A FORMER Nasa chief has outlined a way humanity could make conditions on Mars bearable for future colonists.
Speak with The New York TimesJim Green described how the Red Planet could be transformed to give it an Earth-like atmosphere.
Reshaping the planet would be accomplished through terraforming, a controversial technique first proposed decades ago.
It involves using technology to make Mars more like our home planet, with a temperate climate, vast oceans, and even thriving plant life.
It has been touted by top scientists and even SpaceX boss Elon Musk as the best way to make our species multiplanetary.
dr Green, who retired earlier this year after 40 years at NASA, explained how it would be possible to warm and thicken Mars’ atmosphere with a magnetic shield between the planet and the sun.
The protective instrument would prevent the sun from withdrawing from the Martian atmosphere, which could create a human-friendly climate.
“Yes, it can be done. Stop stripping and the pressure will increase. Mars will start terraforming itself,” said Dr. Green.
“The higher temperature and pressure allow you to start growing plants in the soils.”
The astrophysicist discussed the plan with the Times in January, but has been discussing it publicly for a number of years.
During a workshop at Nasa HQ in 2017, he presented simulations, models and early thinking on how a Martian magnetic field could be recreated to make the planet more habitable.
“The solar system is ours, let’s take it,” said Dr. Green.
“And that includes Mars, of course. But for people to explore Mars with us in science, we need a better environment.”
The proposed trick would rebuild the Martian atmosphere by placing it in a protective “magnet tail”.
Scientists believe the planet had a climate similar to Earth’s billions of years ago, which was lost when its atmosphere was removed from the sun. Mars is believed to have lost 90 percent of its atmosphere.
Eventually, if Mars were shielded from the sun, the temperature would rise to allow CO2 to form in the atmosphere and release free water hidden deep beneath the surface.
“This isn’t terraforming like you might think, where we’re actually artificially altering the climate,” Green said.
“We let nature do it. And we do that on the basis of the physics we know today.”
The idea of terraforming Mars is science fiction and may well remain a pipe dream until we learn more about the Red Planet.
Terraforming releases enough carbon dioxide contained in the planet’s surface to thicken its atmosphere.
This process is achieved with the help of greenhouse gas producing factories or even atomic bomb explosionscould theoretically raise the temperature, allowing water to stay in liquid form.
We currently lack the technology to perform such a disastrous stunt.
The idea is controversial because pumping greenhouse gases into the ocean’s atmosphere would lead people to deliberately mimic the same effect that drives climate change.
Many scientists argue that there is no way to terraform a planet in a controlled manner without risking causing irreparable damage.
Nasa scientists have previously thrown cold water at the idea.
“I’m having trouble understanding why we want to terraform Mars,” Bruce Jakosky, a planetary scientist and lead investigator for NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution mission, said in 2018.
“I know a lot of people are pushing the idea of having it as a safety valve in case we pollute the Earth, but I think it’s a lot easier to keep the Earth healthy than it is to change the climate on Mars.” “
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https://www.thesun.ie/tech/8639612/ex-nasa-boss-plan-terraform-mars-human-colony/ Ex-Nasa boss reveals plan to ‘terraform’ Mars for human colonies with giant space screen