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Tuesday, 2 May 2017

The Universe in 101 words: Could Mars be bought back to life?

Above: The dessicated plains of Mars today.

Well how did Mars die? 

Simple*: Its core froze, killing its protective magnetic field and letting the solar wind strip the atmosphere away. 

But...

Simulations suggest that, if the field were replaced, Mars would naturally heal: CO2 (a greenhouse gas) would build up, increase temperatures, and evaporate more CO2 from the ice caps – a runaway effect, thickening the atmosphere. Ices would melt, forming oceans and an atmosphere thick enough to support plant life. 

NASA’s got an idea how: Station a giant electromagnet near the planet, to act as a prosthetic magnetic field. 

It’s a mad idea**… but those sometimes work… 

*By which I mean: Actually quite complicated, but I'll sum it up in a simple way because I've only got 101 words to get to the terraforming stuff..

**Not in the sense of ‘let’s harness ten thousand rabbits into an army with hypnosis’ mad idea, but more like a ‘let’s actually run in the charity marathon this year’ kind of mad idea.


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Above: An artists impression of a terraformed Mars.

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