If we carry on ruining the planet it won’t be long before the world is uninhabitable. Or it might become too crowded. Either way, it’s always a good idea to have a Plan B.
Brave New World. Terraforming transforms another planet so that it ends up similar to Earth and humans can live there. The idea’s simple, but putting it into practice isn’t.
First, choose your planet. Mars is a popular option since it’s so near. If you set foot there now, you’d be frozen and/or gassed in an instant, but Mars does have some elements that could sustain life and it’s quite similar to the Earth billions of years ago.
The temperature has to be right for humans to live without freezing or boiling. One suggested way of doing this is to set up vast mirrors to reflect the heat of the Sun.
You don’t want everyone to have to carry huge tanks of breathable air wherever they go, so you need the right atmosphere. ‘Paraterraforming’ would be one way of doing this: simply make an enormous enclosure with a transparent roof a kilometre or two above the planet’s surface, then anchor it and pressurise it with breathable air. Hey presto.
That’s just the start, you’d also need sources of water and food. As you can see, terraforming is tricky and requires a lot of technology that doesn’t yet exist. But you never know, maybe you’ll be able to retire to Mars.
By 2020 there will be a base on the Moon. This will be the first time human beings have lived on any celestial body other than Earth. But the Moon isn’t ideal for terraforming, unlike Mars, which has similar properties to Earth.
Try to imagine what the Moon and Mars will look like when humans start to populate them – after all, it’s possible you might be around to witness both these events! What do you believe the moon base in 2020 will look like?
More Martian statistics: The atmosphere of Mars is mostly carbon dioxide and the average temperature is -62″C. A big draw for tourists is the biggest volcano in the solar system: Olympus Mons is 27 km high and 550 km wide.