Terraforming — Can it make Mars or other planets liveable?

According to recent studies, Mars was once a habitable planet, just like Earth. The planet also had running water bodies and a strong, shielding magnetic field. Thus, it had support to form life on it. However, between 3–4 billion years ago, Mars lost its magnetic field. Due to this, the Sun’s solid and energetic particles penetrated the planet and turned Mars into a chilly desert. Scientists are researching the prospect of reversing nature’s effects and turning life into a habitual environment once again. Terraforming is a method that researchers are considering for converting Mars. This step is still under speculation due to the low availability of carbon dioxide on Mars. Nevertheless, due to the newfound interest of scientists in space exploration, Terraforming is gaining plenty of attention. Read on to find more about Terraforming and its applications.

What is Terraforming

There has been ample consideration behind finding a backup planet to exist in the last few decades. Terraforming is a science fiction technique that might make it simple. However, professionals can only imply this technique if there is an availability of the right technology. In standard terms, Terraforming entails converting a planet into a habitable place for humans. This includes altering the atmosphere, ecology, temperature, and surface topography to make it Earth-like. The term Terraforming came into existence due to a science fiction story called Collision Orbit. Science fiction has a plethora of examples where planets are altered to suit human life. One such instance is Farmer in the sky, a novel published in the 1950s. The story revolves around the planet Jupiter being developed for an agricultural establishment. Terraforming is explored as a severe issue in this novel rather than a matter of trivial fantasy.

Potential Planets

Apart from the Earth, Mars and Venus lie close to the Sun’s habitable energy. Moreover, in the solar system, many locations are pretty suitable for Terraforming. However, due to the runaway greenhouse effect on Venus, its atmosphere lacks the possibilities to allow the sustenance of life. The same lies with Mars — the lack of a magnetosphere takes away the chances to support life forms. Aside from these two planets, Jupiter’s and Saturn’s moons are speculated to have the viable atmosphere to sustain life. In addition, both locations have an abundance of water. Therefore, only there is a need to adjust the surface temperatures and the influx of buffer gases. Mercury and the Moon are also added to the list of possible Terraforming sites. However, these would require an alteration in their rotation as well, along with changing the surface.

Venus — Earth’s Twin

A myriad of engineering techniques has been explored to change the planet Venus. One of them is to seed the atmosphere with Algae, transforming its abundant water supplies and other essential gases into organic compounds. This technique would help in reducing the runaway greenhouse effect. Venus is the twin planet of Earth. Therefore, Terraforming Venus comes with different opportunities and positive outcomes. Nevertheless, the introduction of Algae to Venus’ atmosphere can fail as there is a high concentration of sulphuric acid in the clouds. Furthermore, the highly-dense clouds of carbon dioxide can result in a disadvantage due to circumstances of combustion and interference with the greenhouse effect. Another scenario is to remove the dense atmosphere of Venus. The technique is a more direct approach to thin an atmosphere far too thick for human control. By crashing the surface with giant comets or asteroids, few solid CO² clouds could be exploded into space.

Can Mars be Made Habitable

Mars is one of the most sought-after targets to be considered for Terraforming. The reasons being its similar previous habitable environment to the Earth. However, there are several challenges to make Mars habitable. Firstly, it is difficult to make the atmosphere breathable. On a small scale, there are chances to convert Mars’ carbon dioxide to oxygen. However, it is not feasible to carry out the same at a large scale. Due to this reason, many researchers recommend utilising different forms of life that were responsible for transforming Earth’s atmosphere. The idea is to introduce unique microorganisms on Mars responsible for photosynthesising in low light. These plants produce a breathable atmosphere for individuals. With the help of other organisms and a favourable mixture of gases, a complete life cycle could be made on Mars. Secondly, the real problem lies in fixing Mars’ magnetosphere. Without it, the Sun keeps stripping off the atmosphere of Mars. Thirdly, even a terraformed Mars would remain colder as compared to the Earth. Moreover, its air would be as thin and chilly as the Himalayas.

Megascale Engineering

Megascale engineering involves building constructions at least 1,000 km in length in one dimension. Few examples are the Dyson sphere, a space elevator, or Globus Cassus. This form of engineering is only obliquely transhumanist. However, it is still pertinent to build a long-term prospect of intellectual experience. Megascale engineering advances simultaneously with the flamboyant transhumanist revelation. The vision implies intelligent people scattering across the universe and ultimately moulding the universe’s very structure itself.

Artificial Sun

China has triumphantly executed the fundamental examination of its nuclear fission reactor, recognised as Artificial Sun. It generates a similar amount of energy as the process of the Sun. The Sun produces power through a nuclear fusion effect. The artificial Sun of China is a sustainable option that limits waste generation while making energy. The reactor creates a force by utilising sturdy magnetic fields to hydrogen for its compression. This process continues till the creation of a plasma. The plasma can attain temperatures greater than 150 million degrees Celsius. The temperature is ten times more heated than the Sun’s nucleus. It creates immense amounts of heat after the fusion of the atoms.

Is building an artificial planet possible?

For creating a habitable planet, conditions like breathable air, suitable temperature span, and specific gravity are essential. However, building an artificial world comes with challenges and difficulties. The Earth holds a mass of more than 2,000 asteroid belts. There are not sufficient asteroids in space to create a new world like Earth. Also, the cost of procuring the materials for the construction would be in millions. The only possible way to cut down the price is by getting the materials from low gravity places. Moreover, robots would have to carry out the work, as space-suited humans would take a millennium to complete the job. Terraforming things, in reality, can be quite a daunting task compared to working it out in theory or on paper

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