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Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Terra Forming Mars

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(Red Colony) If space exploration can be said to have a purpose beyond that of reconnaissance and understanding of the universe, it is expressed by many involved in the space business as space settlement: the founding of new branches of civilisation remote from the Earth (e.g. National Commission on Space, 1986)...

To achieve growth and permanency, space-based civilisations must harness local resources in autonomous and stable bioregenerative life-support systems, energised by the sun.

Terra Forming Mars will probably pose one of the most difficult challenges out of any of the potential colony sites within our solar system. Unlike the moon which is known to have some resources on it's surface, Mars has very little to offer to any future colony as the only useful resource discovered on the red planet has been water.

However, enclosed colonies on planetary surfaces are, in essence, little different from grounded spacecraft in that they must still resist, rather than incorporate, the surrounding environment. This strategy discounts the habitable potential of a planet such as Mars which, due to its gravity well, is inherently capable of hosting a global, uncontained, biosphere similar to that of the Earth (Fogg, 1993a, 1995a).

Although the potential of terra forming is obvious, it would probably take several centuries before a world like Mars would be suitable for life from Earth (using today's technology that is). Although Mars lacks many of the necessary resources that would make it attractive towards future colonies, it's closeness towards the asteroid belt would make it a valuable location as it would be easier to transport goods from Mars to the belt than Earth.

Making Mars habitable will definitely be a challenge, but it may be one worth undertaking. If humanity can terra form Mars then taking on more hostile environments (i.e. Titan) would become less difficult, thereby allowing mankind to finally leave his cradle behind.

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By Darnell Clayton • 8:23 PM • Email Post • •


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