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Sep 16, 2018

Scientists Say We Can’t Terraform Mars. Elon Musk Says We Can

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, Elon Musk, engineering, environmental, space

SpaceX’s CEO shrugs off 20 years of NASA research.


SORRY, ELON. To be ready for human occupants, Elon Musk has long called Mars a “fixer-upper of a planet.” But according to a new NASA-sponsored study, a better description might be a “tear-down.” The scientists behind that project say it’s simply not possible to terraform Mars — that is, change its environment so that humans can live there without life support systems — using today’s technology.

BUILDING AN ATMOSPHERE. Mars has a super thin atmosphere; a human unprotected on the surface of Mars would quickly die, mostly because there’s not enough atmospheric pressure to prevent all your organs from rupturing out of your body (if you survived a little longer, you could also suffocate from lack of oxygen, freeze from low temperatures, or get fried from too much ultraviolet radiation).

This study, published Monday in the journal Nature Astronomy, considers how difficult it would be to increase the atmospheric pressure on the Red Planet enough so that humans can walk on Mars’s surface without a pressurized suit and, ideally, without a breathing apparatus.

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  • Bennie Beaver on September 16, 2018 7:26 am

    I can agree with NASA study that it would be difficult to terraform Mars, but agree with Elon Musk in not accepting can’t conclusions just yet.

    Of course, I’ve suggested a more long range space elevator plan on Europa to elevate water from beneath the ice cap to space, and propel water droplets to Mars for terraforming: assuming no valued life form on Europa harmed.

    Otherwise, wondering just how much proof there is that there is not much more water on Mars below the surface.

    Elon Musk is going to Mars and we will soon find out just what is possible on Mars.

  • Michael Lorrey on September 19, 2018 1:40 pm

    I love how NASA which claims we are changing the climate drastically even catastrophically here on Earth, says it is impossible to change the climate on Mars.
    Fact is, building an automated factory that simply dumps out CFCs into the atmosphere, produced from common minerals in Martial regolith, would warm the atmosphere by a few degrees, over 30 years, enough to trigger the outgassing of enough CO2 to create an atmospheric pressure exceeding 300 millibars, about the air pressure between Lhasa, TIbet and Mt Everest. Pure CO2 of course, so you need an O2 mask, but no pressure suit would be needed. Then you introduce plants to convert CO2 to O2. You will have a temperate climate over 75% of the planet within 30 years.