While growing up, my understanding of the planets came more from the science fiction I read than my education.
Venus had a better chance of supporting life than Mars. Mercury was warm, but more like a tropical heat than blistering incineration.
Pluto was a planet.
Cut to the present. We’ve actually landed on Mars and had a look around, which helps return to us some amazing data. One such tidbit comes from this article, which explains how Mars lost much of its water not only to space as previously believed, but also within its own crust. This process takes place on Earth as well, but since the Earth’s crust is ” tectonically active” the old crust is continuously replaced by new crust and this water is returned to the atmosphere.
I’m not a geologist or astronomer and can’t provide a technical deep dive into the details of this article, but it does make fascinating reading. Additionally, it points my imagination toward a more relevant direction–can we recover this water from the crust using artificial means, keep it from escaping into the atmosphere, and restore the oceans that covered Mars billions of years ago?
In short, can we terraform Mars into a more human friendly, self-sustaining planet?
This question is not as far-fetched as it may first sound. The question is more, “when are we going to start this process”, and not “can we?” Elon Musk believes we would start life off in Martian glass domes while terraforming, according to this article. He also suggests that nuking the poles would be a good place to start.
I’ve also read articles stating how difficult terraforming Mars would be, but I believe in the spirit of humanity. We are capable of reaching heights far above our heads when we decide we must. Mars is close. Mars can be made habitable. I predict we will colonize Mars within the next fifty years, as long as someone is willing to pay the bills to do so.
I’m convinced we can do this, but why would we want to? Who would invest the money, time, and resources toward such an undertaking without some tangible return? Are there minerals or precious metals to be mined? Is there a potential tourist industry? Or do we follow that old axiom, because it’s there?
Regardless of the reason, I believe we will try. And if one country makes the effort, then others will compete to do it sooner. Eventually, we will have an opportunity to walk the soil of another planet as our first step to even greater explorations.
What do you think? Please comment below.