Can We Really Terraform Mars, Venus, And The Moon With Today's Technology?

Can We Really Terraform Mars, Venus, And The Moon With Today's Technology?

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Mars has been a spot of attraction for  everyone on Earth recently. You might   have heard of organisations planning to  go on mars. But for just a normal person,   what will that realistically look like? A lot of organisations have sent their probes on  mars and many more are planning. It has also been   a favourite theme in movies, with martians  coming to our planet. But the reality is a   bit different. Humans are the ones going to mars  and even capture it. The main question today is,  

How? And once we get there, how are we going to  survive Long-term? The red planet’s atmosphere   is mostly carbon dioxide. The surface is very  cold and the gravity is only about 38% that of   earth. All conditions not favourable for  human life. But they can be changed. NASA   has already announced its plan to send humans  to mars by 2030, and SpaceX plans to do so by   2024 only. But once we get there we can use  modern day state of the art technologies and   models to terraform mars. In this article we  will discuss how we will live and flourish on   mars. In the first section we will talk about  what happened to the red planet in the first   place and then how we will build habitation, grow  food and other necessities and survive on mars.

Scientists believe Mars was very different from  the way it is now. It had much more sustainable   conditions for life before, with water flowing  on the surface. Some even believe life might have   existed on mars before. The molten iron convecting  in the planet’s core generated a powerful dynamo  

that sent waves of magnetism emanating out from  the planet; this magnetosphere protected the   planet from solar radiation. It was a time when  fresh volcanic activities started building up an   atmosphere comparable to that of Earth. The heat  trapped allowed the moisture to cycle around the   planet as part of the hydrosphere supplying water  for rivers to flow, with a potential of biology.   However over a period of time this magnetic  generation stopped because of the cooling of the   planet's core and the panel was left vulnerable to  the never-ending barrage from the sun. Eventually   the air was stripped away and the surface was  exposed. The water retreated beneath the ground  

as ice and mars became barren as we see it today.  But scientists have a model to bring back the lost   magnetism of the planet. It’s one of the hardest  methods but if scientists can figure out a way to   execute it 50% of all the other problems could  be solved. We can supplement the magnetic field  

by placing a magnetic device at the Lagrange’s  position of the planet. The competing gravity   of the sun and planet counterbalance one another  locking objects into a stable position between the   two bodies. If enough magnetism can be generated  at this point a trail can be cleared behind for   mars to take shelter in if we humans are in  fact capable of working together to finance   design engineer construct and implement such  a device. With its magnetism recovering the  

atmosphere will begin to build up and trap more  air and heat. Pretty soon dense clouds would rise   over the martian skies providing the seeds of  weather. Ice would dominate the contents of the   clouds at first coming to the surface as snow or  frost but with a building atmosphere eventually   water would converge in the air and fall to the  surface as rain. This will mark the foundation of   a water cycle. Eventually we would see a flow  of rivers and pools over the martian surface.  There is also another way suggested by  scientists for tapping into resources of   water. A solar-powered device which will use  a special metal- organic framework (MOF) to   pull water out of the air in conditions as  low as 20 percent humidity. This device can  

harbour about 3.2 quarts of water from air  in 11 hours using two pounds of MOF. Such a   device can be really helpful for making  water readily available on the planet. The first step on terraforming Mars would be  obviously reaching it first. In the past years  

we have witnessed the change in technology of  landing used by NASA. Now, many organisations are   planning to land their landers and rovers on the  red planet. Soon they will land humans too. But   after reaching the planet scientists will study  the planet for solutions of residing on the planet   long-term. But what are the current models that  have been proposed? Well, NASA is already on this  

problem and there have been different prototypes  for a sustainable habitat on Mars. The common   idea among these prototypes are- they will be  self-sustaining, sealed against thin atmospheres   and capable of supporting life for a long time.  Just like the ISS, which has taught humans a lot   to survive in unfamiliar environments, Mars space  stations will be a challenge worth taking. We’ll   need things like environmental control and  life support systems (ECLSS), power systems,   docking ports, and air locks so that crew  can perform space walks to repair things   that break or to add new capabilities. Also the  trip to mars will be a long journey. It will have  

