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#26 2002-07-15 23:08:11

Shaun Barrett
Member
From: Cairns, Queensland, Australia
Registered: 2001-12-28
Posts: 2,843

Re: When should we terraform

Two things addressed to Auqakah:-

1) I'm no expert on probabilities but I think you'll find that
    building a settlement in an impact crater doesn't mean
    you're any safer from a future impact on that settlement.
    If you toss a coin 20 times and it comes up heads each
    time, it's still 50/50 on the next toss as to whether it'll be
    heads or tails. Even if your crater has been hit every year
    for a century, It still has the same chance of being hit next
    year as any other place on Mars. These are random events.

2) Will you stop it with the "We Can Never Go Back" routine!!
    You're making me nervous!
                                               big_smile


The word 'aerobics' came about when the gym instructors got together and said: If we're going to charge $10 an hour, we can't call it Jumping Up and Down.   - Rita Rudner

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#27 2002-07-16 12:14:36

Auqakah
Member
From: England
Registered: 2002-07-13
Posts: 175

Re: When should we terraform

Okay, okay... No more "We Can Never Go Back"ing  big_smile
One other quick thing. Number 1 said that meteorite impacts are random events - but random events are only governed by probability. Consider the size of the surface of Mars, which is approximatley the size of all the landmass on Earth. Now imagine the size of a mid-sized crater. The impact site is far, far smaller than the surface size of Mars (obviously, excuse me I'm waffling slightly but I shall get to the point in the end  smile) and so the probability of the same site getting hit twice - when you have all the other places that could get hit - is relativley slim. In order for that to happen, the incoming object would have to follow almost the exact same path as the first - and that is highly unlikely.   big_smile


Ex Astra, Scienta

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#28 2002-07-16 12:20:35

Auqakah
Member
From: England
Registered: 2002-07-13
Posts: 175

Re: When should we terraform

Apologies - but I only just saw this:

"I don't want to go to Mars to play with rocks or see a sunset. I want to help build a new civilization. Mars will never reach its economic potential until it has been at least partially terraformed."

Play with rocks? ??? I'm sure any geologists out there loved that one... See a sunset? Very briefly - what point is there in having a "new civilization" that has reached its "economic potential" if you are missing such a basic thing as the beauty of a sunset? Life is great with money, but very empty without beauty.

And geology is not "play(ing) with rocks" - it is vital to our understanding of the universe.


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#29 2002-07-16 21:45:55

Aetius
Member
From: New England USA
Registered: 2002-01-20
Posts: 173

Re: When should we terraform

My apologies for the mild sarcasm. I just believe that the scientific value gleaned from studying an eternally Red Mars pales in comparison to the benefits which could be enjoyed by the billions of citizens a partially terraformed world could support.

Geology IS important. But to me, studying rocks is only a means to an end. At the point which preserving Martian geological strata becomes more important than improving economic opportunity for the ordinary citizens of Mars, it really does become "playing with rocks".

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#30 2002-07-16 21:46:24

Aetius
Member
From: New England USA
Registered: 2002-01-20
Posts: 173

Re: When should we terraform

My apologies for the mild sarcasm. I just believe that the scientific value gleaned from studying an eternally Red Mars pales in comparison to the benefits which could be enjoyed by the billions of citizens a partially terraformed world could support.

Geology IS important. But to me, studying rocks is only a means to an end. At the point which preserving Martian geological strata becomes more important than improving economic opportunity for the ordinary citizens of Mars, it really does become "playing with rocks".

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#31 2002-07-17 08:51:35

Jan-Erik
Banned
Registered: 2002-07-15
Posts: 9

Re: When should we terraform

We must not be afraid of "terraforming" Mars. Even if we love rocks, and Mars as it is "today", do not forget that Mars IS changing. Mars is geologically active TODAY. The Universe moves forward in continuous metamorphosis. Planets are not "pictures". Mars is not a museum piece. Even as I write this Mars grows in mass, added by falling meteorite debris and volcanos may be building up potential for some future blast. Some day a "planetbuster" WILL hit Mars and change the face of Mars drastically. The atmosphere will get much denser and average temperatures will climb above freezing. Then Mars will once again have a warm and wet climate for some million years.

