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Can we Terraform Mars into Another Earth?

By: Ray Wu

Today, the Earth is being polluted. Since the damage is irreversible, scientists are thinking outside of the box. Scientists are thinking about outside-of-the-box answers.

Many astronomers dream about turning Mars into another Earth. Mars has had a similar history to Earth. But there is one short answer: No. There are too many adjustments needed to make Mars like Earth.

Before, about 3.8 billion years ago, Mars could have sustained life. Water flowed and covered 1/3 of the planet. Mars’ magnetic field still existed back then; it protectedMars from the radiation from the sun. The climate then was like Earth right now. The atmosphere was much thicker. The only problem was Mars’ gravity. Mars could have supported life. Now, Mars’ magnetic field was destroyed by the radiation. Since of the destruction of the magnetic field, many life-supporting factors no longer exist. Temperatures can drop below freezing. All the water froze into ice or became vapor.

If you ever thought the power of gravity doesn’t affect how we live, you’re wrong. I’ll tell you why. Gravity affects our spine’s development and sustenance. With little or no gravity, there is less pressure on our spines. This allows more fluid between the vertebrae. This enlarges the spine and the space in the rib cage. With too much gravity, there is more tension on our spines, resulting in a shorter spine, and less space in the rib cage. At least, someone’s organs will become cramped.

Therefore, we need to change Mars’s gravity, magnetic field, atmospheric gas thickness, water levels (matter stage), and temperature. Let's address these step by step.

If we are going to change the gravity of Mars, then how? Many think that we could add mass to the planet. Although that is the easy answer, who knows if it works? Plus, how will we know precisely how much to add, and where will we get the mass from?

What about the magnetic field? How do we make a large field and a weak force, like Earth’s magnetic field? One possibility is to somehow liquefy Mars’ outer core. This will most likely work. But how will we liquify Mars’ outer core? We could use a huge nuclear bomb to liquify the outer core. Mars’ outer core is a giant. We would need to use a lot of energy, which we don’t have. Guess what? That is more energy than you can even think of! We will have a lot of trouble achieving this crucial step as well.

Who says that we should skip the atmosphere? We breathe about once every 3 to 5 seconds when we’re resting. This allows CO2 to enter the body until we take our next breath. The atmosphere on Mars is too thin. Even if Mars had a similar atmosphere to Earth, not enough air can power our bodies. We need to change and thicken the atmosphere so that we can create a breathable environment.

The good news is that if we add a magnetic field, we’ll change the temperature and water (matter wise) simultaneously. This means that we can basically skip this step.

Scientists predict that it will take 50 to 100 million years to completely terraform Mars into another Earth. There is another big question to that. Is it worth all that effort and time to make another planet to live on, or could we just have control of our population and protect our environment now?

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