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How Can We Terraform the Solar System?

A short guide to the most likely candidates for outer space colonies.

Jelor GallegoNovember 6th 2016

Ever played Spore? If you have (and reached the space stage) you’ll know that one of the most important parts of being a space faring race is the ability to terraform planets. That’s the process of turning the hostile environment of an alien planet to one more suited for our species.

With all the focus on the final frontier of space, what will it take for humans to start terraforming? What do we need to do to transform the nearest areas in the Solar System into places humans can live in?

The video below tackles these questions.

The primary candidate for terraforming is undoubtedly Mars. But for that to happen, we have to do a few things. First, we’ll have to create an artificial atmosphere, probably by triggering a greenhouse effect using methane, carbon dioxide, or ammonia.

That’s the easy part. The hard part is creating a magnetosphere that will protect that atmosphere from harsh space weather. Earth’s spinning core is the likely source of our magnetic shield, and Mars has an inactive core.

Another candidate is Venus. It’s the inverse of Mars in the sense we’d have to remove some of its thick atmosphere. The best way would be by bombarding it with hydrogen, which will create liquid oceans that can suck part of that atmosphere.

Other candidates include Mercury, Europa, and Titan. But all that technology and effort looks decades away, and we have our own environmental problems here on Earth to worry about.

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