I have to admit, I was pretty fascinated by the idea of terraforming Mars ever since I saw an IMAX movie discussing the subject during my space camp week, um, a few years back … or so. While I am more interested in permanent space colonies (e.g., Star Trek: Deep Space Nine ), I am also very interested in multi-planetary human habitation and transformation of the Martian environment, rather than constantly struggling to survive in this makes me open my idea.
This, and the fact that Elon Musk has a successful rocket company founded with long-term occupation of Mars as its primary objective, are convenient motivators. T-shirts are also a big plus. The theme is again on the headlines (with a brand new T-shirt that needs to be worn) and the players occupy their usual places on the board.
Musk has doubled down on his strategy for thermal formation, tweeting "Nuke Mars" And then, "T-shirt soon." "He explained a little more a few days later in response to radiation problems," Nuke Mars refers to a continuous stream of very low explosions of fusion over the atmosphere to create artificial suns. Like our sun, this would not cause Mars to become radioactive. "Many articles were then written or mentioned in response, all arguing that calculations for such a feat were either unlikely or nearly impossible as a viable solution for thermal formation. I will not pretend to have an opinion based on numbers because, to be honest, I have always wondered if it would matter if it was possible. Working through a clean energy policy is hard enough when we just talk about converting to battery electric vehicles, like what Tesla does to reduce fossil fuel use.
Then, when you include nuclear energy in the mix as a zero-emission option, the fighting really erupts, thanks to the horrific consequences of the nuclear power plant's past failures and the long-term effects that nuclear weapons have caused in wartime. It doesn't really matter if science says it's pretty safe with current technology – fear of the consequences outpaces any discussion driven by data. So when someone like Elon Musk says that he wants to use Mars technology that fights so much on Earth, it really feels like a lot of adoration for nothing because he will never get the green light, let alone gather resources, needed for
A different concept that seems a bit more acceptable to the scientific community includes reflecting satellites. Musk took to Twitter to say, "It might make sense to have thousands of satellites on its solar reflectors to warm Mars against artificial suns (tbd)." Because SpaceX is already producing satellites on a scale that will needed for a similar undertaking with Starlink, the feasibility factor has more points than the thousands of nuclear bombs needed for artificial sun near Mars. And, hey! Solar power (gain) for profit, right?
However, I am not sure if NASA will recognize this strategy, since in principle, they have already put out terraforming as an option in their view. A study published by the agency in July 2018 was pretty clear in its conclusions:
"Mars does not retain enough carbon dioxide that could practically be returned to the atmosphere to warm Mars, according to a new NASA sponsored release. study. Turning a hostile Martian environment into a place that astronauts could explore without sustaining life is not possible without technology far beyond today's capabilities. "- Bill Steigerwald / Nancy Jones for NASA Goddard Space Flight Center