Terraforming Venus and Mars
I apologise for the length of the discussion.
The Salient Points about Venus and Mars.
Mass = 6.4185×1023 kg = 0.107 Earth's
Volume = 1.6318×1011 km3 = 0.151 Earth's
Surface pressure = 0.636 (0.4–0.87) kPa
Surface area 144,798,500 km2 = 0.284 Earth's
Mass = 4.868 5×1024 kg = 0.815 Earth's
Volume = 9.28×1011 km3 = 0.866 Earth's
Surface pressure = 93 bar (9.3 Mpa)
Surface area 4.60×108 km2 = 0.902 Earth's
Mass = 5.9736×1024 kg
Volume = 1.08321×1012 km3
Surface pressure = 101.325 kPa (MSL)
Surface area 510,072,000 km with 148,940,000 km2 land (29.2 %) – 361,132,000 km2 water (70.8 %)
The Terraforming of any planet will take just more than money and technology but the combine will of Humanity on Gaia to carry out the most amazing Engineering feat ever devised by Humans.
At the moment there is one major impediment for man to achieve that aim.
The fragmentation of the human race caused by religions, Nationalism, the vast disparity between the lifestyles of the people of the World. Plus man has to reduce his population burden on this planet and the adverse effect that this is having on his Home World by altering the climate.
When I look at the edifices left behind from empires that are now just names on a dusty page in the book of history of Humanity. The great wall of China, Angkor Wat, the pyramids of Egypt and of Central America and the ruins of the Incas. I also see the common will of the people to create these marvellous feats of engineering, a people united by a common purpose. Terraforming another planet to be another house for Mankind to dwell in, is a feat far greater than the abilities of a single country or even a group of countries to accomplish. It is going to take Humanity, unified with a common vision, a common purpose and a common will to bring this, the greatest and most amazing engineering feat ever to be devised by Humanity to fruition.
Until these impediments are rectified by the human race. It will not have the desire nor the will to carry out this amazing Engineering feat, that will allow him to once again increase his population without destroying Mother Earth nor his aunty Worlds that he helped to resurrect, and made suitable for life to once again exist on their surfaces.
Once this is done man will have acquired the advanced technologies and knowledge required for Humanity to cross the interstellar seas to distant lands and to explore and take his rightful place in the Universe.
The terraforming of Venus and Mars will not be easy nor be able to done in a decade or two but a minimum of one thousand years. The terraforming has to be done sequentially with some aspects of the work over lapping. For there are relevant factors to be considered before we undertake the project.
Both Mars and Venus do not have magnetic fields so the upper atmosphere of these planets is open to the solar wind which slowly strips away the atmosphere of these planets.
Mars has a solid core and is lifeless in regards to volcanic activity. Whereas Venus does have some volcanic activity as the spacecraft that have flown by Venus have detected sulphides in the atmosphere, a tell tale sign of volcanic activity. But at the present time they do not know whether there is a tectonic plate system there.
( My hypothesis is that due to the high surface pressure of 0.602 (long) Tons per square inch or 7.226 (Long) tons per square foot is enough to restrict or stop any tectonic plate activity. This intense pressure plus the pressure of the surface rocks may impede the outer mantle's flow over the inner mantle. Which unlike Earth this intense pressure is felt equally over the entire surface of the planet while pressure this intensity is only felt in the depths of the oceans on Earth. Thus preventing the core to be fluid enough to create a magnetic field. Also Venuses orbital period and rotational period are nearly equal meaning that its rotation is Sun locked. Or in other words one face of the planet is always facing the Sun. Should the core be molten enough but it is locked to the rotation of the lithosphere then there could be no plate tectonics nor a generation of a magnetic field. The planetary magnetic field that helps prevent the loss of atmospheric material by the Solar wind. While the volcanic activity helps to replenish the atmosphere with the gases need to support life forms. )
So the volume and mass of both planets will have to be increased to help retain an atmosphere and increase the overall surface area to allow for sufficient area for in Venuses case for a deep ocean to help in stabilising the atmospheric average temperature due to its closer proximity to the sun than Gaia thus receiving a greater input of energy from the sun. Whilst with Mars the surface area has to be increased to allow for shallow oceans, as the oceans here would be more for the replenishment of the atmosphere with gasses and act as a heat trap. In acting as heat trap the oceans have to be shallower than on Gaia or Venus but they have to have a larger surface area to capture what heat the planet receives from the Sun.
This increase of the surface area will also increase the mass of both planets which means that calculations have to carried out to understand the geometry and dynamics of our Solar System with three nearly equally sized planets in the orbits that they are in. Though they are nearly equal in size Venus may have a slightly greater mass than Gaia whilst Mars may be slightly less than Gaia's mass.
The other factor that has to be considered is the energy economics in Terraforming these Planets.
Whether we use human technology to alter the planets or we use technology and the debris left over from the formation of the Solar System?
Another factor to consider is the time frame required to terraform these planets. Do we have the patience to wait a minimum of a thousand years to be able to colonise these new worlds?
How do we achieve the increase of mass and volume of the Planets.
The easiest solution is to drop metallic asteroids to build up the lithosphere on the planets. While using icy asteroids to build up the gases in the atmosphere and add extra water to the planet surface.
