If Mars ice is water, dismal for terraformers?

It’s not carbon dioxide apparently.

I thought water was good. I know carbon dioxide would be useful for the whole greenhouse thing. I’m sure we can figure out a way to produce carbon dioxide on Mars, right? Or, is it really “dismal” for terraformers?

The notion of water being on Mars is being highly overrated. In fact, you could also say that every report on the issue is being hyped and given a fantastic amount of spin by a space agency looking to draw heavy extra financing.


Who’s hyping what, huh?

Oh, were that Carl Sagan were here…

It would have taken thousands - heck tens of thousands of years to “terraform” Mars into a thin-altitude place where no terra-born tree would grow.

It’d be easier to terraform Venus.

The Moons of Jupiter - in particular Europa - someway somehow contain all the stuff of life (CHON) and gravitational-friction keeps it warm. Indeed - the Galileo spacecraft is soon to be steered into Jupiter so the pristine Europa is not contaminated.

One of the reasons that water is “bad” for terraformers is that it might mean that there’s life on Mars. Which, of course, people would want to protect, even if it were microbes. Nevermind that any terraforming project would likely take centuries, if not thousands of years to complete. Plenty of time for Martian microbes to adapt to the changing conditions and survive, if not thrive.

There is thought to be a lot of frozen CO[sub]2[/sub] in Mars’s crust, but we don’t know for certain. Personally, I say, “Screw it!” if there are any “Martians.” They’ve been out-evolved by a bunch of monkeys and we’re gonna take over their planet.

No kidding. If they are any kind of microbes at all they will act like the Andromeda Strain and at least put up a good fight.

I still don’t understand why we can’t produce carbon dioxide on Mars, if that is what we want to do.
Corbomite: can we inhabit any of the moons of Jupiter? I’m looking into speculative real estate.

Beagle, we can, it just won’t be as easy as we once thought. One of the terraforming plans was to cover the caps with algae. These would help to absorb sunlight, and heat the CO[sub]2[/sub] in the caps so it could sublime into the atmosphere and start warming up that cold rock. Now, that doesn’t seem possible.

However it may, in fact, make terraforming easier, now that I think about it. Since there’s large amounts of water ice on Mars, that means that there’s oxygen for us to tap into. I don’t have the figures handy, but Robert A. Heinlein ran the numbers once and showed that you’d get more solar power from a “sun farm” on Mars than you would on Earth, even taking into account the lower levels of sunlight that Mars recieves. (I’m going somewhere with all of this, trust me.) A sun farm, splitting the water into hydrogen and oxygen, would be able to provide plenty of oxygen so that we could combine it with carbon and thus spew CO[sub]2[/sub] into the atmosphere. We’d also have a source of hydrogen fuel for whatever we wanted (can’t have too much hydrogen, I always say).

Probably why folks are kind of “unhappy” with the Martian polar caps turning out to be water is that they now have to go back to the drawing board and figure out new ways of terraforming Mars.

It seems like the trick is getting anything biological at all to happen on Mars. Once that hurdle is jumped, anything is possible - IMO.

Well water vapour is a greenhouse gas as well. If also means an increase in the amount of Hydrogen available. The extra hydrogen we could churn out methane just by basic chemistry. Methane is a more efficient greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, I think.

As for Venus, how is speeding up a planets rotation, cooling it down and then importing water easier than heating Mars?

It’d be a lot easier to terraform Venus, if only because its gravity is so much closer to Earth’s.

Now if we could only check it for life… [sigh]

*Originally posted by The Vorlon Ambassador’s Aide *
**It’d be a lot easier to terraform Venus, if only because its gravity is so much closer to Earth’s.

Ok. How?

*Originally posted by The Vorlon Ambassador’s Aide *
**It’d be a lot easier to terraform Venus, if only because its gravity is so much closer to Earth’s.

Ok. How would it be easier?

Question: Assuming that it is mostly water and that there are no easily accessable CO2 deposits on Mars. Would carbon be readily availabe anyway?

So, basically, the first thing that we shoud ask when we get to a new planet: “Got any Injuns we can kill?”

DaLovin’ Dj


Mass of Atmosphere is 2.5x10^16 kg with 95% being CO2 so there should be plenty of carbon and no need to mine it out of the ground.

What? You’re going to deny terrestrial algae and bacteria the chance to spread to other planets. You’d take that opportunity away from them? :slight_smile:

Look, if Mars had some kind of animal life, say something on the order of a mouse, I’d be all for protecting it, but microbial life? Come on! Sealing off an entire planet because of amobas is pretty stupid, IMHO. IAC, folks wil eventually terraform Mars if there’s only microbial life. I have a feeling that we humans like planets and that sooner or later, some future Bill Gates-type is going to look at the crowded Earth, crowded orbital colonies, point to an empty Mars and say, “You know, we’ve got a whole planet going to waste here…”

DJ, we mercilessly slaughter life all the time. The fact they are strange bacteria don’t change the fact that they are bacteria, and we kill bacteria all the time. Save them for science, hell yeah. Preserve because they deserve it, hell no.

I hate that about us. Unfortunately, I lack the ability to gain my energy from the sun. Evolution has set things up so that I must kill (or use things others have killed) to survive.

What gauge should we use to decide whether a species is worth destroying for more real estate? Is it acceptable to eliminate a non-threatning species in its home environment so that we can turn the planet into Earth 2? How advanced must a species be for it to become immoral to transform their habitat?

DaLovin’ Dj

There wouldn’t be as many problems with the atmosphere escaping into space over time. Once the surface temperature cooled off, it would be easier for Earth-based life to exist there (at least, non-aquatic life) than it would on Mars, as life adapted to 1 G on Earth could more easily be transplanted to the new planet. Additionally, I think Venus has more of a magnetic field than Mars does (although I could be mistaken), which helps in a variety of ways.