psychological effects on astronauts. Even though  they are trained for this. To cope up with this,   these prototypes are supposed to have larger  space for each astronaut. The scientists on the   ISS who were in space, simply needed more space!  NASA also has a plan of keeping the base like an   igloo. Also known as the Mars Ice Home, it is  an inflatable inner tube-like structure that   would incorporate materials extracted from the  planet and encased by a shell of ice. The idea   behind using ice is that water is a very good  shielding material against radiation. Radiation   will be one of the most important challenges  to solve on Mars. Though suits will be made  

more advanced but also the bases. Prolonged  exposure to the radiation can cause cancer   or even acute radiation sickness. We can also  build underground bases beneath the surface,   but the ice base is a better option. The daylight  will be able to pass through without making it   like a cave. Mars is farther away from the sun  than Earth and hence is cold. As mentioned above,  

without a thick atmosphere, unlike earth it  is exposed to radiation and cold. Living on   Mars will require special habitats that can  provide warm temperatures (and breathable air). Another challenge would be Growing food on mars.  Keeping the food and medicine supplies stocked   on Mars is the best way to make a habitat  self-sustaining, but with a thin atmosphere   and reduced sunlight, it can be difficult to get  anything to grow. But there are some ways that   scientists plan to grow food on mars. Research  suggests that martian soil does contain some of  

the nutrients needed for growing plants. But  because of the extremely cold conditions they   need to be grown inside a controlled environment.  Just like earth nutrients may vary on the martian   surface from place to place. Inhabitants would  need fertilisers to make the solid rich in   nutrients. Fertilisers help farmers to double or  triple their crop yields and contain 5% or more  

of primary plant nutrients. These fertilisers  also supply nutrients to the crops that some   soils do not have. Experts suggest using organic  waste or manure to do so. Mars’s atmosphere is   mostly carbon dioxide, and plants need this gas  just as much as we need oxygen to breathe. Also,   studies suggest that watering plants on Mars  could require less water than on Earth. That is   because water would flow differently through the  Martian soil, thanks to the Red Planet’s gravity,   which is approximately 38% that of Earth’s.  This will allow the surface of the planet to   hold more water and nutrients than the soil  on earth. Researchers are also developing  

sophisticated self-sustaining grow facilities  to supply future astronauts with fresh fruits   and vegetables. One such effort is being made  by NASA in collaboration with the University of   Arizona. It’s also called the Bioregenerative Life  Support System or the BLSS. It is a hydroponic   growth chamber that doesn’t need soil to produce  food. Bioregenerative life support systems are   artificial ecosystems consisting of many complex  symbiotic relationships among higher plants,   animals, and microorganisms. It starts with water  enriched with nutrients. This nutrient-enriched   water supports the root system of the plants.  The system is mutually beneficial to people   and plants, as the former expel carbon dioxide,  which is absorbed by the vegetation. The plants,  

in turn, produce oxygen as part  of the photosynthetic process. When we think of mars we sometimes think of  its future as greenhouses with plants and human   civilisations colonising with modern technologies.  But those days are far away. It will still take a   lot of time to terraform mars. In the initial  trips made by the scientists and astronauts,   they will try to learn as much as possible about  the planet. Since it differs greatly from Earth,  

survival is an important skill for astronauts to  master. The initial base will probably include a   habitat and a science lab. [The inside of] these  modules will be much like the space station,   but there will be differences. Microbial  life is another threat to astronauts in   space. Without more research scientists cannot  be sure that there isn’t any dangerous microbial   life that could threaten human life. Things  will get more interesting once the base is   established and Astronauts learn the survival  skills needed. Then slowly we can focus on  

making the planet self-dependent on resources  and necessities. Slowly the farming and water   harvesting will start. Using the above methods  mentioned scientist will try to Terraform mars   and make it sustainable for living. Today  many enthusiasts like Elon Musk are already   working on making mars a permanent human  colony and they have a goal to send about   2,50,000 people to mars and set up a martian  colony. In the coming Years we will see the   first person on mars and soon a colony. The  technologies will be more advanced and even  

change. But one thing is guaranteed:  a bright future for space exploration. Terraforming Venus quickly? Fascinating, but  impossible for at least a thousand years! Why do we spend so much time looking for life on  Mars when the red planet has had liquid water for   only 400 million years... while here "two steps"  there is Venus that has hosted oceans for three   billion years and no one considers her? Isn’t it that we overlooked it a little   too much the planet that before the space  age was still considered fit for life and   perhaps covered by oceans? . Since the mid-1990s,   US scientists alone have submitted nearly 30  Venus proposals to NASA. None has been approved.  It was during the space race that scientists  discovered on Venus a torrid and toxic world.  

