let’s suppose that, from one moment to another, the amount of oxygen in Earth’s atmosphere was doubled, not taking the place of the nitrogen but getting more concentrated instead. this event would radically change the environment in which we live and almost all forms of life would be affected. Let’s see some consequences:
With all that extra air, the air pressure near the surface increases significantly. Gliders, parachutists, birds and paper-plane hobbyists enjoy greatly improved performance.
Oxygen-enriched air improves engine performance by producing hotter reactions and reducing the proportion of nitrogen, which reduces heat transfer.
Areas such as the high Himalayas or high Andes are no longer off-limits to animals without special adaptations to increase their levels of hemoglobin.
Many insects rely on gaseous diffusion to for respiration, therefore the maximum body size depends on the proportion of oxygen gas in the atmosphere. Most bugs get bigger, some smaller.
All that fresh oxygen improve our cognition, alertness, and physical performance. As a result, most athletic records would likely be broken by oxygen-enriched athletes.
Neutrophils, soldiers of the immune system, destroy bacteria by using NADP oxidase to pump ions into, and disrupt, intruding cell’s membranes causing rupture. More oxygen, more oxidase.
Free radicals (i.e. O2-) are thought to exacerbate the aging process through Oxidative stress, which interferes in numerous cellular processes: protein production, DNA replication, intercellular communication, and are also thought to contribute to MS, Alzheimers, Parkinsons, and a host of other ailments.
In another words, we would live a more active, enjoyable and healthier life, but this life will be shorter. What do you prefer if you could choose?
Fabio Evangelista is a Brazilian writer.
Crossed Paths is the first book of the Myra-Hati trilogy, an epic adventure in a post-apocalyptic world, for the lovers of sci-fi / fantasy genre. This is the author’s first work published in America.