Slowly but surely we are consuming Earths resources. We are not in danger yet, but if we do not change the way we treat our own planet, we may be forced to find a new home. One of the planets that is mentioned the most in this regard is Mars. Affectionately known as the Red Planet, Mars has sparked the imagination of scientists and fiction writers alike. But what does it really take to make a barren planet such as Mars livable? There is potential there, but it is going to take years before any real progress is made.
Scientists speculate it may take about a hundred years for Mars to become relatively human-friendly. Unfortunately, it may take much longer for us to recreate the exact combination of oxygen, carbon dioxide, and nitrogen that we are accustomed to here on Earth.
The terraforming needs to start somewhere, so in the first year when the new colonists arrive, robots can begin mining rocks for fluorine, which can later be used to create perfluorinated compounds, otherwise known as PFCs. PFCs are gasses that help trap heat in the atmosphere. Then humans are left to the Sun and its rays. It is speculated that four hours of Sun on Mars generate more energy than all of Earth’s nuclear weapons combined.
The next phase of terraforming begins in some 50 years. As heat builds up because of the PFCs in the atmosphere, the ice caps on the planet start to melt. This, in turn, creates lakes and streams. We see the first effects of climate change as snowstorms begin and rain sweeps all over the Martian plains. Now there is a chance for microbes and small plants accustomed to polar environments to survive. Conditions are not ideal, but they are changing for the better.
Another 50 years pass and now we begin seeing major changes. The skies are becoming bluer than the ones we have on Earth now. Trees are starting to emerge and thrive and they start affecting the breathability of the once inhospitable Red Planet. But things are still far from ideal. The temperatures and the pressure on the planet are getting more and more comfortable. Space suits are not needed for traversing Mars’ plains anymore. Unfortunately, the air is so full of carbon-monoxide that people cannot survive without oxygen masks. The temperature is now regular, and it ranges from as low as 45 degrees Fahrenheit to as high as 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
Over the next couple of thousand millennia, not much may change. A major change can be expected around 102,165 AD. The temperatures are still stable and still range from 45 degrees to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Plant life is at its peak now, and plants have become the most important thing on our new homeworld. After years of photosynthesis, trees have flourished, crops are growing and producing huge yields. The is even a slight chance that flowers that serve a purely decorative purpose are beginning to emerge and fill the air with not only oxygen but their pleasant scent as well. After the long wait, the air is finally breathable and people walk around without the need for oxygen masks. Mars has been colonized almost completely. Unfortunately, none of us have any chance of witnessing this, but just the fact that it is possible makes everything we do on Earth that much more important.
Alexandra grew up dreaming of being a great science explorer. She always wanted to travel the world and explore some of the greatest science mysteries of the times. After high school, she studied chemistry in college and spent most of her summers working on research projects alongside her professors. It was there that Alexandra got clarity about what she wanted to do in the future. She now works full time in science research at a teaching university and is planning to go to medical school in a few years. She likes to stay up-to-date with the latest discoveries in science and share her love for science through her writing.