We know today that Mars very probably harbours water in its regolit and polar regions. This water will one day melt, with or without our helping, and I can not see the difference, moraly, between "sitting back", and "giving it a helpful (for us and life in general) hand" . If we "aid" the Universe making Mars more to our liking, what could possibly be wrong with that? And I do not think anything we could do would be on a scale of a planetbuster, not to think that that would be in our interests; economically, scientifically or otherwise. I think our changing of Mars will be, on a human scale and most probably, fairly gradual. Mars will not "bleed" from a little greening, and a denser atmosphere and higher temperatures could, I believe, be introduced by moderate means, making "the scaring of Mars" tolerantly superficial. The geological change between now and after a "mild terraforming" would be insignificant I think. And humanity would gain the means to avoid "planetbusters" ...go forth to the stars or perish! :angry:

Note to how long it would take to "terraform" Mars:

Yes, we could talk about centuries before Mars is "terraformed" COMPLETELY, but I think surprisingly good results(for some people) could be achieve with in decades of an established, permanent, Mars base.   big_smile

I agree Byron, "iceteroids" would help the "terraformation" of Mars, but I suspect that the "martians" will have to rely on insitu resources for a long time. I also predict these insitu resources will be suficient to support the first periods of Martian civilization and "terraforming" efforts. ...think of the gains!
big_smile

Ad astra! :angry:

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#32 2002-07-17 13:28:00

Auqakah
Member
From: England
Registered: 2002-07-13
Posts: 175

Re: When should we terraform

I don't see how the terraformation of Mars will benefit "billions", as I see no way that these billions of people could be transported to Mars. In order to move people on that magnitude, in any appreciable time period, you're talking a mammoth effort that would cost more in terms of capital and resources than a terraforming project.

Asteroids, comets and volcanic eruptions are all forces of "nature", as it were. We are not. All those things are influenced by a billion variables, each one finely balanced, in fact so finely balanced that it could be argued that anything that does happen, should happen. But that doesnt apply to us. So an asteroid slamming into the surface of Mars, and changing the face of its surface, is nothing at all like us heating up the planet and destroying geological formations that have taken millions, and sometimes billions, of years to form. If we do terraform Mars, it won't be on a "millions of years" timescale, obviously - so there is a vast difference between a normal geological (geological is probably the wrong word, areological is a far better one with relation to Mars) process and a sentient species coming along and destroying  a few billion years of slow, gradual change. Even if Mars once was host to a warm, wet atmosphere - to which there is no real evidence, as any formation of land you can think of could possibly be formed by an impact, or vulcanism - that doesnt mean that it ever will again. Mars has no magnetosphere, in comparison to the Earth. It will never naturally be host to a diverse biosphere, at least not one useful to us, because of the intense radiation in the ultra-violet spectra. So "because it was and might one day be again" is no valid reason for changing the surface of a world.

Mars will never be the home to billions of humans, for the simple reason it will never be as comfortable as Earth (and possibly other Earthlike planets which we may find in the future, and eventually gain the ability to reach) nor will it ever be as safe a home as Earth. Any biosphere created on Mars would be extremely fragile - and as such Mars is simply not a viable second home for humanity. If you wish to look for a safe haven for humanity, so that in the event of a mass-extinction event here on Earth there would still be surviving, safe remnants,  then it is far more logical to look to orbiting habitats and the like. Mars is not Earth. It is not our natural habitat, and nor will we ever be able to change it sufficiently enough to truly call it a second home to Earth. Mars doesnt truly have all that much space to build on either, when considering the amount of people you would want to transfer as mentioned earlier ("...billions of citizens a partially terraformed world could support."). Simply because Mars would have to have a much "taller" (my apologies, cant think of a better word) biosphere than Earth - and its not even known if that would be possible or not. Granted, Mars has the same land-surface mass as Earth - but how much of that is truly usable? And how much less would be usable after terraformation? Not near half as much as would be needed for a reliable back-up home in the event of Earth being wiped out, I'm willing to bet.

