Can you breathe the air on Mars?

There is 99% less air on Mars than on Earth. Is it possible to live on the Red Planet?


Suppose you are an astronaut who has just landed on the planet Mars . What would you need to survive?

Here’s a short list to get you started: water, food, shelter… and oxygen.

Oxygen is in the air we breathe here on Earth. Plants and some types of bacteria provide it to us.

But oxygen is not the only gas in the Earth’s atmosphere. It is not even the most abundant. In fact, only 21% of our air is made up of oxygen. Almost all the rest is nitrogen, about 78%.

Now you may be wondering: if there is more nitrogen in the air, why do we breathe oxygen?

Here’s how it works: technically, when we breathe, we take in everything in the atmosphere. But our body only uses oxygen; the rest we eliminate when exhaling.