That could explain why interest in Venus  dwindled. Scientists quickly realized that   this planet would not be a home for future  human exploration, nor an outlet on which to   search for life. It would be downright difficult  to study at all, even for short amounts of time.  But the wind is changing... That it was due  to the controversial finding of phosphine   in its atmosphere this is not known, but in  the latest times the interest for the "twin   sister of Earth" has been increasing and NASA  has finally approved new exploratory missions.  Not only... More and more planetologists are  becoming who hypothesize for Venus the possibility  

of terraforming. Even more than Mars! Hard to believe? Like Mars, Venus was once a vastly different  place. According to data gathered by various   missions, it is believed that  until 700 million years ago,   Venus was a warm and wet planet where oceans  covered 80% of the surface. This is actually   close to what scientists thought Venus was like  until the Soviet Venera and NASA Mariner probes   revealed what a hellish place it is today. This came to an end, apparently due to a  

near-global resurfacing event that occurred  500 million years ago, where large amounts of   magma bubbled up from the mantle and released  massive amounts of CO² into the atmosphere.  This magma would have solidified before  reaching the surface and created a barrier   preventing the atmospheric CO² from being  reabsorbed by the crust. What followed was   a runaway Greenhouse Effect that caused  severe climate change, leading to the   hostile environment that we see there today. However, if the planet could be restored to its   former self — by reversing the Greenhouse Effect  (which is possible) — then humanity would have a   planet closer to Earth that is roughly equal  in size, mass, and gravity. Let's compare: Venus is the closest planet to Earth, ranging  from a minimum distance of about 38.2 million   km to a maximum of around 261 million  km. Because of the nature of our orbits,  

Earth and Venus make their closest approach  every 584 days (1 year and 7 months),   which is known as an "inferior conjunction." In contrast, the average distance between  Earth and Mars is about 225 million km,   ranging from 55.7 million km to 401.3 million  km. Our two planets make their closest approach   every 26 months (2 years and 2 months),  which is known as an "opposition" since   the Sun and Mars are on opposite sides  of the sky (when viewed from Earth). 

So not only does Venus get closer to Earth  than Mars, but it also makes its closest   approach to us more often. This means  that missions to Venus could launch more   often and would take less time to get there. Then there's the matter of Venus' gravity,   which is the equivalent of 90% to what we  experience here on Earth. Compare this to Mars,   where the gravity is roughly 38% of Earth's.  This means that for potential settlers,   the health-related risks associated  with lower gravity would be much lower. 

Of course, Venus (as it is today) has  its share of challenges that make the   prospect of living there very difficult!  These make terraforming not only a good   idea but a potential necessity, assuming people  want to live there in large numbers. Otherwise,   they will need to be happy living in floating  cities among the clouds (an actual possibility!) For starters, Venus is the hottest planet  in the Solar System, with an average surface   temperature of 464 °C - which is hot enough to  melt metals like lead and zinc. The atmosphere   is also a toxic fume, composed overwhelmingly of  carbon dioxide with trace amounts of nitrogen,   sulfur dioxide, and water vapor. However, unlike Mars, atmospheric   pressure on Venus is 90 times the pressure of  Earth's atmosphere. To experience that kind  

of pressure here on Earth, a person would  have to venture over 910 meters under the   sea. So unless you have a vehicle that  can withstand extreme heat and pressure,   you're not getting anywhere near the surface. As if that weren't enough, Venus' atmosphere   is also permeated by clouds of sulfuric acid  rain. These have been observed in Venus' upper   atmosphere and may not condense closer to the  surface. But spacecraft attempting to land on the  

surface must first penetrate this acidic shroud. Venus also has the slowest rotation period of any   major planet, taking roughly 243 Earth days  to rotate once on its axis. On top of that,   Venus rotates in the opposite direction  as the Sun (retrograde rotation),   which is something astronomers have only  ever observed with one other planet (Uranus).  Between its slow retrograde rotation and the  fact that Venus takes close to 225 days to   orbit the Sun, a single "solar day" on Venus  lasts 116.75 days. This means that for an  

