Is it sensible to consider terraforming Mars?
Some researchers are investigating how to modify the Martian atmosphere to make it suitable for life as we know it. Others have higlighted how the absence of a magnetosphere makes a dense atmosphere on Mars unsustainable. Is it sensible to consider terraforming Mars even though it lacks a magnetosphere?
The issue of the solar wind eroding the atmosphere of a terraformed Mars has not been addressed in detail, because it is still unclear whether humans have the economic means to terraform Mars. However, some researchers are beginning to incorporate the need of a magnetosphere for long-term stability of a Martian atmosphere generated by human intervention. It is possible to generate a thick atmosphere so that it would survive sufficiently long in spite of the solar wind; in fact, the solar wind is not the sole reason for the low density of the current Martian atmosphere. Another alternative is to replenish the atmosphere as needed, perhaps by diverting volatile-rich comets into impact trajectories with Mars. In short, the absence of a magnetosphere, while hindering the viability of a Martian atmosphere, is not a show-stopper for terraforming Mars.
Get More 'Curious?' with Our New PODCAST:
- Podcast? Subscribe? Tell me about the Ask an Astronomer Podcast
- Subscribe to our Podcast | Listen to our current Episode
- Cool! But I can't now. Send me a quick reminder now for later.
How to ask a question:
If you have a follow-up question concerning the above subject, submit it here. If you have a question about another area of astronomy, find the topic you're interested in from the archive on our site menu, or go here for help.Table 'curious.Referrers' doesn't existTable 'curious.Referrers' doesn't exist
This page has been accessed 8723 times since November 26, 2007.
Last modified: November 27, 2007 11:33:22 PM
Ask an Astronomer is hosted by the Astronomy Department at Cornell University and is produced with PHP and MySQL.
Warning: Your browser is misbehaving! This page might look ugly. (Details)