NASA is backed by the US government which is more involved in space colonization, hoping to conquer Mars until 2033. Any scientist would claim that the idea of terraforming is an outstanding idea. Nevertheless, the US government should think about the fact that there are a lot more problems to solve here on Earth, like climate change, before thinking about traveling to other planets.
To colonize such a planet like the Red Planet, we first need to find a way to melt the polar ice caps and somehow develop a suitable atmosphere to sustain life. Then, we would need to engineer the environment to develop rivers, lakes, and foliage. Researchers may already know all these steps which need to be followed to reach success, but they may not know how long it will take us to do this.
Last week, at NASA’s Planetary Science Vision 2050 Workshop there were presented two papers which raised similar concerns and questions. The first one is called “The Terraforming Timeline, ” and it offers an abstract strategy for transforming the Red Planet into a green oasis, an absolutely habitable planet. The second paper is entitled “Mars Terraforming – the Wrong Way” which rejects the idea of terraforming Mars and presents an alternative.
The former study was developed by Chris McKay from the Space Sciences Division at NASA Ames Research Center and Aaron Berliner from the University of California, Berkeley. In the new study, they had presented a timeline for the process of terraforming on the Red Planet, including an Oxygenation Phase and a Warming Phase. They had also shown the necessary steps which would precede and follow these stages.
They claimed that the process of terraforming could be divided into two different stages. The first stage consists in warming the planet from the present temperature of -60 degrees Celsius to an average temperature on Earth of +15 degrees Celsius while also developing a thick carbon dioxide atmosphere. Apparently, this warming phase should be quick and easy, and it would take less than a hundred years.
The next stage would be to generate levels of oxygen in the atmosphere which would be able to provide human beings, animals and plants all the necessary conditions to breath normally. Researchers estimated that this oxygenation stage could be rather difficult to accomplish and it would take more than 100,000 years.
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