since Earth supports life and is able to sustain itself, it tells us immediately that Earth would be the best benchmark if we want a guidebook in colonizing other planets.

What are its structures and interactions?

Earth is a planet with a diameter of 12,756km and 1 moon. Its orbit distance is 149.6 million km and it takes an average of 365.2 days to rotate around the sun. Its surface temperature is between -88 to 58°C.

Biotic and Abiotic Factors

One of the reasons Earth is able to sustain life is because of its Biotic and Abiotic Factors which help each other sustain life in their ecosystems and ultimately the biosphere as a whole. They are able to do this with the help of the Biotic Factors of living organisms. These include:

  • Producers that convert the abiotic factors into food (example: Photosynthesis),
  • Consumers which obtain energy from producers or other consumers (this category mostly includes animals)
  • Decomposers which break down the chemicals produced by the producers and the consumers into simpler molecules (these help the plants grow).

They are also able to sustain life in the biosphere with the help of Abiotic non-living organisms which are needed for an organism or population to grow and reproduce. These non-living organisms include sunlight, water, temperature, pH, minerals, and events like volcanic eruptions and storms.

Importance of Nitrogen, Carbon and Water Cycles

A brief description of the Cycles

The Water Cycle works as water from the sea evaporates and goes into the air. Afterward, it condenses into a cloud, then floats away until it can’t keep the water in it anymore and it precipitates releasing all its water where it can end up back in the ocean, underground or it is sucked up into the plant to help it grow. Then the cycle then repeats itself.

Nitrogen, Carbon, and Water Cycles are extremely important for us and are essential if we want to survive. These cycles are the reasons plants are able to grow, herbivores and carnivores are able to survive, and why humans are able to harvest plants for food and use herbivores and carnivores for food as well.

The Water Cycle helps sustain life on Earth by water regulating the Earth's temperature if the Earth gets too hot/cold. It does this by freezing water to release heat into the atmosphere but on the other hand, it allows water to transpire taking the heat with it and cooling the air.

We also use water to help keep our plants alive and we also convert water into energy, which we then use to help us with our daily tasks.

Transporting nutrients into the soil and disposing of waste by raining to clear out whatever passes through the air and Earths soil water helps the plants stand straight up (without the water the plants won’t be strong enough to stand upright) drinking water helps us hydrate and stay alive

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Water helps us with our cooking, water also helps us with our washing to prevent contamination and illness,

The Carbon Cycle works as carbon is released into the air by fossil fuels, decomposing animals, or respiration which the plants then absorb to help themselves photosynthesize. Then afterward the animals eat the plants passing the carbon over to the animals and then the cycle repeats itself.

The Nitrogen Cycle works as Lightning or decomposing animals send nitrogen into the soil which the Nitrogen Fixing Bacteria then feeds the plant through the plant's roots. Then an animal comes over and eats the plant transferring the nitrogen from the plant to the animal. The cycle then repeats itself.

The Nitrogen/Carbon Cycles help sustain life on Earth by:

Nitrogen helps plants photosynthesize as Nitrogen is needed to create the plant's food which makes it healthier for us humans to eat, Carbon helps grow more productively as the Carbon fertilizes the plants giving them the nourishment and food that they need to grow and they also help the animals as when the animals eat the plants they absorb some nitrogen compounds that they then convert into protein. Both the Nitrogen and Carbon cycles are essential for the survival of all living creatures as it's important for the plants (which are our food source keeping all animals alive) to get the right amount of carbon/nitrogen if they want to grow. Animals are important as they help both these cycles flourish. The plants are the most affected by these cycles but the plants can’t have too much or too little of either carbon or nitrogen otherwise it will damage them (and might even kill them!). Nitrogen is one of the common limiting nutrients in nature (and is a reason why the Nitrogen Cycles are really important).

Requirements for life to exist (and when pushed to their extremes)

The main requirement for life to exist is water as it is necessary for many chemical reactions to happen. Water gives us the ability for chemicals to be transported through objects or just dissolved. We also need water in order for us to drink it and survive so we can water our food resources. If for some reason water is pushed to its extremes and we suddenly have an all-time low in fresh clean supply of water we will need to start finding water underneath the surface and start filtering out that. Other measurements will be required (like conserving water and using water for only important stuff) but our main concerns will be actually finding ways of making fresh clean supplies of water for us to drink.

Energy is definitely needed in order for life to exist. Energy, both in a light form and a chemical form key forms and is used to fuel the reactions that allow lifelike organisms to reproduce. We also must make sure that any planet we colonize has a protective atmosphere that keeps the cosmic radiation from the sun from bombarding us (like our ozone layer), while still keeping the colonized planet warm. It would be near impossible for us to push energy to its extreme and somehow run low on it but if we somehow managed to do that we would need to have prepared for that situation beforehand and start storing up on energy (in the forms of batteries). We would also need to try and find new ways for gathering energy and we will also need to conserve our energy for only emergencies (or if we need it to survive).