observer on the surface of Venus, it takes close  to four months for the Sun to set and rise again   (compared to 24 hours here on Earth). Venus is also isothermal, which means   that it experiences virtually no variation in  temperature. This is due to its dense atmosphere,   but also its slow rotation and its low axial  tilt (3° vs. Earth's 23.5°), which essentially  

means that Venus doesn't experience seasons or  anything we might consider a day-night cycle.  If you're thinking that this is starting to  sound like something out of Dante's Inferno,   then you're on the right track!  But with the right kind of work,   it could be made into something more  akin to a tropical island paradise. Luckily, with the right kind of ecological  techniques and some serious elbow grease,   Venus could be terraformed into an ocean  planet with mild temperatures and endless   beachfront property. As with Mars, it comes  down to three major goals. They include:  ●Reducing the atmospheric pressure ●Lowering the temperature  ●Converting the atmosphere to something breathable Much like terraforming Mars, these three goals are   complementary, even if they are the complete  opposite. Luckily for us, Venus has a lot to   work with, and the outcome would be easier  for humans to adapt to. The first proposed  

method was made by none other than Carl Sagan  in 1961 in a paper titled "The Planet Venus."  It was in this paper that Sagan argued  that seeding the atmosphere of Venus   with genetically engineered cyanobacteria could  gradually convert atmospheric carbon dioxide to   organic molecules. Unfortunately, the subsequent  discovery of sulfuric acid clouds and the effects   of solar wind made this proposal impractical. It would be another thirty years before another   proposal for terraforming Venus was made,  which was done by British Paul Birch in   his 1991 paper "Terraforming Venus Quickly."  According to Birch, flooding Venus' atmosphere   with hydrogen would trigger a chemical reaction,  creating graphite and water. The graphite would  

be sequestered while the water would fall as  rain and cover 80% of the surface in oceans.  Another proposal is to use solar shades,  something that was recommended by Birch   and famed aerospace engineer and space exploration  advocate Robert Zubrin. This concept would involve   using a series of small reflective spacecraft  in Venus' atmosphere to divert sunlight,   thereby reducing global temperatures. Alternately, a single large shade could be   positioned at the Sun-Venus L1 Lagrangian point to  limit the amount of sunlight reaching Venus. This   shade would also block solar wind, preventing  Venus' atmosphere from being stripped and also   shielding the planet from solar radiation. This would trigger global cooling,   resulting in the liquefaction or freezing  of atmospheric CO², which would then be   deposited on the surface as dry ice (which could  be shipped off-world or sequestered underground). 

Another suggestion is to speed up Venus' rotation,  which could have the added benefit of generating   a planetary magnetic field. There are a number  of ways to do this, like striking Venus' surface   with large asteroids or using mass drivers or  dynamic compression members to impart transfer   energy and momentum to the surface. This would allow for the creation of   an Earth-like diurnal cycle and could also help  remove some of Venus' dense atmosphere. Similarly,   mass drivers or space elevators could scoop  clouds from Venus' atmosphere and eject them   into space, gradually thinning it out over time. The end result of this would be a Venus very much   like its former self. This would mean a planet  covered predominantly by oceans. Due to the nature  

of Venus' geological features and small variations  in elevation, the surface would essentially be a   giant archipelago with a few larger continents. Over time, humans could introduce terrestrial   organisms like plants, trees, bacteria, and  aquatic species to Venus. With some modifications,   this could lead to an explosion of life  and the development of a tropical planet,   with biodiverse jungles on the larger landmasses  and more coastline than you can shake a stick at! OK, you may have already figured out  what the downside of all of this is.   If you guessed that it would take a massive  effort to transform Venus, and it would be   very challenging to create a settlement there  in the meantime, you'd be absolutely right!   While Venus could be terraformed to become what  it once was, the commitment in time, energy,   and resources would be nothing short of herculean. Beyond the similarities Venus has with Earth (in  

size, mass, and composition), there  are numerous differences that would   make terraforming and colonizing it a major  challenge. For one, reducing the heat and   pressure of Venus’ atmosphere would require a  tremendous amount of energy and resources. It   would also require infrastructure that does not  yet exist and would be very expensive to build.  For instance, it would require immense amounts  of metal and advanced materials to build an   orbital shade large enough to cool Venus’  atmosphere to the point that its greenhouse   effect would be arrested. Such a structure, if  positioned at L1, would also need to be four   times the diameter of Venus itself. It would  have to be assembled in space, which would  

