Here’s what I’ve been learning from the National Geographic: Exploring Space issue:
Terraforming is changing a landscape to make it habitable. If one were to terraform Mars, which in this article we are led to believe is possible, we would have to give Mars an atmosphere to heat it up and create life from the microscopic level up until we can add plants that will put oxygen in the air.
This process would take 1000 years to do and make Mars a place where we could just walk out there almost like we do outside here everyday, except even after 100 years there still wouldn’t be enough oxygen to breathe without supplemental gear.
Interestingly, to create an atmosphere we’d have to purposefully emit tons of greenhouse gases like we’re trying not to do here. We’d make huge factories to spew out carbon dioxide because on Mars we’d want global warming. Imagine those campaign ads: “This candidate shipped all our good manufacturing jobs off-planet. What a cheater!”
The trip to Mars is a six month ride, which doesn’t seem that impossible. I feel like everyone has said in the past, “It’s too far! It will take too long!” But lately it seems like we’ve been sending troops away on assignments that seem like they’ve lasted years to places that would probably be just as dangerous as this would be, but this mission sounds like actual fun, and you wouldn’t have to kill anyone.
It would be nice for us to work together to make some kind of colony up there. Humans need some greater effort to take part in rather than fighting over land that’s been explored and claimed thousands of times over. They say a colony on Mars would be like a research station in the arctic for those first 1000 years, but there would still be tons of people who would love to play a role in taking us to the next new frontier.