New light (3) terraforming mars–magnetosphere. By George Drake

New light (3)

Okay, let’s pick up the discussion of terraforming Mars with the lack of magnetosphere. That’s what prompted Hank’s comments on the last entry I made.

As you probably know, one of the considerations that must be dealt with in any terraforming scheme is the lack of a magnetosphere on Mars. This presents several problems, including the lack of a shield against ultraviolet radiation and, some believe, an ill effect on retention of atmosphere.

The former can be dealt with in a number of ways, including numerous schemes to provide alternative sheltering systems. The latter is somewhat speculative, since the absence of a magnetosphere is totally beyond our experience, and we have no definitive data on the effect of solar wind on atmospheric molecules.

The latter also represents one aspect of preparation for terraforming Mars that should be discussed.  Terraforming Mars is  a project of hundreds of years. That’s time enough to solve many problems, if the task has only been begun. Providing a magnetosphere and/or circumventing the ill effects of the lack of a magnetosphere is one of the greatest problems confronting us.

That is a reason to commence the effort to solve the problems immediately, not a reason to avoid confrontation at all. There is much talk today about sustainable this, and sustainable that. Sustainability is a worthy goal. But one which, so far as  experience indicates, is not even on the horizon. In fact, the only hope that sustainability can ever be attained, comes with the admission that it might not be.

Without such an admission, no one will sacrifice much at all to become part of the “sustainable” community.  Well, one in a thousand might–and that’s very generous–but not anywhere nearly enough to make a difference.  I doubt we will even be able to reach a point where the number of those joining a truly sustainable subculture will ever exceed the growth in the world’s population at any given moment, without such an admission being widely spread throughout the world’s population.

So, why do I try at all?  Because of the picture beamed back from the Apollo missions of the entire earth. I perceive the whole earth as a living entity–a single, alive, being. I have no knowledge, whatsoever, of what life is. But I’m totally convinced that Earth is a living being.

I believe, in fact, that that being, which I call Gaia, is the God that religions have, since time immemorial, attempted to describe.   And, if anything is obvious, it is that Gaia has a cancer. We are that cancer. I further believe, that we are fully capable of being terminal to Gaia.

Nothing–absolutely nothing–is more important.

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2 Responses to New light (3) terraforming mars–magnetosphere. By George Drake

  1. William, Age 11 (last name withheld) says:

    You will be replying to my dad’s email, so be polite. Anyway, I’ve seen many videos on websites about “terraforming” or “building new Earth” It can’t happen because the planet’s mass is too small, therefore it doesn’t contain enough gravity to keep us in the planets gravity. Also, that method you explained could possibly destroy the atmosphere…… I do believe Mars did once sustain life, though.

    • George says:

      William: thank you for commenting. I am greatly impressed, and inspired, by your interest. The future of solutions to the problems your generation will face is in your hands.

      There is no greater killer of solutions, though, than lack of faith in their being possible, so never let that idea cross your mind.

      There is a great film I highly recommend on this topic that is based on an absolutely true story called Apollo 13. You will like it, I’m sure, especially if you remember as you watch that it is true.

      I would love to carry on this discussion, either through this blog or via direct e-mail, if your mother and father approve, as I think there might be some clarifications I might be able to contribute to your understanding of some existing issues, and I truly think you are the right age to begin thinking about them. If you choose direct e-mail, please include “from blog” in the first few words of the subject line. Thanks.


      George Drake

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