“Terraformation” Many people may not have heard the term yet, and those who know about it may have learned it through a science-fiction story or Wikipedia or a scientific book.
In recent years, this term is being used in an increasingly severe manner. And the reason behind this is people with a new curiosity in space exploration. Who thinks or believes that we can make other planets (Mars or Moon) similar to Earth and live there.
Terraformation is a science fiction concept that appears to be from Science fact. But despite all this, the question remains; What is terraforming? And how does it work? And how far are we from actually achieving it? If everything was possible, does Technology exist to terraform the entire planet?
Answering any or all of these questions will become a central issue for the future of humanity. But today, we will know a little about it and will also know whether Mars can be terraformed or not.
What is Terraforming?
Terraforming or Terraformation is a hypothetical process of engineering, any hostile environment, or any celestial body (planets, moons, asteroids, etc.) to be suitable for human life by modifying the temperature, atmosphere, surface topography, ecology to make a planet or moon’s environment similar to Earth’s climate.
This means the concept of making a planet more hospitable to humans. Or the “creation of a new world.”
Study on Terraforming.
The term was first coined by an American science fiction writer, Jack Williamson, also known as the “Dean of Science Fiction.” The term appeared as part of a science-fiction story called “Collision Orbit,” published in the 1942 edition of the magazine Astounding Science Fiction.
After this, astronomer Carl Sagan proposed the engineering of the planet Venus in an article published in 1961 in the journal Science. Sagan envisioned Venus’s atmosphere with algae, which would convert water, nitrogen, and carbon dioxide into organic compounds.
However, later discoveries concerning conditions on Venus made this apparent method unimaginable.
Later, Sagan envisaged making Mars habitable for human life in an article published in the magazine “Planet Engineering on Mars” in 1973, where he proposed two scenarios for transforming Mars. These include transporting less albedo material or planting dark plants on the polar ice cap to ensure that it absorbs more heat, melts, and turns the planet into an “Earth-like state.”
Three years later, In 1976, in a study, NASA officially addressed planetary engineering. The study concluded that it is possible to support life on Mars and can be made into a habitable planet. The first conference session on terraforming, called “Planetary Modeling,” was held that same year.
In March 1979, NASA engineer and author James Oberg held a special session, the First Terraforming Colloquium, at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in Houston.
In 1984, James Lovelock and Michael Allaby published The Greening of Mars. Lovelock’s book was one of the first to describe a novel method of warming Mars, where chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) are added to the atmosphere.
How does terraforming works?
Like agriculture, Terraformation requires a significant amount of time and effort to achieve results. The ideal goal of terraforming would be to create an aerobic environment that can naturally sustain the life of plants, animals, and humans and requires minimum earthly materials, such as machinery, Technology, and other items supplied from the Earth.
The first step of Terraformation involves developing a stable, sustainable ecosystem, a process known as “Ecopoiesis.” Ecopoiesis refers to the origin of an ecosystem. In space exploration, Haynes describes Ecopoiesis as the “fabrication of a sustainable ecosystem on a currently lifeless, sterile planet.”
Fogg defines Ecopoiesis as a type of planetary engineering and is one of the first stages of terraforming. This primary stage of ecosystem formation is usually limited to the early seeding of microbial life.
Ecopoiesis alone will not suffice to create an environment in which humans or animals can survive from the outside, so terraforming must be used in conjunction with the process of Ecopoiesis to create a stable, earth-like environment.
These are some steps that must be taken before the procedures of Ecopoiesis, and as a result, Terraformation can be attempted/completed. The steps are as follows:
- Presence of liquid water
- The temperature should be able to support life.
- A reduction of UV and cosmic radiation.
- Need an energy source for life.
- An increase in atmospheric mass.
- The surface must meet the geophysical, geochemical, and astronomical criteria.
- Changes in atmospheric composition to increase oxygen and nitrogen.
