A More Powerful Season


The skies over sMars have started to clear.

Spring has come at last to simulated Mars. You might be asking: what does that mean? Are the snows melting? Are soft green blades breaking through the bare, furrowed ground? Are flowers blooming and birds returning from their winter abodes somewhere on the other side of the equator?

Well… not so much. In a place where nothing grows from the ground outside, spring doesn’t herald change the ways that it does on, say, a planet with a powerful magnetic field, a thick atmosphere, large oceans, and abundant animal life. You know, all the comforts of home. Still, we Martians have a good reason to celebrate the change of season. Springtime on the fourth planet from the Sun has one important thing in common with the same time of year in the Northern hemisphere on the third planet: longer days and shorter nights. Martians may not have April showers and cherry blossoms, but we do get to soak up a few extra minutes of sunlight every day.

Light: Every little bit helps.

Light means a lot to us – both in space and on Earth. It powers almost all the organic life we’ve ever encountered (geothermal powers the remainder, with a few weird iron-eaters thrown in for good measure). Free of charge, the Sun beams its energy to plants in packets called photons. On the front end, plants store those photons in the form of electron-packed carbohydrates and starches, which we think of as food. On the back end, animals who munch on those plants churn out much-needed fertilizer, fueling things that grow. It’s the ultimate in recycling, and it all begins with the huge nuclear fireball that holds our Solar System together.

Energy packets take a few more minutes to get to —> Read More