How Do We Terraform Mars?

by Fraser Cain on July 21, 2014

If we really want to live on Mars, we’re going to need to do a complete renovation. We’ll need to thicken the atmosphere, warm the planet, and get the liquid water flowing. What’ll it take?

Attn: VP in charge of Long Distance Traveler Services
c/o Olympus Mons Tourism and Hospitality Office, Mars

After researching your lovely planet as a place to summer, I’d like to request some basic changes to your environmental “services”. These will meet some fundamental safety requirements we will require upon our arrival.

Mars' thin atmosphere. Image credit: NASA

Mars’ thin atmosphere. Image credit: NASA

Our research has indicated your atmosphere is incredibly thin, as a result the beaches and quite frankly everything else is unacceptably cold. There appears to be no oxygen, and there is a conspicuous lack of a magnetosphere which those of us with meat parts will require for radiation protection.

We’ve found that your pressure at sea level is 1% of what we’re accustomed to. As we do not wish to request our guests to wear a special full body suit, please assign your operations staff to sublimating your CO2 polar ice caps immediately.

This should replenish your atmospheric density and begin resolving the frigid temperatures of your resorts and overall planet.

Mars photographed with the Mars Global Surveyor.

Mars photographed with the Mars Global Surveyor.

We will also be requiring a breathable atmosphere suitable for Terran mammals. Our surveys have shown there’s oxygen stored inside the regolith. Please find enclosed some hardy lichens and a gradual regimen of plants to grow over time to begin releasing this gas into the atmosphere.

We estimate these initial minor housekeeping requests should take only a few hundred years to get rolling. Although they may make an absolute mess of your beautiful planet we’ll be requiring them so we humans can arrive and begin making an even larger mess on our own.

We understand that making the air breathable should take tens of thousands of years, so we suggest you get started immediately.

Mars Explorer. Image credit: NASA

Mars Explorer. Image credit: NASA

Currently our outreach comfort teams have not found a solution to the lack of a magnetic field, and we may resort to local solutions such as genetically engineering our offspring to be more resistant to radiation.

Fraser Cain,
Tour Coordinator, Universe Today Planetary Expeditions.

PS: What do you think? Is it ethical to completely change the environment of a planet to suit our needs, or are we really just as Agent Smith describes us? A horrible smelly virus.

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Fraser Cain is the publisher of Universe Today. He's also the co-host of Astronomy Cast with Dr. Pamela Gay.

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