Terraforming Mars

  • B
  • Thread starter Gear300
  • Start date
  • #1
1,179
5
What are NASA's or any other space agency's current plans at terraforming Mars? I know we have a sequence of rover missions lined up, but are they aimed at anywhere? Before heading to college, I came to the conclusion that Mars ultimately lacked provenance because it had oddly shaped moons. Jupiter seems a more likely candidate for hidden alien tech. So as far as Mars goes, I mostly measure any interest in the planet by whether or not we can terraform it, and we may as well leave tilling its soil and atmosphere to robots. But how long would such an endeavor take given our current means?
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
BillTre
Science Advisor
Gold Member
1,547
3,427
I don't think NASA has any real plans for this.
Elon Musk might. He is probably among those most adament about colonizing Mars.

Among current limitations of the Martian environment, with respect to hosting earth based life, would probably include:
  • very thin atmosphere
  • Surface UV irradiation (no ozone layer to block it), breaking down exposed organic molecules (resulting in life underground?)
  • Peroxide laden soil

There could well be some bizarre earth microbes (and maybe things like lichens and tardigrades) that could survive in some of these conditions, but they would probably not be the basis for a thriving economy based on a biology that could capture a significant amount of solar energy (for biological production and use by a civilization).

My conception of a successful Mars terraforming would involve chemical changing of the listed conditions across the planet. Perhaps just focused on smaller more optimal areas (like the depressed Hallas Basin where there is more atmosphere due to its being some much lover in altitude).
Not a small effort.
This would make more a terra-like environment to be more productive for people.
The biological energy input has to be able to meet the society's needs.

I think the goals of the rovers is to gather information about the possible existence of Martian life, not so much how to transform Mars.

What's wrong with Mars' oddly shaped moons?
 
  • Like
Likes Klystron
  • #3
1,179
5
Ah, thanks for the info.

What's wrong with Mars' oddly shaped moons?
They're oddly shaped. I felt that was atypical of most planetary histories. Not to mention, I feel a good moon should be able to intimate roundness.
 
  • #4
PeroK
Science Advisor
Homework Helper
Insights Author
Gold Member
14,343
6,714
What are NASA's or any other space agency's current plans at terraforming Mars?
Terraforming Mars is a technical impossibility for the foreseeable future. We do not even have the technology to control climate change on Earth.
 
  • Like
Likes 2milehi, BillTre, Klystron and 1 other person
  • #5
1,895
332
What are NASA's or any other space agency's current plans at terraforming Mars?
NASA and any other space agency I know of have a planetary protection policy. Therefore they must not have any plans for terraformation. And even if they would plan to violate their own rules in this extend they wouldn't be able to do it.

I know we have a sequence of rover missions lined up, but are they aimed at anywhere?
They are aimed at scientific research.

Jupiter seems a more likely candidate for hidden alien tech.
Are you talking about black monoliths?

So as far as Mars goes, I mostly measure any interest in the planet by whether or not we can terraform it, and we may as well leave tilling its soil and atmosphere to robots. But how long would such an endeavor take given our current means?
Much longer than humans are able to plan ahead.
 
  • Like
Likes BillTre
  • #6
1,179
5
Hmm, well I guess this thread does well in explaining the challenges to terraforming the planet. At the end of the day, it might be more imaginative than practical.

At the very least, I know why we would be reluctant in doing things like locking Mars's orbit with Earth's to make interplanetary travel between the two easier. That would likely move Earth out of its goldilocks position.

Past that, I was wondering if sending probes the way we do now is efficient or not. What if, for example, we had a satellite grid on the planet from which we could forward missions to the planet? Stuff like that.
 
  • Skeptical
Likes BillTre and weirdoguy
  • #7
PeroK
Science Advisor
Homework Helper
Insights Author
Gold Member
14,343
6,714
Hmm, well I guess this thread does well in explaining the challenges to terraforming the planet. At the end of the day, it might be more imaginative than practical.
At the very least, I know why we would be reluctant in doing things like locking Mars's orbit with Earth's to make interplanetary travel between the two easier. That would likely move Earth out of its goldilocks position.
Past that, I was wondering if sending probes the way we do now is efficient or not. What if, for example, we had a satellite grid on the planet from which we could forward missions to the planet? Stuff like that.
This is science fiction and fantasy.
 
