Limestone is predominantly calcium carbonate and is formed by chemical precipitation which can be both inorganic chemical or biochemical processes.
On Mars any abundance of water and CO2 would be locked away in limestone and other calcium carbonates through the inorganic chemical process that
forms these rocks.
And frankly I don't care what NASA's "kids public relations" website has to say about Martian terraforming.
Let's have a look at the "credits" of the quest.arc.nasa.gov website.
Sandy Dueck (firstname.lastname@example.org) leads the overall online effort, with support from Dan Helfman (email@example.com), Oran Cox
(firstname.lastname@example.org) and Marc Siegel (email@example.com). This Mars Team Online Webspace was designed and implemented by Sandy, Dan,
Marc and Linda Conrad (firstname.lastname@example.org). In addition, the following people have made significant contributions: Chris Tanski
(email@example.com), Nathan Hickson, Irene Calizo, and Jennifer Sellers (firstname.lastname@example.org). High school seniors Noel Pacheco and
Dan Munro also contributed as part of an unpaid internship.
From the same website composed by high schoolers and high school teachers. (Where are all the Doctors?)
The increasing temperature would vaporize some of the carbon dioxide in the south polar cap. Introducing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere would
produce additional warming, melting more of the polar cap until it has been vaporized completely. This would produce an average temperature rise of 70
I already explained, though it was off the top of my head so the pressure difference was off...I'll explain it again.
Mars in the summer time has NO southern ice cap this is due to it being composed of Carbon-Dioxide. At the summer time the pressure on Mars is
6/1000ths the pressure of that on earth. In the winter time the souther ice cap refreezes which draws as much as 30% of the atmosphere into ice, that
means in the south's winter season the pressure of Mars at least locally (atmospheric conditions are not globally affected always in such a
low-pressure evnironment) is only about 4/1000ths the pressure of that on earth.
I already stated, the problem with their theory is they do not realize that the ice caps they hope would melt, melt all the time. Once a year, every
year, in the martian southern hemisphere's summer. Since this increase of gasses does not lead to a martian "terraforming affect" it never will.
Therefore their entire argument is not just flawed but useless.
Now let's shift to a more "cheerful" note because I am a somber realist. (Whenever I eventually find a good enough political discussion here
you'll really start to see that.)
But in a theoretical futuristic approach, where technology is not a problem, the most atmosphere is in the Iron-Oxide on Mars. I forget off the top
of my head what the oxidation-reduction reaction is for producing Iron oxide so I can't give you an example of how many oxygen molecules will be
formed by simply breaking the bonds in "rust". But it would be sufficient.
If we had technology to do it instantly we could probably generate a reasonable atmosphere for a limited period of time, in human history this time
may or may not be sufficient. The other problems I presented still exist, radiation would not only kill life, but excite the quicker dissapation of
lighter gasses and vapors such as Oxygen and water and thus whatever you did release from the rust would escape into the great void of space to be
blown to the outer solar system where more needy planets will take them, like Jupiter or Saturn.
There's also the problem that the Iron would still exist, any substantial amount of water flow on the surface would catalyze another oxy-redux
causing more rust again, locking more and more oxygen back into the Iron.
To be "real" I'd have to say the only benefit of Mars is its mineral resources.
Mars, unlike the Moon has materials for us to create a "biodome" to live in. Mars, unlike Venus has almost no surface pressure, and that's much
easier to over-come. Mars, unlike Mercury isn't 500 degrees too hot.
Mars has iron literally strewn on its surface in the form of rust, so land your "colony miners" and they extract the iron using probably an
electrolytic process (?) and use the oxygen for their own needs. The soil of Mars has sufficient resources to be usable for some form of plant growth
so that helps a bit, and I'm sure that Mars has some other natural resources we would want and I wouldn't be surprised if it had a measure of Oil
locked away in its 1,000 km thick crust.
And while we may move away from Oil for energy needs, many products are made from petroleum.
Deimos asks, "I'm guessing there's no way to create a magnetosphere either eh?"
I have often thought how this might be doable...it seems impossible. Mars has some "magnetic anomalies" nothing sufficient, so maybe we could
create our own magnetic anomalies to help guard a colony but I doubt it, the energy needed is not existent. On Earth it is formed by literally 32% of
the Earth's total mass, revolving around like a giant dynamo. Mars is about 33% of the mass of Earth so even if the entire planet were acting as a
dynamo (which it never will) it would barely meet the energy requirements. Not to mention how do you get a frozen planet to suddenly become a hot
one? How would we jumpstart this dynamo? You'd first have to melt the inner-core which in itself seems impossible and so on...so its an
Puppetmaster asks, "we have artificial limits in this reality, time for example.. But isn't time just a mathemetical calculation based on planetary
positions? Is it therefor possible that there's a different "time" on another planet to which our animal species adapt?"
We already have people on Earth living on Martian time, and they are in a more of a paradigm shift than those who would be on Mars because unlike
Martians these people notice a 30-minute change in their day every day, while on Mars the Sun will rise relatively the same time it did last time.