require a massive fleet of robot assemblers. In contrast, increasing the speed of Venus’s   rotation would require tremendous energy, not to  mention a significant number of impactors that   would have to come from the outer solar System  – mainly from the Kuiper Belt. In all of these   cases, a large fleet of spaceships would  be needed to haul the necessary material,   and they would need to be equipped with  advanced drive systems that could make   the trip in a reasonable amount of time. Currently, no such drive systems exist,   and conventional methods – ranging from ion  engines to chemical propellants – are neither   fast nor economical enough. To illustrate,  NASA’s New Horizons mission took more than 11  

years to get make its historic rendezvous with  Pluto in the Kuiper Belt, using conventional   rockets and the gravity-assist method. Meanwhile, the Dawn mission, which relied   on ionic propulsion, took almost four years  to reach Vesta in the Asteroid Belt. Neither   method is practical for making repeated trips  to the Kuiper Belt and hauling back icy comets   and asteroids, and humanity has nowhere near  the number of ships we would need to do this.  The same problem of resources holds true for  the concept of placing solar reflectors above   the clouds. The amount of material would  have to be large and would have to remain  

in place long after the atmosphere had been  modified, since Venus’s surface is currently   completely enshrouded by clouds. Also,  Venus already has highly reflective clouds,   so any approach would have to significantly  surpass its current albedo (that on a scale   from 0 to 1 is worth 0.65) to make a difference. And when it comes to removing Venus’ atmosphere,   things are equally challenging. In 1994, James  Pollack and Carl Sagan conducted calculations   that indicated that an impactor measuring 700 km  in diameter striking Venus at high velocity would   less than a thousandth of the total atmosphere.  What’s more, there would be diminishing returns as   the atmosphere’s density decreases, which means  thousands of giant impactors would be needed. 

In addition, most of the ejected atmosphere  would go into solar orbit near Venus,   and – without further intervention – could be  captured by Venus’s gravitational field and   become part of the atmosphere once again. Removing  atmospheric gas using space elevators would be   difficult because the planet’s geostationary orbit  lies an impractical distance above the surface,   where removing using mass accelerators  would be time-consuming and very expensive. In sum, the potential benefits of terraforming  Venus are clear. Humanity would have a second   home, we would be able to add its resources to  our own, and we would learn valuable techniques   that could help prevent cataclysmic change here on  Earth. However, getting to the point where those   benefits could be realized is the hard part. Like most proposed terraforming ventures,   many obstacles need to be addressed  beforehand. Foremost among these are  

transportation and logistics, mobilizing a  massive fleet of robot workers, and hauling   craft to harness the necessary resources. After  that, a multi-generational commitment would need   to be made, providing financial resources  to see the job through to completion. Not   an easy task under the most ideal of conditions. Suffice it to say, this is something that humanity   cannot do in the short run. However, looking to  the future, the idea of Venus becoming our “Sister   Planet” in every way imaginable – with oceans,  arable land, wildlife, and cities – certainly   seems like a beautiful and feasible goal. The  only question is, how long will we have to wait? Can we terraform the Moon? Indeed, you've heard a lot about  terraforming Mars but little about the Moon,   and it's normal to hear about bombarding it with  water-filled meteors like it was an easy task,   looking to turn it blue and then green,  but how true is this? What can we do to   terraform the Moon? Is it viable? Let's find out! Challenges and resources to terraform the Moon. Working on terraforming the Moon has a significant  

advantage over any other planet in the solar  system: distance. Compared to Mars or Venus,   the most common candidates, you can communicate  practically in real-time with people on the Moon.   The logistics necessary for the task are greatly  facilitated; however, not all are advantages   because each planet or Moon is different. To live anywhere in the universe requires us  

to fulfill specific basic needs: food, water,  breathable air, and shelter from radiation.   This means that the first thing we need is an  atmosphere, something that the Moon does not   have, in principle, because of the solar wind  that rips apart sooner or later the gases that   could exist on its surface. 1. The lunar magnetic field  The first thing that must be solved is the absence  of a magnetic field so that the solar wind won’t   snatch away any atmosphere that we can create.  Since our satellite is tiny and has no active   tectonic plates, thinking about activating or  reactivating a dynamo in its core is not a good   idea. Instead, a high-powered magnetic field  generator can be installed to enter a parallel,   fixed orbit concerning the Moon. This can be  achieved by placing this magnetic generator   at the first Lagrange point, which is an area in  which the gravitational pull of celestial bodies   is counteracted so that an object spiraling  downward to the sun can be maintained as a   fixed point in space by being pulled by  other bodies such as the Moon and Earth. 

