Planetary Geology topic outline - Terraforming.
Interesting reading: Thomas-Kerpta & others, 1998,
Bacterial mineralization patterns in basaltic aquifers: Implications for
possible life in martian meteorite ALH84001; Geology, v. 26, p. 1031-1034.
Good summary topic for this course: forces a synthesis,
Planetary engineering, applied planetology, terraforming
: all share goal of purposeful alteration of planetary bodies surface conditions
so favorable to life. Science or fantasy?
- for what forms of life (microbes to humans quite a span)?
- in what time frame?
- what resources are needed, and are they available?
- what energy sources are needed and are they available?
- to what degree can we control, direct changes vs. simply
- with or without supporting technology (John Carter and
Mars air pumps). Colonization & planetary engineering.
- what are associated ethical issues?
Focus on Mars. Link
- hard vs. soft (bio-) engineering.
- what are major obstacles to establishing life on Mars?
- lack of N2.
- lack of atmosphere.
- whats the plan?
- establish atmosphere.
- generate tailored cocktail on earth.
- hard engineering (mirrors).
- establish simple hardy life forms (sit back and wait?).
- your assessment of feasability?
Other planetary bodies might 'terraform'?
For next time: Develop a short proposal (<1 page) for
an exploratory mission to a planetary body (other than earth). Include in
it the following:
- Planetary body to be visited.
- If a lander is involved, site visited.
- What sensors will be on board.
- The scientific significance of the information being
- Expected or possible results.
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