Re: teraforming mars

Michael S. Lorrey (
Thu, 19 Aug 1999 23:48:29 -0400

Gregory Hather wrote:
> Why mars won't be teraformed for a long time...
> 1. The atmasphere is to thin. If we tried to add more, it would just float off because
> mars's gravity is too weak. (surface gravety = .4*earth surface gravity)

Wrong. Saturn's moon Titan is about the same size as Mars (actually a little smaller), yet has an atmosphere THICKER than earth (by several times). The natural atmospheric density of a single earth sized world is actually that of Venus. Ours is so thin because we have such a huge moon to yank at the atmosphere with its tidal influence. Informed opinion is that Mars could manage a 1000 millibar oxygen/nitrogen/co2/CFC based atmosphere given a few hundred years of hard work. We could create an 800 millibar CO2 atmosphere with just 30 years work.

> 2. It would be cheaper to "teraform" the Aulstralian desert or build taller buildings.

The surface of Mars is several hundred times larger than the Australian Desert, so of course the desert would be cheaper. Come up with a fair comparison why don't you. Then again, since the Australia project would probably be delayed for centuries and go into cost overruns because of legal and protest action by environmentalists, not to mention the inefficiency of a socialist government, Mars might actually be cheaper. ;)

> 3. Space flight takes too long. Asuming you acellarate at 1 g, it would take at least
> 6 months to reach mars.

Wrong again. since distance = (accelleration x time^2)/2, a one g trip would take a few weeks at most, depending on the relative positions of the earth and Mars.

> 4. There is no infastructure, and no one to live with.

North America had no infrastructure when the europeans got here. Now its the most developed area on earth.

> 5. Everyone benifits from teraforming, no matter who pays.

Only those who go to mars benefit directly. The human race as a whole benefits, however, in that Mars is an insurance policy against the earth being hit by a comet or asteroid, or killing itself with a nuclear war. Not to mention that the technology of terraforming will also be the technology for eliminating effects of the greenhouse effect if it gets out of control.

> 6. No one on earth will allow the transfer of oxygen.

You must be joking, nobody could possibly be this stupid intentionally...

> 7. A teraformed planet may require matenance.

Of course, but the maintenance is easy: plenty of aerosol spray cans, some orbiting mirors, maybe. Possibly even land all of our weapons grade plutonium on one of Mars' small moons and build a huge IR heater unit....

> 8. It is too big of a project for any corporation or nation to pay for it.

To give it a big boost all that is required is a few comet diversion missions. The added heat and evaporated gasses will give a big boost to the system, especially if they are dropped on the poles.

Mike Lorrey