Copyright © 2006 by Shaun Moss. Published by The Mars Society with permission.
As humankind heads into space, one of our primary goals is to find new worlds to settle. Mars stands out as far and away the most practical choice to begin this next phase of human civilization.
Apart from its relative closeness, one of the main reasons for this is MarsŐs potential for terraforming. The red planetŐs characteristics, while representing challenges, offer an opportunity for the manifestation of a vision which has permeated human thought since the dawn of science fiction – another planet that humans can walk on without the need for a spacesuit; a planet with air, water, soil, plants and animals.
Numerous thinkers have contributed to the development of terraforming strategies. This paper expands on previous work, incorporating our current understanding of Mars as well as emerging technologies.
The result is a strategy that incorporates past ideas with several new ones. Terraforming is organised into 3 primary tasks: increasing the temperature, building the atmosphere, and implanting the biosphere. These are implemented in stages, favouring solutions that are controllable yet still fast. The use of robotics and genetic engineering are emphasized, based on the assumption that these technologies will be much more advanced, probably even commonplace, during the 21st – 22nd century.