Once the situation becomes more suitable for the species’ life, the importation of microorganisms can begin. As conditions come closer to the Earth, plant life can also be brought. This will accelerate the production of oxygen, which would theoretically enable the planet to support animal life.
Prospective Candidate for Terraforming.
Here are some examples of the most likely candidates for terraforming in our solar system, depending on the Earth’s atmosphere.
Within the solar system, many more planets and moons exist that may be well suited to terraforming. But apart from Earth, only Venus and Mars are located within the Sun’s habitable zone (aka “Goldilocks Zone”). However, due to Venus’ fugitive greenhouse effect and Mars’ lack of a magnetosphere, their atmospheres are either too thick and hot or too thin and cold to sustain life.
There is even speculation that Mercury and the Moon (or at least some parts) could be terraformed for human settlement. Terraforming the moon will be possible because we have so much evidence and information about the moon’s environment, and we can do it in future years.
Not only Mars and Venus but our bodies of another celestial solar system that can be terraformed. Some of them are the moons of Jupiter (Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto), and Saturn’s moon (Titan) is also on the list, which has an abundance of ice water. Scientists have speculated that if the surface temperature rises, the viable atmosphere will be created through electrolysis and the introduction of buffer gases.
Can Mars be Terraformed?
When it comes to terraforming, Mars is the most popular destination. The reason for choosing Mars is, without any doubt, that Mars is the most like Earth in the Solar System. The same rotational cycle and tilt angle (25.19° compared to Earth’s 23°) result in approximately the same day length (24 hours and 40 minutes) and seasons. And the presence of ice water under the planet’s crust and on the frozen North Polar Cap will solve the problem of water on Mars.
Of course, mars can be terraformed, that doesn’t mean that terraforming Mars would be easy. The planet, about 70% the size of Earth, has an atmosphere of mostly carbon dioxide and boasts an average temperature of -81 degrees Fahrenheit (-62 degrees Celsius). Because the atmosphere is so thin (Earth’s is more than 100 times denser), the atmosphere would have to be much thicker, and its structure would have to change. Above all, Mars lacks a magnetosphere, meaning that its surface receives significantly more radiation than Earth.
Most notable of these are the depletion of the oceans, the thin Martian atmosphere, and the planet’s surface’s friction temperatures. Luckily these problems are not infallible. Scientists have proposed a range of different terraforming options by which these barriers can be overcome.
How to Terraform mars?
At first, use large space mirrors to reflect sunlight on the barren surface of Mars. By focusing on the heat and radiation of the Sun in the Martian polar caps, these giant solar mirrors can radically raise the temperature, resulting in the release of frozen water and carbon dioxide at the planet’s extremities.
Then, prolonged warming of the planetary crust will eventually contribute to the release of greenhouse gases, such as chlorofluorocarbons, which will thicken the Martian atmosphere, thereby maintaining more significant amounts of solar radiation and rising surface temperatures further.
Also, factories will produce oxygen by mixing carbon dioxide and undergoing artificial photosynthesis, delivering oxygen to humans’ atmosphere and breathing. It is theorized that bombarding the terrestrial planet with icy, ammonia-laden asteroids would generate vast warmth and saturation.
Mars’s higher ambiance with greenhouse gasses and water vapor burned off the asteroids within the entry course.
Scientists believe that by using these methods, Mars’ atmosphere can be restored. However, the question of which way would be most effective is still being debated.
Challenges in Terraformation.
Finally, after knowing all the things, we have to see what the problem is
- Mars Terraforming is not Possible by Using current Technology.
- It requires extensive connectivity of resources.
- Take a long time for this around more than 50 years.
- Lack of Fund or investment by space agencies.
- There is not enough CO2 remaining on Mars to provide significant greenhouse warming.
After all the discussions, we are once again left with an important question. Why should we? Is it just because the Earth is getting smaller for us? It’s not right, we are human beings, and our work is to learn something new. Mars is there, so we want to go there and learn something from there.
If this happens, then it will be the most significant achievement for humans.
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