The only reason that Mars appeals to us, either for simple colonization or full blown terraformation - and we should have the courage to admit it - is that it excites us with its mystery, and the romantic appeal of human beings stepping, eating, sleeping where no-one ever has before, and because it will be the first world other than our Earth (and perhaps the moon? will be interesting to see which comes first) that we will live on, plus a thousand scientific reasons. But terraforming is a dream, in the same way that the people who live in the desert dream of their world being full of greenery, and flowing free water. But that won't happen. Nor should it happen; the deserts serve their purpose just as they are. But consider; our world, Earth, has different zones of climate all around its globe. What if our solar system, in a similar way, has its own zones of climate? On Earth, if you were to shift all the arid climates to say, temperate ones, you would see a massive shift in the weather cycles of all the other climates. What if its the same in our solar system? Most agree that there is probably an area around every sun-like star that is a "habitable zone" - but if there is a habitable zone, surely there are other types, and each supports the others in some way? The entire universe is composed of endlessly elaborate but enendingly simple (once revealed  big_smile ) systems, so why not our own star system?
Besides, why is it that nobody can see that Mars is just fine the way it is? What need is there to change it? People have, and continue to, live in far worse conditions than colonists on Mars would if we dont terraform - why should we change a whole world without need?


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#33 2002-07-17 19:04:29

Phobos
Member
Registered: 2002-01-02
Posts: 1,103

Re: When should we terraform

I don't see how the terraformation of Mars will benefit "billions", as I see no way that these billions of people could be transported to Mars. In order to move people on that magnitude, in any appreciable time period, you're talking a mammoth effort that would cost more in terms of capital and resources than a terraforming project.

The billions could be the native born of Mars in the very distant future.  I pretty much agree with Jan-Erik that if a world is dead there's nothing wrong with terraforming it to our liking.  I have a hard time giving geological formations the same "don't touch" status as life.


To achieve the impossible you must attempt the absurd

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#34 2002-07-17 20:39:01

Aetius
Member
From: New England USA
Registered: 2002-01-20
Posts: 173

Re: When should we terraform

I should have clarified my statement about the 'billions' of beneficiaries of terraformation. Actually, I really was referring to the future unborn generations of Martian citizens. Their 'Green Mars' would have a carrying capacity of billions, instead of the millions which 'Red Mars' could support.

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#35 2002-07-19 08:50:00

Jan-Erik
Banned
Registered: 2002-07-15
Posts: 9

Re: When should we terraform

So an asteroid slamming into the surface of Mars, and changing the face of its surface, is nothing at all like us heating up the planet and destroying geological formations that have taken millions, and sometimes billions, of years to form.

Suppose we only try to raise the average temperature of Mars by a few degrees. This we could do by finding a way to densen the atmosfere to, let us say, 0.5  terran atmospheres on average. (NOT with a planetbuster... big_smile). I propose we should add mainly CO2 initialy. I still do not see how this, scientifically, would destroy martian geological formations in any major way. This "aeroforming" or making of an atmosphere would benefit humans, yes, but I do not see scientific reasons against it, neither do I believe it would be detrimental to Mars and its geology. I just can not believe that the martian geological records will get destroy or harmed in any major way by doing this. smile

Now, if there is any life on Mars, it must be mostly extremofiles. They could surely take the extra CO2, so we would not harm, in any major way, idigenous life. There is extremofiles on Earth, so there will be extremofiles on Mars no matter how much we terraform or aeroform. So we would not be exterminating a "fragile martian biosphere", since any life there should be highly resilient.    big_smile
On the contrary, I suspect any martian life would benefit enormously from such aeroforming -(and be at an advantage compared to any terran life we would want to introduce)- leading to a heigthened "martian evolutionary rate". So the argument "if there is life, we can not terraform" is at best mistaken...     wink

Anyway, we can not sit back and observe the Universe unfold if we are to gain the ability to avoid planetbusters hiting Earth or if we want to reach for the stars. The solar system is our playground and Mars is our first testgame... smile

Mars should not, would not and could not be made into a "back-up" world for the masses of Earth, it would not be feasible to shift any of the billions of Earth too Mars...
Mars only heighten the survival odds for humanity as a species. So in going to Mars we become a multiplanet species. We just have to learn how to walk before we can learn how to run. wink

Mars will become the cradle of a new branch of humanity, but Mars will allways be Mars, uncomparable to Earth. No martian would ever seriously want Mars to become totally like Earth anyway.   wink
And we are NOT looking for a safe haven, we just want there to be a frontier for humanity to expand on, to relieve some of the pressure that is bound to be building up as Earth gets more and more "the global village" and uniformity descend upon us. We would terraform or aeroform Mars because it is essential for the continuation of humanity as a species. And it would be needed if we want to make all the other tools, of a spacefaring species, come about as well.

