An active nitrogen cycle on Mars sufficient to support a subsurface biosphere

  title={An active nitrogen cycle on Mars sufficient to support a subsurface biosphere},
  author={C. S. Boxe and Kevin P. Hand and Kenneth H. Nealson and Yuk L. Yung and Alfonso Saiz‐Lopez},
  journal={International Journal of Astrobiology},
  pages={109 - 115}
Abstract Mars' total atmospheric nitrogen content is 0.2 mbar. One-dimensional (1D) photochemical simulations of Mars' atmosphere show that nitric acid (HNO3(g)), the most soluble nitrogen oxide, is the principal reservoir species for nitrogen in its lower atmosphere, which amounts to a steady-state value of 6×10−2 kg or 4 moles, conditions of severe nitrogen deficiency. Mars could, however, support ∼1015 kg of biomass (∼1 kg N m−2) from its current atmospheric nitrogen inventory. The… 

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