This equipment would require large amounts  of energy, but large solar panels can provide   this since these can be used much better if  there is no atmosphere. At the same time,   installing at that point could facilitate us to  install a series of mirrors that can concentrate   the sun's energy towards the Moon, giving us  a good amount of energy for the activities   we must do on the surface or beneath it. Another need that this achievement would cover   would be an improvement in the quality of human  life throughout the process, since the solar wind   and the radiation it brings can very negatively  affect the health of astronauts for prolonged   periods, even favoring the appearance of cancer. 2. Water, atmosphere, and temperature.  Once we don't have to worry about the solar wind  and radiation, we can concentrate on forming a   lunar atmosphere and carrying water to the  Moon. It should be clarified that causing   meteorite impacts can be a terrible idea.  First of all, while, in theory, you could  

make controlled impacts of meteors rich in water  or other materials that we need, the logistics of   going to an asteroid belt and accurately diverting  one from bodies makes this solution very expensive   and excessively slow, we need something faster! Suppose the calculations go wrong or certain   factors are not considered when modeling the  impact trajectories towards the Moon. A lousy   collision could expel gases, water,  and materials into space, losing the   atmospheric gains and time. Not to mention  mistakes that could put human lives at risk.  Turning to see the Moon's resources may be a  better idea. For example, during the last decades,  

it has been detected that the Moon has water in  the form of ice on its surface, especially in   those areas where sunlight does not reach, such as  craters or shadows generated by the rocky relief,   something suggested by multiple investigations.  Still, it has also been shown that the lunar   rocks collected in the Apollo missions are  hydrated, so you can get water from those,   as Alexander Basilevsky, a planetary geologist  at the Russian Academy of Sciences, says.  Suppose we can take advantage of the sun's energy  with solar panels and burners. In that case,   we can obtain energy to carry out electrolysis  processes with the lunar rocks and gradually   take the elements that we have at hand on the  surface. In their latest unified geological map  

of the Moon, the United States Geological Survey  USGS, in conjunction with NASA, has interpreted   a silicate-filled surface where getting oxygen  wouldn't be a problem. If. If you have a lot of   oxygen in the rocks and lunar regolith, you can  use hydrogen from space to create water. ThisThis   process is what Alexander Basilevsky mentions  as the first water former on the Moon; however,   this water would be volatile and can easily  escape into space by being bombarded again by   the sun's high-energy particles, disintegrating  the water molecule back into hydrogen and oxygen,   unless they can find refuge in craters and  permanently shadowed areas of the Moon,   where ice sheets are thought to be found,  from the poles to the equator, which can   provide a precious resource relatively at hand. Also, these electrolysis processes will  

necessarily involve a generation of heat to the  environment, so when we create or capture oxygen   and water, we could be releasing heat relatively  slowly but safely. We already have experienced   warming a planet after all. One problem that remains to be   addressed is the little presence detected in lunar  rocks of nitrogen and carbon, essential elements   for life and found only in parts per million on  the Moon. However, this could not be entirely true   since the samples we have are not from the entire  Moon, which can cover up local rock deposits that   do have these elements, an idea that is gaining  strength since it has been detected samples of   carbon ions being emitted in more significant  quantities than expected in the basaltic plains   according to data from the Japanese mission of  the Lunar Orbiter Kaguya. If this is confirmed   for carbon, it would give us hope for nitrogen or  facilitate logistics by importing fewer elements   into the lunar atmosphere. 3. Gravity.  The main problem of planetoids and satellites in  terms of terraforming is their lack of gravity. It  

is usually fantasized about a full moon of water  and waves 20 meters high with people who can fly   with little equipment due to low gravity, a "lunar  Florida," but currently, this is only fantasy.  In reality, low gravity has two serious problems.  The first is that it involves health problems   for the settlers or future inhabitants, although  we do not know for sure. Many astronauts have   experienced shallow gravity on the international  space station or in space traveling. Still,   the Moon has gravity, one-sixth of  Earth’s, but it is better than nothing,   and the effects of bone and muscle loss may not  present themselves in the same way. Despite that,  