The metallic asteroids can come from the asteroid belt while some icy asteroids can come from there as well they can also be harvested from the Kuiper belt and Oort cloud that surrounds the Solar System and are the left overs from forming the Solar System.
We have a good handle on building fission piles on Earth to produce electrical energy, so we can redesign the piles so that we can use the icy asteroids as propellant by passing it through the pile so that it heats up and vented out to produce thrust to push asteroids where ever we need them. They could also be designed to provide the power to power high thrust ion engines. These units could be connected directly on the asteroid and either use the asteroid for propellant or connected to a small icy asteroid whose material is used for as the propellant when connected to a metallic asteroid.
The size and mass of the asteroids will determine the method of insertion into the planets atmosphere and consequential impact on the planetary surface. The metallic asteroids may have to be reduced to rubble before insertion into the planetary surface. The icy asteroids can be slowed down so that they do not have to dissipate the energy of momentum in the form of heat especially with Venus as there the coldness of the asteroid is required to soak up some of the heat from the planet itself whilst supply more water and other gasses to the atmosphere.
With Venus also since it has a very high CO2 content we would also have to find materials that would soak up the CO2 and form carbonates and other carbon based compounds taking the carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere to a more satisfactory level to allow the planet to cool more adequately. We could also seed the clouds of Venus with blue-green algae engineered to soak up CO2 and convert it to other carbon compounds.
Also too, once the temperature of Venus has cooled sufficiently to establish bases there we could build a line of either vast jet or rocket engines fastened to the bedrock of the planet. Facing so the thrust produced pushes the the planet in the direction of its natural rotation so bringing the rotational speed of the planet up to point where the planet is able to naturally control its average temperatures and stabilise its own weather patterns. Thereby doing away with the need for having to create an umbrella to help the planet keep cool. Also if there is a molten core this increase in rotational velocity may induce the lithosphere to rotate at a slightly higher velocity than the core which may help induce a natural magnetic field thus helping to protect the atmosphere from high losses of its ionised gasses.
The solid mass we place on the planetary surface will have to be placed so that there is a reasonable and even build up of the planetary sphere.
Moon bases will have to be set-up first to build and maintain a fleet of ships that will be required to carry out the work of guiding the asteroids to their designated planet. The moon bases will also act as the assembly point for provisions and stores for the Way Stations.
Way Stations will also have to be built at Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. These way stations will provide provisioning for the asteroid shepherd ships as well as being set-up so as to provide help in emergencies. They should be built sequential so that the next way station that is being built uses the previously built way station as a staging post for its construction. Some way stations could also possibly be built in the orbits of the outer planets so cutting rescue delays down to a more acceptable level thereby decreasing the amount of human lives lost on the project as accidents are bound to occur as space is a harsh mistress!
These way stations are also observatories so that we can learn more about the Universe and the local stellar neighbourhood. As well as helping with the location of suitable asteroid candidates for the use by the Terraforming project.
The foregoing are my personal ideas on what we require to do terraform Venus and Mars. What we learn about terraforming these planets will assist us to terraform an exoplanet should we find an exoplanet that is devoid of life and close to our home world.
I'll need to do some reading before I can respond =)
But I wonder why you'd want to terraform a hellhole like Venus.
That's Ok! I have been reading and thinking about the terraforming of planets for a very long time not just in our system either. In fact since I was a teenager when I read a sci-fi story that mentioned terraforming a exoplanet.
As for Venus, yes it is a hell hole at the moment due to its proximity to the sun and the fact that its planetary rotation period is nearly equal to its solar orbit period. Just like our moon presents one face to us, so does Venus to the sun.
But we like to think of ourselves as smart, so why not use our smarts to terraform Venus as well. Having three planets that we can live on means that we can afford to have a population more than what one or even two planets can support without making them uninhabitable! We're going to need the population if we want to sail the interstellar seas and learn more about our place in the galaxy and the Universe.
I forgot to mention with Venus is that we also have to be careful how much methane we introduce in to its atmosphere because it is a potent hothouse gas!
This sounds like an astronomer and technology engineer nightmare; why not look further ?
Because they are in this system and we as a species want to breed like rabbits and with one world we cannot do that but add two extra planets we can openly live on means that the species could have double our present population without degrading all three planets. That is not counting the populations living on the moons of this planetary system or living aboard space stations orbiting planets and the sun itself.
To go further out we at the moment do not have the technology to cover the vast expanses of space to another star.
Yes it is a technical and logistical nightmare but that sort of nightmare did not stop the builders of the great wall of China nor the other man-made marvels of the world. They just went ahead and did it overcoming obstacles as they went. But space is a harsh mistress and no-one hears your screams in space! That is why it has to be meticulously planned but even with the meticulous planning there are obstacles that arise that were not apparent when we planned this feat of engineering.
My own thoughts are by the time the planets are suitable for human colonists we will have the technology to begin exploring our neighbourhood!
well I hope so but maybe this will not happen in our lifetime...
No it wont be in our life times but in our great (x40) children's lifetime they maybe the ones doing the colonising.
This feat is going to be an interdisciplinary achievement! :-)
I forgot about the astrophysicits and others