What is the terraforming of Mars

NASA: Terraforming Mars is not possible with foreseeable means

There is not enough carbon dioxide on Mars that could trigger a greenhouse effect in the atmosphere that would ensure living conditions. Scientists determined this using data from the various Mars probes, explains NASA, which supported the study. The various known sources on the Red Planet therefore contain just enough CO2to increase the pressure of the atmosphere to 7 percent of that on earth - much less than necessary.

But there is a problem

The background to the analysis is the reflection of science fiction authors and space visionaries on how to turn hostile Mars into a place that people without life support systems could enter. Greenhouse gases, which warm the planet and keep liquid water on the surface, should play a decisive role. Most recently, Elon Musk announced that atomic bombs could soon be detonated over Mars to release carbon dioxide bound to the polar ice caps. That was not a problem, had assured Musk, who wants to start colonizing the red planet soon.

In the distant past, Mars had a denser atmosphere, but that was largely lost to space. As the researchers now explain, the pressure of the Martian atmosphere with the carbon dioxide from the polar ice caps could not even be increased to 2 percent of the pressure required for an earth-like atmosphere. A little more is bound in minerals, but that doesn't provide much more than a further percentage point - at least if you limit yourself to the area directly below the surface. If you heat all the material up to almost 100 meters below the surface, it would still not add 5 percent of the required atmospheric pressure.

Unrealistic alternatives

Enough carbon dioxide could only be bound at greater depths, but so far there has been no evidence of this. If such reserves exist, they would first have to be salvaged and released at over 300 degrees Celsius, using a lot of energy, in order to get into the atmosphere. The redirection of comets and asteroids that could hit Mars and release carbon dioxide is similarly unrealistic: According to their calculations, this would require many thousands of celestial bodies, according to the researchers.

Other substances, such as water, would not heat the planet sufficiently or require complex and therefore unrealistic manufacturing processes, which is why the latter were not analyzed. With current resources, Mars cannot be subjected to any promising terraforming, the researchers conclude. There just isn't enough carbon dioxide on Mars, and most of it isn't easy to get to. (mho)

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