Ad astra! :angry:

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#36 2002-07-19 10:49:59

HeloTeacher
Banned
Registered: 2002-01-26
Posts: 38

Re: When should we terraform

Just as observation from my viewpoint.

I don't realy see Mars as a place where we can recreate Earth.  The life that develops on Mars will be Martian, whether or not their ancestors came from Earth.  The very nature of where they are will demand this.  We won't do this alone, Mars and evolution will help a lot.

The key is to help create an environment whereexisting lifeforms can exist and grow long enough to start adapting, and then let them go.

gotta run


"only with the freedom to dream, to create, and to risk, man has been able to climb out of the cave and reach for the stars"
  --Igor Sikorsky, aviation pioneer

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#37 2002-07-27 14:04:28

Auqakah
Member
From: England
Registered: 2002-07-13
Posts: 175

Re: When should we terraform

"I propose we should add mainly CO2 initialy. I still do not see how this, scientifically, would destroy martian geological formations in any major way. This "aeroforming" or making of an atmosphere would benefit humans, yes, but I do not see scientific reasons against it, neither do I believe it would be detrimental to Mars and its geology. I just can not believe that the martian geological records will get destroy or harmed in any major way by doing this."

Fine, from a terraforming point of view. But, then, how do you scrub the CO2? And how do you prevent the water trapped just beneath the surface from thawing and freezing and thawing and freezing, in a pattern similar to that of Siberia? A thicker atmosphere means at least some liquid water on or under the surface of Mars; and that means massive geological upheaval.

And again, just how would you scrub the CO2 ? 500 millibars of CO2 is poisonous to humans, and most Terran life - so you would have to heavily engineer any life that you put down on Mars, and the effects of that life would not be pre-determinable. So there is still no way of knowing the full extent of the effects on Mars that such a route would have.

"The billions could be the native born of Mars in the very distant future.  I pretty much agree with Jan-Erik that if a world is dead there's nothing wrong with terraforming it to our liking.  I have a hard time giving geological formations the same "don't touch" status as life."

No way of knowing what the carrying-capacity of Mars will be, seeing as we do not know the carrying capacity of Earth. Earth's carrying capacity has been estimated at between 250 million to 40 billion - which is a pretty large bracket. And Mars doesnt have oceans that a technological society can ALSO use, so its got at least a 60-80% lower carrying capacity to Earth. Thats roughly 160 million to 32 billion. And when you talk about reaching that sort of carrying capacity, you're talking many many years away - its absurd to plan that far ahead, as far in my opinion. In fact, its impossible. Simply because we dont know what the future holds, even ten years from now. So how can we begin planning for "the countless billions on Mars in the future" now?? I dont see how we can. And those geological features may well impart knowledge to us that could explain key things in planetary developement - and in doing so, open up entirely new fields of scientific exploration. And maybe, just maybe, one of those fields will yield something that will benefit the countless billions back on Earth.


Ex Astra, Scienta

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#38 2002-07-28 14:21:57

Fred
Banned
From: Seminole Florida USA
Registered: 2002-07-28
Posts: 1
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Re: When should we terraform

I think terraforming Mars is a great idea in concept, but there are a number of reasons why I believe it won't work.

Mars' gravity is too weak to hold onto a decent atmosphere. Escape velocity is below that of water vapor, therefore water would be lost as it escapes into space. Also without a decent Ozone layer, the solar UV will disassociate any water into hydrogen & oxygen, and the hydrogen will quickly escape into space. Earth does not have this problem.

Unlike Earth, Mars is long geologically dead. Therefore it lacks any volcanic activity to recycle the CO², and also lacks a decent magnetic field to protect it's atmosphere or surface from deadly solar, and cosmic radiation. It is believed the Earth's magnetic field protects our atmosphere as well as life by deflecting the constant bombardment by the solar wind, as well as the occasional solar flares. A solar flare poses NO threat to life on Earth, and only harms telecommunications or power in eastern Canada, but anybody on the surface of Mars would be in serious trouble!

