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#1 2019-10-24 11:27:33

From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 5,854

The Case for Terrasimilitude.

I am sure nearly all of us here are fans of ultimate terraformation. I certainly am, but I also realise the horrendously huge magnitude of the task - it will be the greatest engineering project of all time, involving trillions of tons of material.  It can be done but only slowly and with massive expenditure of energy and materials.

Moreover, we don't know yet know whether we will find life on Mars. If we do, then that is going raise all sorts of ethical issues about terraformation. Even if it's just past life but there are millions of fossils to be found and examined, then there is a question mark over how ethical it is to wipe that record out with planetary terrformation.

So, I feel the initial focus should really be on paraterraformation.  I'm never really liked the word - perhaps terrasimilitude would be better.

I think we could create a welcoming world on Mars if we gradually create ELEs (earth-like environments) on Mars. There are number of possibilities:-

1.  We can create artificial gorges, or exploit natural ones to create large ELE's with many miles of trails at various levels of the gorge(s). The gorges can be filled with plants from Earth.  Running water can flow down hillsides create waterfalls. Caves can be dug into the sides of the gorge.  The top of the gorge can be glassed over, to allow in natural light but light can be supplemented by artificial light powered by external PV arrays.

Gorges can be interconnected by tunnels. So you might have one gorge 50 metres high, 300 metres long, with side caves then a 100 metre tunnel with a double air lock connects to another gorge. Eventually you might have 20 gorges connected in a circle with maybe 50 kms of bike and walking trails.

The gorge network would allow for exercise and recreational opportunities.

2.  Domes - the traditional habitat of Mars!  We have domes on Earth that span over 300 metres...maybe on Mars with 0.38 G we might be able to span even larger distances although the need to pressurise against a near vacuum will mean the structure needs to be heavier.

Some domes will be recreational...perhaps some will be like combinations of zoos and botanical gardens on Earth. There may be lake domes where you can go boating or sailing (a breeze providing by inhouse wind machines).  Again, as with gorges, domes can be linked.

Perhaps you could have a canal linking three or four large domes.

Another dome might offer you the chance to go skiiing - just like you can go skiing in Dubai... … k=haqw0x9J

3.  Viewing platforms - Aresians will need to limit their exposure to radiation on Mars but I think there will be scope for covered viewing platforms where people can enjoy panoramic views over the Mars landscape as well as Martian sunsets.

4.  Bike ways - Maybe there would be scope for open air exercise as well. I'm thinking of electric-assisted  bicycles with oxygen breathing apparatus attached to the bicycle. You would cycle on dedicated paths. Every hundred metres or so there would be staging posts where you can exchange your oxygen supply for a fresh one, should that be required or recharge your battery. There could be emergency shelters every few hundreds of metres and then perhaps larger habs every few kms where people can if necessary shelter for a longer period.  Rather than carry the oxygen supply on your back, the supply is carried on the bike, and you simply attach your breathing apparatus to it.

For this sort of outdoor exercise to work, it would probably require some other features: a real good MCP suit that allows you to cycle with ease, but also with additional radiation protection, and a protective helmet. The suit would need to be heated of course most of the time, except on those fairly rare occasions in summer when the Mars temperature gets above zero. Maybe you would have two pairs of gloves - an outer pair to fully protect your hands but also a heated inner glove that would perhaps have mesh over the finger tips to allow a tactile experience.

If radiation is still  an issue, the bike paths could be covered unpressurised ways.

5. Large heated pools and beaches. The beaches could be located within domes...the water could extend beyond the dome.  People with suitable aqualung equipment could go swimming underwater beyond the dome.  Reflectors would help heat the water. Maybe the pool would be covered in floating aerogel material to help retain heat.
A few ideas! I think all the above could make Mars a stimulating environment in which to live with lots of Earth-like opportunities for exercise and recreation.

Let's Go to Mars...Google on: Fast Track to Mars


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