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Ags

Time to terraform Mars?

63 posts in this topic

I was watching a documentary about the odds of intelligent life surviving long enough to be detected by us, and got to thinking about the awful state of our planet, and how alarming many of its inhabitants and leaders seem to be. I finally decided Elon Musk is right and we need a backup of humanity on Mars. I think it's more important to preserve us than preserve the Martian microbes that may be there already. If they are there, the microbes are probably buried so deep and so well insulated from the surface, they wouldn't notice our arrival for thousands of years anyway.

Apparently the basic requirement for initial terraforming would be constructing a factory on Mars outputting about 500 tons of HFCs per day. That would lead to a greenhouse effect, the sublimation of the CO2 in the polar caps and so on... Of course, even after that the atmosphere would still be a virtual vacuum with a lethal CO2 partial pressure, but it would be a start! :icon_biggrin:

I wonder how much oxygen is locked up in the regolith perchlorates?

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I know we've touched on similar threads before; I am coming to the conclusion that it would be more sensible and practical to genetically 'Mars-form' human colonists to survive in the Martian conditions, than the other way round.

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Agnes, we need to get to the place first, bit of a problem for crewed flights at the minute.

Have to agree if humankind can survive the next 50-100 years Elon Musks' idea might come to fruition.

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We probably need to do both.

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Agnes, I feel that you are coming at this from the right way, and I'm with you.

But if your back up is of a flawed system, that backed-up system will crash again

... which would always give us the chance to trash yet more of the solar system, of course.

Sorry; is that just too cynical?

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Wouldn't the planet's core need to be melted again in order for it to keep an atmosphere for any extended period? AFAIK (I'm not a cosmologist/astrophysicist/etc) the molten core provides a magnetic field which protects the atmosphere being blown away by solar winds. So mars would be stuck with minimal air pressure (0.6% of earths?)

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28 minutes ago, Ags said:

I think it's more important to preserve us than preserve the Martian microbes that may be there already.

I don't wish to turn this into a political debate but that sort of thinking has created many disasters for the human race over the many centuries we have been exploring what is beyond our immediate environment. We have obliterated many species and many human societies simply through assuming that our needs are greater and more important than theirs.

We have a chance of saving this rock - I'd rather we did that than spread our failings to another :wink: 

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Not possible.

Mars is too small and has insufficent gravity, air would escape, so unable to get 1 atm pressure likely only a pressure at which we could not live.

No magnetic filed so the solar radiation would kill us.

There is insufficent water.

Light levels are too low for plant life.

Likely we could not manufacture much as so much of our manufacturing relies on this atmosphere we have. We use it to oxidise so many things.

The idea of "terraform" is an idea that is I suspect closer to Harry Potter, heck it didn't even work in Star Trek. Where is all this matter to come from, the Oxygen, the Nitrogen, the Water everything. Wher eis the additional gravity coming from to hold on to the atmosphere and water. It doesn't just appear at the press of a button - sorry Total Recall was not reality.

So far it has taken about 4 billion years to terraform this planet.

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I don't see humans ever departing this planet for another. The challenges and cost are just too great.

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29 minutes ago, ronin said:

Not possible.

Mars is too small and has insufficent gravity, air would escape, so unable to get 1 atm pressure likely only a pressure at which we could not live.

No magnetic filed so the solar radiation would kill us.

There is insufficent water.

Light levels are too low for plant life.

Likely we could not manufacture much as so much of our manufacturing relies on this atmosphere we have. We use it to oxidise so many things.

The idea of "terraform" is an idea that is I suspect closer to Harry Potter, heck it didn't even work in Star Trek. Where is all this matter to come from, the Oxygen, the Nitrogen, the Water everything. Wher eis the additional gravity coming from to hold on to the atmosphere and water. It doesn't just appear at the press of a button - sorry Total Recall was not reality.

So far it has taken about 4 billion years to terraform this planet.

We managed to terraform LV-426 in Aliens mind you we did "nuke the site for morbid" anyway.😁

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Sorry, but i will be long dead before i need to worry about these issues. Whilst i am still alive, i, of course will continue to do my bit to do my best for the planet be it recycling and creating the smallest carbon footprint.

We as the "great unwashed" can only do so much. Its up to powers above us to really make a difference.

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1 hour ago, ronin said:

Not possible.

Mars is too small and has insufficent gravity, air would escape, so unable to get 1 atm pressure likely only a pressure at which we could not live.

No magnetic filed so the solar radiation would kill us.

There is insufficent water.

Light levels are too low for plant life.

Likely we could not manufacture much as so much of our manufacturing relies on this atmosphere we have. We use it to oxidise so many things.

The idea of "terraform" is an idea that is I suspect closer to Harry Potter, heck it didn't even work in Star Trek. Where is all this matter to come from, the Oxygen, the Nitrogen, the Water everything. Wher eis the additional gravity coming from to hold on to the atmosphere and water. It doesn't just appear at the press of a button - sorry Total Recall was not reality.

So far it has taken about 4 billion years to terraform this planet.

Mars has sufficient gravity to hold on to an atmosphere, the problem is the lack of magnetic field leading to atmospheric erosion by the solar wind. This can be solved by engineering (latitudinal superconducting coils) and is obviously a big job but the task can be completed on a geological timescale. At a time when the solar wind was orders of magnitude more powerful, the young Mars held on to a thick atmosphere for a billion years.