If the surface of Mars was one day successfully terraformed, then the biggest challenge would be containing it's atmosphere from escaping into space, and protecting it from radiation. In the long run, I feel R&D on some kind of effective hyperspace transport to get us out of the solar system alltogether and discover other Earth-like planets elsewhere would be the way to go.


http://www.beyourowndetective.com

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#39 2002-08-01 14:15:06

Auqakah
Member
From: England
Registered: 2002-07-13
Posts: 175

Re: When should we terraform

"In the long run, I feel R&D on some kind of effective hyperspace transport to get us out of the solar system alltogether and discover other Earth-like planets elsewhere would be the way to go."

Naw, easiest way to travel on an interstellar level is to find some way to reduce gravitational friction to a similar level of that of light, then add additional thrust.
big_smile

I aint telling how though.  tongue


Ex Astra, Scienta

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#40 2002-08-14 06:53:59

Jan-Erik
Banned
Registered: 2002-07-15
Posts: 9

Re: When should we terraform

I know only this of the future and that is that the "no can do" s have been repeatedly proven wrong, in the past, by the "lets try it and see what happens"s. The "NoCanDoers" and the "Doers".

I firmly believe that there is life on Mars and that it is our(humanitys) responsibility to go there. I believe that life is fairly common throug out the Solar system.

"Life" allways "terraforms", where we go we will help life in this, and thereby "we" will eventually "terraform" Mars to some extent, in the future. That is, we will help life on Mars to get a better hold on the planet by expanding its venues of opportunity, adding, were we see fit, terran species. We could do this in an intelligent manner letting life itself do as much as possible of the job. This could let us know more about evolution. There is life on Earth who feeds on CO2, there is bound to be life on Mars with similarities, what would be different?

Naturally, as I believe humans must go to Mars, I think these questions needs our pondering.

I do not fear freezing and thawing. I takes a VERY long time to level a mountain on Earth, should not take any less time on Mars.
I do not think we need to "engeener" life to adopt it to "martian standards" since I do not think we should introduce any advanced(O2 dependent) Earth life. Let the extremofiles do the job, and when appropriate, guide the development to best fit our interests. The species we introduce should atleast be simple. I believe it would be[i:post_uid0] most[/i:post_uid0] interesting to do it in this manner. A big industrial sized project seem, to me, less attractive and less likely.

smile

Ad astra!  :angry:

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#41 2002-08-18 14:19:11

Auqakah
Member
From: England
Registered: 2002-07-13
Posts: 175

Re: When should we terraform

"I know only this of the future and that is that the "no can do" s have been repeatedly proven wrong, in the past, by the "lets try it and see what happens"s. The "NoCanDoers" and the "Doers"."


Fine. It can be done. But does that mean it should be? Hitler was a "Doer"; he believed that the Jews could be completely exterminated, and so he attempted it. Just because people say it should be done and there are examples in the past where people said it could be done, and then it was done, does not mean that that will apply now. I'm sure there are a thousand good examples of people dreaming and making their dreams real, but there are a thousand examples of people dreaming and creating a nightmare.


'"Life" allways "terraforms", where we go we will help life in this, and thereby "we" will eventually "terraform" Mars to some extent, in the future.'


"Life" always "terraforms"? What do you mean? And why is this a good reason to terraform Mars?


'I do not fear freezing and thawing. I takes a VERY long time to level a mountain on Earth, should not take any less time on Mars.'


Mountains might not be levelled, but valuable land formations that are more valuable could be wiped off the face of the planet. And there is alot of pressure on the Martian lithosphere. So perhaps a mountain could be levelled in a far shorter time than on Earth.


'A big industrial sized project seem, to me, less attractive and less likely.'


