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Terraforming of other planets: For or Against?

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posted on Jan, 21 2005 @ 09:17 PM
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Why Venus is a Better Choice

Let’s have a couple of caveats here; otherwise I might slide off the edge of relevance to the Land of Wuwu:

First, assume no sentient life on either planet. If Mars has cute lichens, by all means save them for science, but let’s not get wrapped around the ethical axle. Besides you all know that engineers have no ethics, right? Look at me!

Second, assume technology that we have now or can develop with what we know now. Can we build a huge ion motor and hook it up to an asteroid to swing it out of its orbit with today’s tech? Of course. It’d be a tough challenge and cost a bazillion bucks, but we can do it. On the other hand, we cannot right now use zero-point energy or a McCanney Motor or antigravity or an anti-matter engine (although that certainly has an interesting potential, when and if…).

“Okay, why is Venus a better choice to terraform?”

Because we can (and already have) send a spaceship that will reach Venus, orbit around it, and enter the atmosphere and land. We can (but we probably haven’t) bioengineer a bacterium who will slurp CO2 and spit out O2 and a couple of carbonates.

Given a couple of years to do the design work for the ship and build the bugs, we could have a contract in place to build a ship (nothing out of the ordinary, it wouldn’t be anything but a satellite that both the US and the USSR has on the shelf) and modify it to eject the critters at an altitude, say, of 50-100 km, where the atmospheric pressure is probably around Earth sea-level equivalent, and the temperature a cozy 50-100 deg C.

Bugs scarf up the CO2, metabolize and grow -- real fast. Geometric progression; assume a 30-minute repro cycle and a volume of atmosphere equal to x cubic kilometers. I haven’t pencil-whipped it, but I could. I bet, under ideal conditions, you could have within a year the upper atmosphere full of bacteria, using all that great sunlight to run their motors and turning the CO2 into O2. Sooner or later, most of the CO2 is gone and all the bugs die --requiescat in pace -- and we now have an atmosphere that, although maybe too thin to breathe, is at least transparent to IR. Result: the planet radiates for a century (or more; I don’t think I could pencil-whip this one, heat transfer is not my subject), and cools down to the point where we can land and walk around.

Yeah, it’s still inhospitable, but we have something Mars doesn’t have -- an atmosphere that can be transformed.

Mars, on the other hand, simply doesn’t. Sure, you could build up an atmosphere by bazillions of nitrogen-fixing bacteria (we’ll assume there are nitrates in Martian soils), but how long would that take? A hundred thousand years? A million? When you start replenishing oxygen, even if you work your way up to a neo-Amazonian jungle, the “elbow” of the effectiveness-curve starts a lot earlier; it’s not like bacteria.

It’s gotta be Venus if you want a terraformed planet, as opposed to plastic-dome suburbs.


[edit on 21-1-2005 by Off_The_Street]




posted on Jan, 21 2005 @ 11:04 PM
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Off_The_Street, great post but I have a question. Why do you assume the air will be too thin to breath after most of the C02 is gone? Pressure on Venus is 90 times that of earth or am I missing something hear. Very tired at the moment btw so mah brain ain't work in'..



posted on Jan, 22 2005 @ 04:30 PM
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Sardion says:

" Why do you assume the air will be too thin to breath after most of the C02 is gone? Pressure on Venus is 90 times that of earth or am I missing something hear. "

Excellent point, Sardion; I wasn't thnking the chemistry part either. Even if you lose most of the oxygen, you'd still have a good amount of pressure.

Let me think it through for a minute --

The atomic weight for Carbon is 12; that for oxygen is 16; so CO2 has a ration of Oxygen -to-carbon of 32:12 or about 73% by mass. If you completely ignored any trace elements (since there aren't all that many) and assumed these bioengineered bacteria would actually precipitate the carbon out of the CO2. You would have 72% X 90E (where 'E' is Earth atmospheric pressure equivalent or 14.7 psi) or 64E. If you lost 98 percent of the oxygen to space (since O2 or even O3 is lighter thatn CO2), you would have a pure oxygen atmosphere at a surface pressure of 19 psi.

Yow!! Don't light that cigarette!!



posted on Jan, 22 2005 @ 05:01 PM
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Don't forget that cooler temps would also lower the surface pressure slightly.. maybe 2-3 bar... (to lazy to break out the full math).

