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Monday, October 10, 2005


Hardier Plants

Arabidopsis thaliana
Arabidopsis thaliana
Credit: TARGET
Scientists at University of Connecticut, Purdue University and Pennsylvania State University have shown a long-standing theory about plants to be wrong. Plants have 3 types of pumps inside their cells. Until recently, one of these, AVP1 H+-PPase, was thought to do very little except control pH. "Biology textbooks tell you there are three pumps inside a plant's cell but one is less important. Our research shows that is not the case," Gaxiola said. "As it turns out, that tiny pump is required to shuttle the master pump, the plant's major engine, to the plasma membrane. That, in turn, allows the master pump to facilitate the transport of more of the growth hormone, auxin, through the plant's plasma membrane and through the plant's root and shoot systems, resulting in enhanced cell division and growth." Using Arabidopsis thaliana as a test subject, they found that by increasing the "less important" pump the cells were more drought and salt resistant. Some of Gaxiola research with agricultural plants would seem to suggest that other plants would behave similarly. This could have astounding effects on the food available to travelers to Mars. By requiring less water and nutrients, the plants would be able to provide more for less.

(More info: Science Daily)


- posted by Jim @ 0:21 EST

(permanent link)

Sunday, October 16, 2005


MarsDrive Takes Off

MarsDrive logo.
MarsDrive logo.
Credit: Jason Archer
It's happened. MarsDrive has blossomed into something truly amazing. Frank Stratford has helped launch The MarsDrive Consortium, a web portal devoted to the organization that MarsDrive has become. With its own message board, task force, and contacts in different countries, MarsDrive is set to begin the massive task of coordinating a world-wide Mars colonization effort. Here is a part of their mission statement:

"Our mission is to raise enough public and corporate support which will in turn enable the full funding of a mission to Mars and the establishment of a permanent base there. Following a detailed and methodical step by step plan, and in partnership with many other participating groups, businesses and individuals, we envision a membership base numbering in the millions worldwide. Once established, this robust support base will ensure the viability of long term space exploration and settlement activities for the private sector. Securing for a wealthy corporate sponsor may result in a mission or two; however both the short and long term picture of our expansion into space will require a solution that is far more comprehensive to ensure steady, uninterrupted progress in human space settlement. Many other groups have developed numerous detailed plans on the actual mission components and base technologies, and instead of coming up with yet another new plan, we prefer to encourage people to study these already existing plans."

As you can see, MarsDrive hopes to bring together the major players in the global Mars-colonization scene and join hands to achieve our common goals. MarsDrive has helped Red Colony so much in the past, by attracting new contributors and visitors, and it will certainly continue to do so in the future. And in return, Red Colony pledges its full support to this cause. We share the MarsDrive vision of a Mars without politics, while sensibly, rationally, and entirely grasping our shared dream.


- posted by Alex @ 12:01 EST

(permanent link)

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