Micro Life Zone
Asked by tatch91 to Dirk, Elise, Janette, Renee, Yusuf on 20 May 2012.
Keywords: device, planet, terraform, terraforming
I don’t think there would be one single device that could be used to create earth-like conditions on another planet – it would take several devices. But if you look at what we’ve done here on earth, I don’t think it’s impossible – we have the equipment to cut through mountains and build artificial rivers etc. The harder part would be getting the climate and atmosphere right as we’d need an atmosphere like earth’s to grow plants and survive. While creating the climate is a challenge, we could at least use existing technology like cloud seeding to create clouds and rain. I think it will all depend on the planet, and what is already there. Overall, while some of the tools already exist, it might be awhile before we are able to terraform a planet and replicate the conditions on earth so we can survive there.
I do not believe a single device could be made.
As Janette said, the biggest issue will be the atmosphere (and oceans of course) and the climate. It has taken good old Mother Earth billions of years to get the balance right and it has taken us only a few hundred years to knock it a kilter. I doubt that we could create a device or a set of devices that could mimic that process based on what we know now. I do believe we could generate a suitable atmosphere but not on a human timescale unless we can do some rather tricky chemistry on the rocks of the “target’ planet.
Janette mentions “cloud seeding” (see link 1) below). Cloud seeding does not actually create clouds, but induces clouds to release water. In essence it tries to increase the size of the water particles in a cloud so they are heavy enough to fall and rain down. This is done is by adding nucleating particles into a cloud that attract water particles to clump together.
Now CSIRO has done quite a bit research on this (see links 2) and 3) below) and has found that is only effective under limited conditions. The general “talk” I’ve heard is that it has a 50/50 chance of enhancing rainfall. So not all that useful unless the specific conditions are met. Sorry Janette =:<
I have to agree with Janette and Dirk on this one and say I can’t imagine a single device that would be capable of transforming all aspects of an environment in the way that we wanted. The major hurdle to such a device would be complying with one of the fundamental laws known as ‘conservation of mass’. This is the law that states matter can’t be created or destroyed, so any terraforming would not be as simple as just getting rid of the bits you didn’t want, or conjuring up the bits you did want.
I agree with the other guys too. It is hard to imagine that we could develop a single piece of equipment with such a diverse set of functions. Generally speaking, most equipment we currently have is specific for only a single function. Another thing we would need to consider would be where we would be using such a device – other planets are light years away, so it would be a huge task just getting everything we would need to a destination other than Earth. Would this be equipment that we would have on hand for if we damage the Earth so badly that we would need to modulate our environment in the future, or are we talking a completely new location?
We are good at engineering things, so we can create a “terraforming device”, but it won’t work as nicely as it does in the science fiction movies. It will take a long time to modify a planet, require lots of energy, will have all sort of glitches that require monitoring and tweaking. It won’t be one piece, one device but lots of small bits and pieces that come into play as needed over time.
Unfortunately, we are far far away from creating anything on that scale.
By BRIDGE8 under license from Mangorolla CIC 2020