Oh well, there's not really much more to say about this yet. Technologically we can't say what far off we are capable of. But if we follow the
rule that man can not replace nature, then we'll never terraform Mars.
And I believe that rule because for instance, one hurricane releases the energy of 40,000 megaton nuclear bombs...per minute. The meteorite that hit
the Earth killing the dinosaurs released in the impact about some 100,000,000 megatons of energy (if I remember right...). There's a place called
"Jupiter Science" but I forget the URL, it really goes well into the events that occured because of that 10-mile wide meteorite. So when it comes
to things like "stopping natural disasters" or "creating worlds" or terraforming planets, this is all science-fiction fluff that Hollywood makes
non-scientists believe is "close to the truth".
The biggest problem in terraforming is something no terraformist has ever thought of, and never will, because as soon as they think of it they realize
how futile it will be.
I can go back to my first geology book and look at the first paragraph of the second chapter, and I remember it almost completely, "Earth's geologic
atmospheric and hydrologic activities are all a part of a move towards 'equilibrium'".
That is what causes life...
Your body is not in equilibrium as my teacher of biology put it bluntly, when you acheive equilibrium, you are dead.
Physicists call it "heat-death" the end of the universe. When the universe acheives equilibrium, everything reaches absolute zero and nothing
Mars has reached its equilibrium...well...it's very close to it. The Sun causes a few irregularities of energy that cause things like "Dust
storms", just as when the heating of the mid-Atlantic causes an imbalance of energy in our atmosphere and releases the mighty hurricane to rebalance
Lightning as we all know is a "release of an imbalance of charges to return to a state of equilibrium".
Energy is the problem of terraforming.
How do we break an equilibrium? A state where all the energies are in near perfect balances.
In a chemical reaction in a test-tube it is fairly easy because the over-all energy in use is small.
But when you think of the world such as Mars. You have to realize that the rough estimate of the energy involved is E=mc^2.
The mass of Mars is about 33% of Earth (rough estimate) so we can say that the energy involved to change Mars's climate would be 33% of that to
change the Earths. (This is also why I believe that man causing Global Warming is a load of crap, and so do most Geologists. Global Warming is
beyond our ability to cause, we can only excite natural processes that already exist to go faster, we if anything at all are just a catalyst). On
Mars we'd have to create stuff from nothing, because there are nor natural causes to "catalyze" or to excite in our favor. It is a dead world in
Throw into the mix that we can not even create, correction, all the energy we have released and have the potential to release with current
technologies do not even amount to a fraction of the meteorite impact 65 million years ago. And that impact did not "destroy" the Earth because the
Earth's system (that energy system not yet in equilibrium) is so massive it simply absorbed it.
This is all very simplistic but if you understand the concept you realize the problems.
In the end, I know how to terraform Mars, I think most would agree with me.
Hit Mars with Ceres (the largest Asteroid in the Asteroid Belt).
Ceres is about 1/3rd the diamter of Mars (more less but not too far off).
Ceres will pulverize Mars and itself and the release of this energy will hopefully shatter both bodies into a globular mess of superheated rock and
debris, which will coalesce into a knew "mass".
This mass will hopefully trap a significant amount of energy like the Earth and allow us to have geologic processes to work with to terraform the
Of course the waiting time for the globular mess to re-form is not known to me but I'd have to say it'd be somewhere around a billion years before
Mars had a semi-solid (non-molten) surface.
But that is honestly the only way you can over-come the equilibrium problems that Mars presents...at least that's the only way I see. Again I'm
just one opinion.
Wow I've written a lot but this is very interesting and even fun. Oh well, everything after where I stated "I'm a realist" is pretty much
entering the realm of "theoretical" so do not confuse that with the stuff before it which is pretty much real obsticales that I'm sure a doctor in
Planetary Geology would recognize. Everything here is subject to errors but the more theoretical stuff like smashing Mars with Ceres is simply beyond
my science, I've not done any calculations nor even know where to begin on such calculations to determine whether or not Ceres would achieve a
Hmm just had a thought so I shall interrupt my disclaimer.
I remember reading somewhere about how geographically the great impact crater on Mars is nearly opposite on the world from the "Tharsis Bulge"
That bulge is the only location of significant volcanic activity resulting in 4 volcanoes each larger than mount Everest.
I remember reading a theory about how the Tharsis Bulge was a result of the impact on the other side of the planet, which was not an impact anywhere
near the size of Ceres.
So if that impact could possibly create volcanic activity (essential to atmosphere creation), hitting Mars with Ceres might not be such a bad idea.
Anways, end of disclaimer:
This is all just superficial stuff, mainly I wanted to just refute some points given by kinglizard and clarify the issue of Limestone. Everything
else drifts off towards the realm of possibilities and I didn't want anyone to become confused since previously in this thread I've only stated what
is more absolute and certain as barriers to over-come.