4th Planet from the Sun: Mars

I just finished Kim Stanley Robinson‘s 2132 so space and Mars is already on my mind.  Robinson is probably best known for his Blue/Green/Red Mars trilogy.  All of those books touch on terraforming Mars, the concept that we might alter the atmosphere — the entire planetary system — of Mars such that ultimately it could be inhabitable by humans.  Here’s a video on the idea from Michio Kaku, a Professor of Theoretical Physics at CUNY and Science-Person-On-TeeVee:

But today, we haven’t even sent a human to Mars.  Still in my lifetime the most exciting part of the space program has probably been the launch of the robot explorers of Mars.  And we’re less than a month away from the landing of the latest robot rover sent to Mars: Curiosity:

Both threads of thought are fascinating to me — the actual progress of learning more about Mars in the here and now; with the careful exploration of a dead planet’s geological history and the still hypothetical pondering of just how hard would it be to turn Mars into a version of Earth.  And to realize that these conflicting drives: to explore and learn about Mars and to turn Mars into something else — these drives could not fully co-exist if we had the technology to pursue both.

Everything I’ve read seems to agree that terraforming Mars would require three changes: warming up the planet, building up the atmosphere, and starting up a magnetic field.  In 2312, although a ton of detail is given over to it, terraforming of Mars seemed to have been accomplished by slamming asteroids into it, spinning up the planet.

Posted by Xaviar Xerexes in Blog, 2 comments
You Are Made of Stars

You Are Made of Stars

A wonderful comic interpretation of an inspirational astrophysics quote from astronomer and science populist Neil DeGrasse Tyson.

Posted by Xaviar Xerexes in Comics, 0 comments