  • #8
240
124
How would we even be able to lock Mars's orbit into earth's? The further away things are from what they are orbiting (in this case the Sun,) determines the length of the orbit. Without somehow "moving" Mars into the same orbit as Earth's this is a non starter.
 
  • #9
PeroK
Science Advisor
Homework Helper
Insights Author
Gold Member
14,343
6,714
How would we even be able to lock Mars's orbit into earth's? The further away things are from what they are orbiting (in this case the Sun,) determines the length of the orbit. Without somehow "moving" Mars into the same orbit as Earth's this is a non starter.
You could fit Mars with an Orbital Enhancer, which will be available from Musk Enterprises circa 2075.
 
  • Haha
Likes MikeeMiracle
  • #10
Vanadium 50
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Education Advisor
2019 Award
25,119
8,233
I know why we would be reluctant in doing things like locking Mars's orbit with Earth's
If we had the technology to move planets around, why bother with terraforming?
 
  • #11
502
195
It's definitely worthwhile to gather and use the data coming back from the Red Planet to research possibilities towards making the place more hospitable. But, actually doing so - or even being capable of same - isn't going to be anytime soon.

Currently, my vote would be doing something on Phobos : it may be out of round (which is actually an advantage IMHO), but it circles the planet once a day'ish, so a good spot for a telescopic microscope, and a decent rest stop, regardless.

As far as "alien tech" is concerned, one would assume that - since planets of all major types are pretty common - extrasolar entities would be almost entirely solely interested in planets similar to their homeworld ; what makes you think they came from a gas giant ?

Regardless, speculative fiction at best. Cheers, see you in the Sci-Fi/Fantasy forum.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Likes BillTre
  • #12
stefan r
Science Advisor
853
259
If we had the technology to move planets around, why bother with terraforming?
How would we even be able to lock Mars's orbit into earth's? The further away things are from what they are orbiting (in this case the Sun,) determines the length of the orbit. Without somehow "moving" Mars into the same orbit as Earth's this is a non starter.
https://arxiv.org/pdf/astro-ph/0102126.pdf

Paper describes a process for moving Earth to maintain an orbit in the habitable zone as the Sun heats up. You can plug in higher numbers for the mass of the object, the frequency of flybys, or use multiple objects. So we can move a planet at a more rapid pace.
 
  • #13
Buzz Bloom
Gold Member
2,263
392
Paper describes a process for moving Earth to maintain an orbit in the habitable zone as the Sun heats up. You can plug in higher numbers for the mass of the object, the frequency of flybys, or use multiple objects. So we can move a planet at a more rapid pace.
Hi Stephan:

I found the reference you cited to be a quite interesting speculation about what humans might need to be able to do within a billion years from now. The following is from the top of page 2 of the article.
Although the Earth’s ecosystem will be seriously compromised within a billion years,. . .​
On the other hand, there seem to me to be much more urgent issues for humans to cope with in order to maybe survive that long. Here are two examples.
1. Dealing with global warming from human caused climate change​
2. Avoiding thermonuclear war​

Regards,
Buzz
 
  • Like
Likes BillTre
  • #14
davenn
Science Advisor
Gold Member
2019 Award
9,287
7,748
They're oddly shaped. I felt that was atypical of most planetary histories. Not to mention, I feel a good moon should be able to intimate roundness.
That's because they are thought to be captured asteroids, hence the irregular shapes
 
  • #15
107
29
Kim Stanley Robinson wrote a pretty good yawn on this theme. I mean his trilogy Red, Green and Blue Mars. Even without Mr Robinson's usual pessimism and badly disguised political agenda it's still an enormous undertaking. I don't think humanity is anywhere near being able to execute such a sisophyan task.

Political agenda aside the book is still a good read.
Regards,
Søren
 

Related Threads on Terraforming Mars

  • Last Post
Replies
10
Views
3K
  • Last Post
Replies
16
Views
6K
  • Last Post
Replies
14
Views
2K
  • Last Post
3
Replies
65
Views
22K
  • Last Post
4
Replies
80
Views
15K
  • Last Post
3
Replies
57
Views
7K
  • Last Post
3
Replies
71
Views
7K
  • Last Post
Replies
15
Views
5K
Replies
10
Views
4K
Replies
32
Views
2K
Top