No magnetic field does not mean we die from radiation. Earth received three times more radiation than Mars, and every 100,000 years Earth has no magnetic field during reversals.

Light levels are not too low for plant life. 33% illumination is sufficient for many plants in Earthly understories.

Manufacturing is not about oxidization, it's all about reduction...

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Never, ever going to happen.

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What are the chances for us to behave better on some other habitable rock anyways?

We are what we are.

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6 hours ago, Pondus said:

What are the chances for us to behave better on some other habitable rock anyways?

We are what we are.

So very very slim unless there is big changes in the way we think.

The time factor is perhaps the biggest issue. To build on Mars we'd have to ship billions of tons of building materials. Even if Mars has reasonable resources, you still need to ship materials to build the factory to process/refine the materials, machines to dig/lift, living space etc etc We'd go through generations here on earth before any improvements we're made if not more. Now, add in cost of such expeditions (who will pay?) and the ever revolving door of government/politics and it's just not very feasible at all.

We can't even get aid to a disaster zone quickly enough or make sure all 7 billion people have full bellies and clean water to drink...

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I think it would make more sense to colonize the Moon first so that you could produce the fuel for missions to Mars, as to teraforming Mars it has to be as easy as pushing the big button on the machine left behind by the previous occupants.

Alan 

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Posted (edited)

Considering how we're "terraforming" the Earth, the Martians would be in their rights to attack us if they caught wind we were coming to their world to do the same!

I'll get my hat...

Dave

 

596c5e0c393aa_MartianFighter-Craft.jpg.48aa69beda08c892b59bb839858de79b.jpg

 

Edited by Dave In Vermont
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Posted (edited)

Elon Musk does not include terraforming as part of his Mars vision... he leaves that to be decided by the Mars colonists. 

It's worth noting that there is enough dry ice at the Mars south Pole to double the atmospheric pressure (which is less impressive than it sounds). It also seems that Mars goes through cycles where that dry ice naturally sublimates. 

It's not quite true that Mars has a thin atmosphere. From a CO2 point of view Mars' atmosphere is very thick. On Earth the partial pressure of CO2 is 0.0004 bars, while on Mars the partial pressure of CO2 is more like 0.006 bars. In fact, if somehow the low Martian pressure did not kill you, the CO2 poisoning would!

Forcing the sublimation of the ice caps could have unintended consequences. Firstly Mars winds would be twice as strong - would that be an issue for inflated dome habitats? And how bad would those dust storms be with more air to kick them up? Terraforming might make the planet less friendly to colonists, not the reverse.

Edited by Ags

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This idea needs to be banished to the world of science fiction.

It is so far beyond our capabilities and so impractical that it is safe to say that it is impossible from a human point of view.

It's more likely that we will evolve into robots, then we can just float off into interstellar space!

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The key idea to accept is that we are not eternal. Our species will, like all the others, become extinct. Less than 200 years ago it was widely, almost universally, assumed that nature was ordered around us, that the planet was as it was in order to furnish us with our needs. Darwinism knocked this nonsense off its pedestal. However, our egos are still hard at it creating assorted fantasies about eternal humanity living elsewhere on space stations or terrafomed planets. It's all as daft as the pre-Darwinian notion that we were fundamentally different from the other animals. We are not. We are creatures of the Earth. We will die out. Does it matter? As Mark Twain said, 'I was dead for billions of years before being born and it didn't inconvenience me in the slightest.'

Technology is not the solution to our problem, it is our problem. It has helped our population to grow to an entirely unsustainable level and allowed us, with sublime irony, to de-terraform our own terrestrial environment.

Is this a gloomy view? Not in my view, provided you take care to adjust your ego according to reality!

Olly

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19 minutes ago, ollypenrice said:

Not in my view, provided you take care to adjust your ego according to reality!

Sounds like it's time for the "Total Perspective Vortex" ...

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Posted (edited)

10 minutes ago, AKB said:

Sounds like it's time for the "Total Perspective Vortex" ...

I had to look that up! Hmmm.

In perfectly normal perspective we have all that we need, I'd have thought. It's just called the vanishing point.

:icon_mrgreen:lly

Edited by ollypenrice
Typo
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13 minutes ago, AKB said:

Sounds like it's time for the "Total Perspective Vortex" ...

With some living in artificial reality it can backfire :D

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1 hour ago, ollypenrice said:

The key idea to accept is that we are not eternal. Our species will, like all the others, become extinct. Less than 200 years ago it was widely, almost universally, assumed that nature was ordered around us, that the planet was as it was in order to furnish us with our needs. Darwinism knocked this nonsense off its pedestal. However, our egos are still hard at it creating assorted fantasies about eternal humanity living elsewhere on space stations or terrafomed planets. It's all as daft as the pre-Darwinian notion that we were fundamentally different from the other animals. We are not. We are creatures of the Earth. We will die out. Does it matter? As Mark Twain said, 'I was dead for billions of years before being born and it didn't inconvenience me in the slightest.'

Technology is not the solution to our problem, it is our problem. It has helped our population to grow to an entirely unsustainable level and allowed us, with sublime irony, to de-terraform our own terrestrial environment.

Is this a gloomy view? Not in my view, provided you take care to adjust your ego according to reality!

Olly

Amen to that!

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I expect every advanced civilization is superseded by artificial machines eventually, technology being just a step in natural selection.

Alan

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