If only. If we do terraform Mars, it WILL be a big industrial project, or it won't happen at all. The longer it takes, the more it costs. That applies to everything - or so investors believe. And so the faster they can get Mars terraformed - and the money would have to come from somewhere - the better. And a slow, thoughtful process just would not be fast enough for the people backing the project, should it happen. And they won't care about destroying an entire planet; all they will see is pound signs, or dollar signs, or yen signs. Mars means nothing to them; the possibility of an entire new market to monopolize does. So it would be a huge, mammoth industrial project, almost certainly. :angry:


Ex Astra, Scienta

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#42 2002-08-18 14:46:40

Phobos
Member
Registered: 2002-01-02
Posts: 1,103

Re: When should we terraform

If only. If we do terraform Mars, it WILL be a big industrial project, or it won't happen at all. The longer it takes, the more it costs. That applies to everything - or so investors believe. And so the faster they can get Mars terraformed - and the money would have to come from somewhere - the better. And a slow, thoughtful process just would not be fast enough for the people backing the project, should it happen. And they won't care about destroying an entire planet; all they will see is pound signs, or dollar signs, or yen signs. Mars means nothing to them; the possibility of an entire new market to monopolize does. So it would be a huge, mammoth industrial project, almost certainly.

I think if a big enough population develops on Mars they themselves will ultimately decide whether or not to terraform Mars.  I think some of the problems here arise from the fact that we are talking about terraforming Mars from an Earthling's point of view.  People from Earth have little to gain from terraforming Mars but since many Martians will probably love the idea of being able to go almost anywhere on the planet without running around in bulky gear I can see them voting in favor of terraforming.  And who knows what kind of economy will be in place 500 years from now.  Terraforming would be expensive for us at the moment but in a few hundred years it might be feasible.


To achieve the impossible you must attempt the absurd

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#43 2002-08-30 05:26:27

Jan-Erik
Banned
Registered: 2002-07-15
Posts: 9

Re: When should we terraform

I was refering to the very nature of humans, and more generally life(changing their environments), and judging it probable, that if humans go to Mars, AND stay, terraforming will happen. Not because of of "Earth politics" but because martians themselves decieded to do it as Phobos put it.

Yes Hitler was a bad man, to make an understatement, but he was a man who got the chance to exploite the ignorant and weak masses, and to take advantage of the fragile political system of Germany at his times. Such evildoers is dependent on the weak and uneducated to get their mad ideas done. Now I'm not saying that the doers of the future will all be good, I'm just saying that people will be more educated and less likely to follow such madmen. Still, somethings will go wrong, will allways go wrong, but since some kind of democratic society should exist then as it does now, I firmly believe that "Hitler" is not the best example to put forward here.

Still the atmosphere on Mars will be a lot less dense than on earth, so I am not too sure about time scales here, but leveling a mountain should take quite a long time, even in a geological time frame.  It's what happens on Earth all the (geological) time, we only speed it up a little when we densen Mars atmosphere and heighten its temperature....change is not bad in my book.

That I think this is RIGHT to do is really my choosen PHILOSOPHICAL point of view.

There is an atmosphere on Mars NOW, nothing, so far, have made me believe that this atmosphere can not or should not be made denser and Mars is NOT gelogically dead either, just observe her smoothness in particular areas... 

Mars is isolated from Earth and will be for a long time, therefore any change, on Mars or of Mars, will be mostly to the benefit of a growing martian populace, who really would propagate that change themselves through a democratic society. wink

Ad astra! :angry:

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#44 2002-09-22 08:32:47

Adrian
Moderator
From: London, United Kingdom
Registered: 2001-09-04
Posts: 642
Website

Re: When should we terraform

This thread has just been derailed by a whole load of off-topic nonsense degenerating into ad hominems. Normally I don't do this because it usually doesn't get this bad (i.e. a insult hurling match), but in this case I have just deleted all the off-topic messages. I will do the same if it happens in the future.


Editor of New Mars

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#45 2002-12-03 17:52:20

soph
Member
Registered: 2002-11-24
Posts: 1,492

Re: When should we terraform

how have we terraformed earth?  farms, cities, planting trees, crops, domesticating animals, driving species to extinction, deforesting, mining, developing, weeding...we've woven the earth to our liking...weve terraformed it. 

how to prevent the atmosphere from escaping?  it already has an atmosphere, and so does earth, do these just disappear? 

unless you want to live on this planet forever, were gonna have to go to mars.  and its a fairly bad idea to live in spacesuits and lugging around breathing gear forever.  theres nothing WRONG with terraforming.  if youve got reservations about disturbing natural habitats, dont use wood to build anything.  the wood was once some animal's home.

the best example of terraforming in this day and age-greenhouse gassing-we're good at.  thats what we'd do to terraform mars.  convenient, isnt it?