Food is also needed for life to exist so we humans can use the food to gain nutrients that will help us sustain ourselves. The atmosphere of a planet or moon can help us provide these. This planet or moon also needs to be able to replenish nutrients. This isn’t a problem for Earth as our planet has events like volcanic eruptions or storms that produce water and also fertilize the soil. If we start running low on food supplies we will need to first start rationing our food (we could start splitting up food between us or just only allow the public to buy a certain amount of food each day/week). Then if we start running even lower on the food we should tell everyone to start growing their own food and we should also tell farmers to start letting their live food stock live so that there is always a certain amount of each animal on each farm.

This is why we'll be looking for the planets with food (that gives us nutrients), energy (which makes our daily lives a whole lot easier), and water (which is the only thing we humans absolutely need in order to sustain life).

Information about Mars (how we get it with research and exploration)

Mars is a planet with a diameter of 6,805km and 2 moons, its orbit distance is 227.9 million km and it takes an average of 1.9 years to rotate around the sun and its surface temperature is around -63°C. We know that Mars’s waters are frozen (mostly), in the atmosphere (as vapor), or in its regolith (underground). We could use the water to transport nutrients and waste throughout the soil (we just need it to get into its liquid form first), we could convert the water into energy (it would be hard for Mars though) and most importantly we can use Mars’s water as drinking water (again when it’s in its liquid form) as most of Mars’s frozen water is fresh and clean. We know that there is not enough nitrogen on Mars to help plants grow (we will need to increase the amount of nitrogen there is in the atmosphere that is constantly releasing nitrogen) and we also know that there is too much Co2 for the plants to survive on Mars (too much Co2 will damage the plants). We know that the gravity on Mars is about 3.711 m/s² which is around 38 percent the gravity that Earth has and that Mars is smaller than the Earth so the gravitational forces won’t be as much as they are on Earth. This is confirmed when using a formula as the mass of Mars is 6.471 x 10^23 and the radius of Mars is 3389.5 km, therefore we get the result that Mars’ gravity is 3.711 m/s^2. This tells us that if you weighed 100 pounds on Earth you would only weigh about 38 pounds on Mars (it's good for the colonists if they want to lose weight! LOL). There are dust storms on Mars and the soil is able to support life if we give it a bit more nutrients. We have found out all this information by using telescopes to look at Mars’s surface and by using rovers like ‘Spirit’, ‘Curiosity’, and ‘Opportunity’ to send us pictures of Mars’s surface and send us samples like soil. We have also found out by probing the planet’s interior using ‘InSight’, NASA has already discovered that “marsquakes” shake the surface of Mars. Finally, NASA is using Several spacecraft to send data from Mars’s orbit for the same reason The United Arab Emirates is. The United Arab Emirates which Launched the spacecraft ‘Hope’ are using the spacecraft to orbit Mars so that it can study Mars’s atmosphere and weather patterns. We also have reason to believe that there might be other organisms living on Mars as we have some extremophiles on Earth that we have tested on that we believe should be able to survive the extreme conditions on Mars. Halophiles for example might be able to survive in the salty waters that are underneath Mars's surface. The salt waters under Mars’s surface can remain in a liquid form at temperatures below 0 degrees Celsius. Methanogens as another example might also be able to survive on Mars as they don’t need oxygen to survive. Some scientists even hypothesize that methanogens are the reason methane has been produced and detected in Mars's atmosphere. And my final example is Tardigrades as they can survive in the heat, the cold, moisture being drained out of them, withdrawal of oxygen, and intense radiation (like cosmic radiation). The little microorganism is even able to survive 10 days in space, showing us that the Tardigrade is the kind of creature that we could make life on Mars.

What Earth has that Mars doesn’t (And why we’ll need it on Mars)

Mars needs an atmosphere. Earth's atmosphere is extremely important as it keeps the oxygen in and it helps with the Water, Nitrogen, and Carbon Cycles. If we have no cycles then we have no plants and if we have no plants we have no chance of colonizing Mars. Mars has a lot of water on it but most of it’s frozen, so we’ll need a way of transforming the water from a solid form to a liquid form. Food is a must because as far as we can tell there is no food source on Mars. Even though we are able to bring food to mars we’ll need to be able to also grow the food so we can have a sustainable amount of food that we can consume, the problem with that is the fact that the soil is not able to support life to its fullest yet, so we’ll need to be able to nurture the land to a point where it’s able to successfully grow plants to its fullest. And finally, we’ll need a good amount of Biotic and Abiotic factors on Mars so that we are able to sustain the cycle between Biotic and Abiotic factors. Abiotic Factors shouldn’t be too much of a problem as we already have water, storms, and sunlight on Mars. But the Biotic factor is a bit harder. In order to introduce a good amount of biotic factors we’ll need to bring a lot of animals to Mars, this is a problem as we have no idea how animals will react on mars (whether it will damage them immensely or not). Once we finally know how we will implement all these features onto Mars then we can start colonizing it.

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