Terraforming is the process of transforming a hostile environment into one apposite for a particular variety of life either human or alien.
The term was coined by Jack Williamson in a science-fiction story (“Collision Orbit”) published in 1942 in Astounding Science Fiction, but the concept may predate this work.
Since Mars is the most Earth-like planet, it is the best claimant for terraforming. Once, just the subject of science fiction novels, it is now becoming a viable research area. The famous astronomer and Pulitzer prize winner, Carl Sagan, says that there is monumental promise in the search for ancient life on Mars. If life was once sustainable on Mars, it is important to know what decimated the population and caused Mars to evolve into the gelid and comatose planet it is today. With this knowledge, we can terraform Mars by reversing the process.
NASA scientists believe that amongst all reachable planets, it is technologically possible at the present time to at least conceptualise of producing considerable global climate changes on Mars, allowing humans to live there. Successfully terraforming the planet Mars ,could ultimately help solve the problem of overpopulation on earth, help to preserve our species, and could lead to new sources of minerals and energy.
But this will be an onerous task. Raising Mars’s atmospheric pressure and surface temperature , are the two biggest challenges, followed by producing sufficient quantities of water there.
The temperature of Mars must be raised by a minimum of 60 degrees from the existing temperature. One approach is to heat portions of the surface of Mars with giant orbiting mylar mirrors spanning 125 km. in diameter. Some 200,000 tons of mylar would be required to build these solar mirrors, and they would have to be constructed in space, using power from nuclear reactors.
The atmospheric pressure on Mars is far below the level at which people can survive without pressure suits. Martian atmosphere can be pressurized to life-sustaining levels by populating it with enough CO2 or other green housing gases. The planet’s atmosphere must be populated with enough breathable air and sufficient densities of oxygen, and a portion of the planet will need to be populated with adequate quantities of accessible water.
An approach is to blare an ammonia-containing asteroid toward Mars, which upon impact would create enough energy to melt a trillion tons of its frozen water, resulting in a warmer atmosphere, and would cover about a quarter of the surface of Mars with about 1 meter deep water.
The successful terraforming of Mars could lead to its replication on similar planets elsewhere in the galaxy. However, using existing technologies, energy required for terraforming Mars for us will take about 1,000 years!
Besides, the economic wherewithal required to do so are far beyond that which any government or society is willing to allocate to the purpose. The long time scales and intricacies of terraforming are other reason this may not see fruition. Other unanswered questions relate to the ethics, logistics, economics, politics, and methodology of altering the environment of an extraterrestrial world.
Now consider the antithesis : An alien civilization, a thousand years more advanced than us. They may be gigantic creatures, and we may appear lilliputians to them. Else they may be much more sophisticated than us and deconstruct us as barbarians. In either case , we would be deemed unworthy of sharing living space with them and as such fit for extirpation by them, just the way we try to kill mosquitoes!
These aliens then plant an atmospheric converter ( a kind of machine ) at an arcane location on planet earth. This releases a catalyst that mixes with our air and converts it into an atmosphere that’s alien-friendly but fatal for us. Maybe it could convert all our oxygen to Methane , this would be enough to deracinate us earthlings, but let their ilk flourish !
Likewise, there are terraforming theories that may be applied to our own planet in an attempt to expiate the environmental damage done by pollution and deforestation and improve its ecology for mankind to survive here long. One popular project that has been explored is the planetary engineering of our deserts to make them inhabitable. Shimizu Corporation’s Desert Aqua-Net is one popularly discussed project. This futuristic project involves building a series of canals and lakes in the Sahara Desert. The canals run water from the oceans to the lakes, and each of the lakes has a man-made island at its center with large forests of eucalyptus trees. People could migrate and lead a comfortable life in this otherwise desiccated land. The eucalyptus forests could effectively cool the planet and offset the production of CO2 caused by the burning of fossil fuels besides all other so called developmental activities.
If achieved, our own terraforming here on earth could lead to engineered climate change and arable soil expansion, ease overpopulation, and lead to new sources of food and renewable natural resources such as trees. However, any of these fantastic projects can only take place once technologies such as nuclear fusion and long-distance manned spaceflight come to fruition. But no harm in dreaming , because everything is considered impossible till someone does it, said Nelson Mandela !
