Terraforming Mars Is Impossible For Now

first_img NASA Says 2 Asteroids Will Safely Fly By Earth This WeekendScientists Discover Possible Interstellar Visitor Stay on target It’s long been a feature of speculative fiction, but terraforming Mars — like for real — is probably going to be harder than we’d probably hoped. At least according to new research by NASA, which suggests even the most aggressive route — literally nuking Mars to habitability — won’t be enough to make water wet on the surface of the red planet.The basic concept is sound — pump the air full of gasses that can trap heat. Use that to make it nice and toasty, and hopefully those gasses turn out to be breathable ones. I mean, we’re already kinda mucking this up here on Earth and Venus is well past screwed, with a surface hot enough to melt many metals outright. So, what’s the trouble with Mars?Well, it turns out there just isn’t enough atmosphere — even with the human-powered boost. Earth and Venus, for instance, both have complex atmospheres with loads of different chemicals. Each of them can block a specific band of radiation, and while CO2 can pull off some pretty wicked things here, where there’s a complex cocktail of chemistry working together to heat up the planet (which is why many people refer to greenhouse gasses in general and not just CO2 these days). “Carbon dioxide and water vapor are the only greenhouse gases that are likely to be present on Mars in sufficient abundance to provide any significant greenhouse warming,” said Bruce Jakosky of the University of Colorado in a release. “In addition, most of the CO2 gas is not accessible and could not be readily mobilized. As a result, terraforming Mars is not possible using present-day technology.”Even if all the carbon on Mars were tapped, the air pressure alone would be a small fraction of what is needed. To say nothing of it being breathable, or usable, or comfortable. There is evidence to suggest that Mars may once have been a haven for life. And, with liquid water now discovered, it’s possible the planet still harbors something. But it’s critical resources — like air — have long since been lost to the void. Maybe one day we can make the place a second home, but we have a long-ass way to go.Stay up to date on all the latest ongoings of our favorite red planet here. Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey.last_img

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