Monday, April 11, 2016

Terraforming within the Solar System

Terraforming is transforming a place not suitable for life into a place where life is habitable. The process of terraforming can help advance human technology and the growth of the population. Mars is one of the prime candidates to terraform because of its being the most earth like. At one point, scientists think that Mars was a habitable place, like Earth is now, but over time and solar winds stripped away the atmosphere and made it what it is now. NASA however, think that there is a way to make Mars habitable again. The first part will be to try and make an atmosphere by releasing greenhouse gases, like chlorofluorocarbons, which contributes to the growth of the ozone layer on Earth. By doing this, heat will be trapped from the sun and the planet will begin to warm up. To release the chlorofluorocarbons, factories would need to be on the planet creating them from the air and soil. One factory on Mars would need the amount of power equivalent to a large nuclear power plant. Once the greenhouse gases are released the increasing temperatures would vaporize of some of the carbon dioxide in the polar cap, meaning that carbon dioxide would be released into the atmosphere. This would contribute to additional global warming, increasing the vaporizing of the polar cap until it is completely released. With higher temperatures now, ice will start melting providing the water that is necessary for supporting life. With the melting water, atmospheric pressure will also begin to rise enough to be habitable. The next steps will be stabilizing everything by planting trees and growing things that will create the cycle of the production of oxygen.

Another way of terraforming Mars is first change the increase atmospheric pressure and the air composition by importing ammonia, hydrocarbons, hydrogen, and using fluorine compounds. The next step will be to build up the water content by melting the ice from earlier asteroids. Then people would need to create artificial rain after heating up the planet to regulate everything. There are several ways to heat up the planet, the first one is to have orbiting space mirrors direct the heat from the sun onto the planet. Another way is the use nuclear weapons to create global warming and use the radiation to warm up the planet. Another way is to use fossil fuels on the planet. If massive factories were being run of the planet, carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases would be released into the atmosphere, similar to how factories on earth contribute to global warming. The last way to warm up Mars is by guiding asteroids to hit Mars. The next step would be to begin planting trees and wildlife on Mars by first importing synthetic microbes and genetically engineered seeds. After all of this, people can then begin to colonize Mars. And hopefully technology will be advanced enough so that people can get to Mars in a short amount of time and be able to build cities using 3d printers.
- Tommy Sha