Contextual Meaning(s) : Noun; the juxtaposition of contrasting words or ideas to give a feeling of balance; exact opposite
Synonyms : oppositeness
Contextual Meaning(s) : Adjective; being of striking appropriateness and pertinence
Synonyms : appropriate, pertinent
Contextual Meaning(s) : Adjective; requiring secret or mysterious knowledge
Synonyms : mysterious
Contextual Meaning(s) : Noun; land that is fit for planting crops
Other Meaning(s) : Adjective; describes the land that can be cultivated for growing crops Synonyms : land suitable for cultivation
Contextual Meaning(s) : Noun; uncultured or uncivilized people
Synonyms : savages
Contextual Meaning(s) : Verb; to make a loud harsh noise, e.g. speakers blaring rock music Synonyms : blast, boom
Contextual Meaning(s) : Noun; noun something that causes an important event to happen;
Other Meaning(s) : (chemistry) a substance that initiates or accelerates a chemical reaction without itself being affected
Synonyms : accelerator
Contextual Meaning(s) : Adjective; in a state of deep and usually prolonged unconsciousness; unable to respond to external stimuli; relating to or associated with a coma
Synonyms : unconscious
Contextual Meaning(s) : Noun; person trying for position, person desiring a job
Synonyms : applicant, suitor, candidate
Contextual Meaning(s) : Verb; to form a concept
Synonyms : conceive
Contextual Meaning(s) : Verb; destroyed completely
Synonyms : razed
Contextual Meaning(s) : Verb; interpret (a text or an artwork) or understand
Synonyms : interpret
Contextual Meaning(s) : Verb; pull up as if by the roots; destroy
Other Meaning(s) : move (people) forcibly from their homeland into a new and foreign environment
Synonyms : uproot, , displace
Contextual Meaning(s) : Adjective; thoroughly dried out;
Other Meaning(s) : lacking vitality or spirit; lifeless; preserved by removing natural moisture
Synonyms : arid
Contextual Meaning(s) : Verb; make amends for
Synonyms : atone
Contextual Meaning(s) : Noun; the act of pulling up or out; uprooting; cutting off from existence;
Other Meaning(s) : surgical removal of a body part or tissue
Synonyms : excision, ablation, cutting out
Contextual Meaning(s) : Adjective; existing or coming from somewhere outside Earth and its atmosphere
Other Meaning(s) : Noun; alien, a living being that comes from outside Earth, especially in science fiction
Synonyms : outside Earth, outer space
Contextual Meaning(s) : Noun; especially in science fiction, a human being opposed to an extraterrestrial or supernatural being
Other Meaning(s) : worldling, somebody who concentrates on everyday matters
Synonyms : human being, inhabitant of earth
Contextual Meaning(s) : Adjective; bringing death; having extremely unfortunate or dire consequences; bringing ruin
Other Meaning(s) : controlled or decreed by fate; predetermined; having momentous consequences; of decisive importance; (of events)
Synonyms : mortal
Contextual Meaning(s) : Noun; enjoyment derived from use or possession; the condition of bearing fruit; something that is made real or concrete
Synonyms : realization
Contextual Meaning(s) : Adjective; extremely cold
Synonyms : glacial, icy, polar
Contextual Meaning(s) : Adjective; so exceedingly large or extensive as to suggest a giant or mammoth
Synonyms : gargantuan
Contextual Meaning(s) : Noun; a kind of person
Synonyms : type
Contextual Meaning(s) : Noun; people who are tiny
Other Meaning(s) : inhabitants of fictional place “lilliput”
Synonyms : pigmies
Contextual Meaning(s) : Noun; the character of something that has many aspects or parts arranged together in a particularly complex or artful way, e.g. a carving of incredible intricacy
Synonyms : complexity, details
Contextual Meaning(s) : Adjective; of outstanding significance; relating or belonging to or serving as a monument;
Other Meaning(s) : imposing in size or bulk or solidity
Synonyms : massive, monolithic
Contextual Meaning(s) : Noun; a trademark for a thin strong polyester film
Synonyms : trademark
Contextual Meaning(s) : Adjective; not easily borne; wearing
Synonyms : burdensome, taxing
Contextual Meaning(s) : Verb; establish something as being earlier relative to something else; be earlier in time; go back further;
Other Meaning(s) : prey on or hunt for; come before
Synonyms : antedate, precede,
Contextual Meaning(s) : Adjective: capable of life or normal growth and development; capable of being done with means at hand and circumstances as they are
Synonyms : feasible, workable
Contextual Meaning(s) : Noun; the necessary means (especially financial means)
Synonyms : resources