London Becomes a National Park City and Plants on Mars

Published on July 16th 2019
A view of London from St James Park, including the London Eye
Next Monday, London will be confirmed as the world's first National Park City by The National Park City Foundation (NPCF), at a City Hall Summit hosted by Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London.
At the summit, organisations and individuals will sign a London National Park City Charter - a pledge to make the capital wilder, greener and healthier.
According to their website, 'Just like in a rural National Park, a National Park City consists of a landscape as well as a vision, partnership and a community of people working together to look after and improve it.'
London’s new status comes during a week-long National Park City Festival of free celebratory events, helping people enjoy and engage with the great outdoors in London. Organised in partnership with the Mayor of London, more than 300 events are being run by organisations, community groups and businesses across the capital.
Daniel Raven-Ellison, who started the campaign to make London a National Park City six years ago, said:
'Inspired by the aims and values of our precious rural national parks, the London National Park City is fundamentally about making life better in the capital through both small everyday things and long-term strategic thinking.
'Everybody can benefit and contribute every day by starting to think of the place they live as part of the National Park City and doing simple things like making a balcony or garden better for nature, walking more or going kayaking on the Thames.'
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Plants on Mars

A plant coming up through red rocky ground
Scientists may have discovered a simple way to allow plant life to exist on the surface of Mars.
A new paper published in Nature Astrology has reported that the surface of Mars could be insulated using a thin layer of silica aerogel, allowing liquid water to exist and providing protection from harmful rays from the sun.
A 2-3 cm layer could increase the underlying temperature by up to 50 °C, preventing water from freezing. It also transmits visible light, allowing photosynthesis while absorbing UV wavelengths.
This could allow life to develop on Mars without planetary-scale modifications, but the authors stress that further research is needed into the astrobiological risks of using the material on Mars.
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