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#46 2002-12-03 18:49:46

Shaun Barrett
Member
From: Cairns, Queensland, Australia
Registered: 2001-12-28
Posts: 2,843

Re: When should we terraform

Soph, I agree with you that there is nothing inherently wrong with terraforming.
    And atmospheres don't just disappear ... at least not overnight. If we establish, say, a 500 millibar atmosphere around Mars, the lower gravity and lack of a coherent magnetic field will result in leakage to space. But it will take millions of years before we're in trouble with low pressure again.
    As strange as it may sound, I believe there've been a few suggestions to put an atmosphere around the Moon too! Even at 16% of Earth's gravity, it's believed Luna can hang on to an atmosphere long enough to make it worth doing.

    I tend to side with those who believe the Martian climate can be 'tipped over' into a warmer phase relatively easily. Warming will release more CO2 and lead to more warming etc. And the introduction of a cocktail of super-greenhouse-gases should really get things moving.
    For an amusing and enlightening hour or so of  terraforming entertainment, take a look at The Mars Simulator Project. You'll be amazed at how much difference a little bit of super-greenhouse-gas makes to the Martian atmosphere's ability to retain heat.

    My biggest reservation with terraforming is the apparent lack of nitrogen. People talk about finding nitrate beds and producing nitrogen from them, but analyses of isotopic ratios of the small amount of it (2.7%) left in the atmosphere today suggests that Mars' original inventory was low in nitrogen to start with. However, I don't know why this should be, since Earth has plenty of nitrogen and so does Titan, so why should Mars be so bereft of it?
    At the moment, it looks like a show-stopper for ever creating a breathable atmosphere, unless we import N2 from elsewhere ... a major and daunting task.

    But maybe the information we have is too incomplete to judge accurately at this stage.
    I certainly hope that's the case!
                                         ???


The word 'aerobics' came about when the gym instructors got together and said: If we're going to charge $10 an hour, we can't call it Jumping Up and Down.   - Rita Rudner

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#47 2002-12-03 19:01:49

soph
Member
Registered: 2002-11-24
Posts: 1,492

Re: When should we terraform

interesting site.  i entered the middle numbers suggested by the guide (for example, it said 0-100, i assumed 50 for NH3), and i came out with 89% habitable.  not bad.  tropical temperatures of about 110-120 F (47ish C) max.  mean of 17.7 C overall.  thats not too far below earth's room temperature.  in essence, conservative estimates yield a very comfortable, livable planet.

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#48 2002-12-08 09:45:36

Auqakah
Member
From: England
Registered: 2002-07-13
Posts: 175

Re: When should we terraform

That simulator doesn't work correctly, I'm afraid.  sad 

At least, I don't think a mean temperature of several thousand degree's Kelvin is habitable.  :0


Ex Astra, Scienta

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#49 2002-12-08 18:17:38

Shaun Barrett
Member
From: Cairns, Queensland, Australia
Registered: 2001-12-28
Posts: 2,843

Re: When should we terraform

Hi Auqakah!

    How did you manage to get temperatures of several thousand degrees K ?
                                   :0


The word 'aerobics' came about when the gym instructors got together and said: If we're going to charge $10 an hour, we can't call it Jumping Up and Down.   - Rita Rudner

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#50 2002-12-09 01:59:17

Austin Stanley
Member
From: Texarkana, TX
Registered: 2002-03-18
Posts: 519
Website

Re: When should we terraform

I think if the we decide that terroforming is justified, waiting would not be necessary before hand.  I mean even useing the biggest baddest methods possible to change the planet it would still be probably 20-30 years before there was any appreciable change. Constructing giant mirrors, diverting asteriods, whatever, is going to take a long time.

Also, in the long run, I bet most Martian gas and water loss could easily be made-up for by the continual divertion of various commets, moonlets, tiny planets, whatever to the system.


He who refuses to do arithmetic is doomed to talk nonsense.

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