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Life on MarsWhat to Know Before We Go$
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David A. Weintraub

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780691209258

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: September 2021

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691209258.001.0001

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Chlorophyll, Lichens, and Algae

Chlorophyll, Lichens, and Algae

(p.117) 9 Chlorophyll, Lichens, and Algae
Life on Mars

David A. Weintraub

Princeton University Press

This chapter talks about Russian astronomer Gavriil Adrianovich Tikhov, who tried to prove that vegetation existed on Mars by looking for evidence of chlorophyll in the colors of Martian light. It details Tikhov's searches for chlorophyll that began as early as 1909. It also talks about Tikhov's use of homemade colored filters to find out if Mars has green surface patches just like how light is reflected from chlorophyll-containing vegetation on Earth. The chapter explains that chlorophyll molecules power photosynthesis by absorbing sunlight and transferring that solar energy to an electron that starts the process of converting water and carbon dioxide into sugar and oxygen. It discusses Tikhov's failure to find any evidence for green reflected light in his earliest observations for chlorophyll on Mars.

Keywords:   Gavriil Adrianovich Tikhov, vegetation, chlorophyll, Martian light, Mars, photosynthesis

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