you can kill two birds with one stone by placing  pieces of lead in astronauts' suits to increase   their weight and protect them from radiation,  or you can decrease this problem with plenty of   exercise and special facilities for sports  and sleep, facilities that keep the body   feeling the Earth's gravity when sleeping. However, the real problem of low gravity in   terraforming is much more severe since, combined  with the solar wind, it prevents the Moon from   retaining the gases with which we would build  its atmosphere. It has been estimated that we   could only retain them for about 10,000 years,  forcing us to create a giant dome that keeps   them inside or constantly generates new gases to  replace those that escape into space. Ideas that   distance the terraforming of our Moon a lot. On the other hand, maintaining the idea of   bombarding the Moon with meteors, asteroids, and  comets to make it gain mass and better retain a   future atmosphere not only increases  the risks already mentioned above,   but perhaps it would not be a good idea for life  on Earth if our satellite has more and more mass.  

Increasing it could attract more meteors and  asteroids; in addition, the effects on the   tides could be devastating, affecting the lives  of many human beings who live on the coasts and   the value chains of energy infrastructures  enlarging the problem in large quantities.  So if there is no way to make the Moon have more  mass and the atmosphere will be lost anyway,   isn't it possible to terraform the Moon?  No, at least not with current technology,   but there is no need to give up yet. Lunar colonization  As we theoretically face the challenges of  lunar terraforming, researchers have found   more and more objects of interest both in  a scientific way and in an economic one,   and the Moon may still have many secrets kept. We must remember that the Apollo missions were   motivated by politics rather than science,  which meant that the landing sites did not   have planning that favored scientific  research. Hence, knowing better the   resources that the Moon has is fundamental. There is already a program of lunar exploration,   exploitation, and commercialization working hard  to return to the Moon and make great discoveries,   experiments that test what has been said  so far, and commercial arrangements,   the Artemis program, led by NASA, but in  which multiple space agencies participate. 

Suppose the logistical capacity to exploit lunar  resources is achieved and economically worthwhile   deposits such as rare-earth elements are  discovered. In that case, this program will grow,   and competition may arise, starting once and  for all with space mining. If this happens,   creating industry and human habitats to  operate these industries will become a   priority, and we will apply everything  learned to generate these habitats. 

Perhaps in large craters, we can install a dome,  take advantage of the water they have, and import   some land, carbon, and nitrogen in specific  areas for the livelihood of workers through   a lunar crop. Solar panels and ovens can be used  to have enough energy. Additionally, mining on the   Moon will carry out electrolysis processes. Since the days last for weeks on the Moon,   another option to create shelters for humans would  be to dig out caverns a few meters deep, where   during the day, there will be naturally a pleasant  temperature for humans. We can take advantage of   energy stored during the day and at night. These activities may gradually extend until   colonization is an undeniable fact. This  colonization has other advantages in addition  

to the economic ones since the Moon can be used as  a base of space operations to other satellites and   planets, as the low gravity entails lower costs  in the launches. The necessary infrastructure will   begin to exist due to economic needs anyway,  making this proposal even more profitable in   theory. The in-situ resources and especially the  water reserves that the Moon has will facilitate   the production of rocket fuel if we continue  with the same technology in the first place.  At the same time, there is a planet that is  very similar in many ways to the Moon but   has greater gravity and a much greater energy  supply, a planet on which the same techniques   that we have explored can be used and would have a  greater possibility of being terraformed: Mercury.  Working on lunar terraforming will make  us gain experience and opens the door   to the terraforming of other similar satellites  where the solar wind and gravitational context   are more beneficial for the task, expanding, in  turn, the potential of space mining. Perhaps we  

can't terraform every celestial body in our solar  system, at least not for now, but achieving it   would be the most remarkable human feat. Finally, the human being would be taking   the first steps in the right direction to become a  space colonizing species. It will take time to get   used to these activities. While we should never  look down on any ethical and social questions,   colonizing the Moon until self-sustainability  in artificial habitats is possible is necessary   for our survival and, at the same time,  the natural next step for our species.

2024-03-07 06:16

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