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.