Osiris



posted on Jan, 23 2005 @ 12:19 AM
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Another good point, Osiris.

But what bothers me is that there isn't much else than CO2 in the Venerian atmosphere. Without any hydrogen or nitrogen to speak of, we're not going to make that Bad Old Carbon go away from the Good Old Oxygen by converting it into either water or carbonates.

And if there's no easily accessible source of H2 anywfere on the Venerian surface, how're we gonna make water, for cryin' out loud?

Maybe we need to think a bit more about those glass-dome cities on Mars or the Moon, after all.

[edit on 23-1-2005 by Off_The_Street]



posted on Jan, 23 2005 @ 01:01 AM
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Geeeeez, I'm for it also and the only question would be,when can I leave?
So who's gonna sponsor this thing anyhow?



posted on Jan, 23 2005 @ 01:04 AM
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Originally posted by Off_The_Street
Another good point, Osiris.

But what bothers me is that there isn't much else than CO2 in the Venerian atmosphere. Without any hydrogen or nitrogen to speak of, we're not going to make that Bad Old Carbon go away from the Good Old Oxygen by converting it into either water or carbonates.

And if there's no easily accessible source of H2 anywfere on the Venerian surface, how're we gonna make water, for cryin' out loud?

Maybe we need to think a bit more about those glass-dome cities on Mars or the Moon, after all.

[edit on 23-1-2005 by Off_The_Street]



I guess with the warming of the poles, maybe this craft can transport polar ice as a source of h2 to created that water after all its water and it's not like anyone here on earth is gonna miss a few million gallons of polar ice!!!!



posted on Jan, 23 2005 @ 01:50 PM
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Do you know how many pounds of fuel it would take to lift a pound of water into Earth orbit and then nudge it into v sub E?



posted on Jan, 23 2005 @ 02:22 PM
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Originally posted by Off_The_Street
Do you know how many pounds of fuel it would take to lift a pound of water into Earth orbit and then nudge it into v sub E?


Not if we had a functioning space elevator.

However, there may be a much easier way to achieve what we want.. Take the oxygen and fission it into Hydrogen via an eronmous very efficient supercollider.

Hell it may even be possible to 'scoop' free hydrogren form the solar winds. If we are talking about terraforming a planet we have to think *big*.

Osiris



posted on Jan, 23 2005 @ 04:04 PM
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Okay I have another question, Considering the pressure of Venus, would that increase the geological pressure and strain. IF this is so, then maybe we should not terraform Venus as it could be a valuable resource of raw materials that wouldn't be normally present on earth maybe even some we havn't seen yet like some elements from the Theorized "Island of Stability" on the periodic table. As a poster said the fuel needs to escape earth can easily be eliminated with the Space Elevator which is still quite a ways away mind you but if we have that one advantage we could turn venus into a mass mining colony, maybe even totally automated even and we could look to Mars for colonization as well as the moon. Just a random Idea I just had.



posted on Jan, 23 2005 @ 07:44 PM
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Originally posted by sardion2000
Okay I have another question, Considering the pressure of Venus, would that increase the geological pressure and strain. IF this is so, then maybe we should not terraform Venus as it could be a valuable resource of raw materials that wouldn't be normally present on earth maybe even some we havn't seen yet like some elements from the Theorized "Island of Stability" on the periodic table.


Well I doubt Venus contains anything nearly valuable enough to stop us from terraforming it, if we could. The conditions on venus are *easily* reproducable in any lab around the world, so it's not nearly exotic enough to warrant that kind of attention.

Regards,

Osiris



posted on Jan, 23 2005 @ 08:26 PM
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Originally posted by otlg27
Well I doubt Venus contains anything nearly valuable enough to stop us from terraforming it, if we could. The conditions on venus are *easily* reproducable in any lab around the world, so it's not nearly exotic enough to warrant that kind of attention.

Regards,

Osiris


Yeah good point but who knows... The more I think about it though I think Terrorforming would be good as we need to oxidize alot of the alloys we smelt find there so I guess its moot....



posted on Mar, 31 2008 @ 01:40 PM
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I have mixed feelings.

While I think the general idea of teraforming is awsome, I feel that it is just not right. We could have cities and stuff, only enclosed and/or underground. I feel we should leave a planet (more or less....more like the atmosphere et cetera) the way it is. There could be life there and we shouldnt impeade on that unless we communicate with them first.

Just how I feel



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