This is the dream of Ilon Mask. This is a dream in the aerospace agency NASA. And Arnold Schwarzenegger has already managed to do this (though, only in the movies). But, is this really possible? It's about terraforming Mars – turning the Red Planet into blue with the help of geoengineering, which will make its atmosphere more dense, and the environment and climate are more friendly for people. Unfortunately, judging by the findings of a new study, an article about which was published in the journal Nature Astronomy, a fantastic dream, which many generations are dreaming of, it seems, is destined to remain so a dream. At least for the near future.
The idea of terraforming Mars implies the solution of several important key tasks, but according to the general sense, if they could release the carbon dioxide contained in the bowels of the planet and fill the atmosphere, then in about 100 years Mars could become quite a place suitable for the maintenance of extraterrestrial life. Scientists say they know how to warm the planet, because we are doing the same thing now with the Earth. Nevertheless, according to a recent study, for Mars, this sounds too good to be true.
“Our study shows that there is not enough Mg-worth of carbon dioxide reserves to start the greenhouse effect in the atmosphere,” says planetologist Bruce Jakoski from the Colorado University in Boulder.
“Moreover, most of the available CO2 reserves on the planet remain inaccessible. We believe that terraforming of Mars is impossible. At least, with the use of current technologies. “
During recent years, scientists have repeatedly expressed the prospect of terraforming Mars, but the research of Jacoski and his colleague Christopher Edwards of the University of Northern Arizona is based on data collected by various orbital spacecraft, and not on computer models. The researchers used information obtained from such orbital vehicles as Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), Mars Odyssey, and MAVEN (Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution)
Mars has a very thin atmosphere and, as a consequence, a lack of atmospheric pressure. In general, this means that any reserves of liquid water on the surface of the planet will not stay there for long. The water there either completely evaporates, or freezes. According to the idea of terraforming, if somehow to translate the carbon available in the polar caps of Mars to a gaseous state (in the manner of the hero Arnie from the movie “Remember All”), then, it would allow to increase the atmospheric pressure on the Red Planet two times. But unlike the effects that were shown in the film, in reality, an increase in the atmospheric pressure on Mars would be twofold insufficient to recreate terrestrial conditions.
Yakowski notes that when the pressure on the surface of the planet increases to 1 bar The temperature on Mars could be just above 0 degrees Celsius. The water would not have frozen in this case, and in general the planet would have become really inhabited. The atmosphere itself would not be suitable for breathing, but people could wear special breathing masks without wearing fully enclosed spacesuits. On the planet, plants could grow without problems, slowly increasing the level of oxygen in the atmosphere for the next few centuries. But for now it's all fairy tales.
“This does not mean that terraforming is not possible by itself. It will not be easy to do this as many now imagine, “commented Yakoski to New Scientist.
” We can not just take and blow up several nuclear charges over the ice caps of the planet and get what we want. “
There are other sources of carbon on the planet. This element is present both in the soil and in mineral deposits, however, according to the calculations of the researchers, Mars contains insufficient natural resources in order to turn the atmosphere of the planet into a moderate, moist greenhouse.
According to the latest assumptions, deep beneath the surface of the planet. Nevertheless, scientists at the moment do not have a sufficient set of data that could confirm this assumption. And even if we could confirm this, we would not have been able to reach these reserves anyway.
“We can guess that there is something there. Traces of carbon were found in several impact craters of the planet. But we do not know how much carbon there is. Moreover, even in the event of large reserves, it is not possible to reach them, “Yakoski comments.
Still, scientists continue to hope. Researchers believe that if not in the coming years, then within a few decades, technological evolution, as well as the subsequent colonization of Mars, will allow us to reach the level when the implementation of plans for terraforming the Red Planet will be possible.
“We can still terraform Mars . We could create on the planet artificial sources of highly active greenhouse gases, for example, chlorofluorocarbons. They would be able to heat the planet. But this will require a higher technological level than the one we have now. This goes far beyond our current capabilities. If this is done, it is clearly not in the near future, “the researchers note.