ast251 essay 1 - Terraforming Mars Interstellar...

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Terraforming Mars Interstellar Colonization of Mars, Europa, and Beyond… By Christie-Lynn Moore, 995148095 TA: Zhiqi Huang, March 17, 2008 Abstract Since it’s creation, our sun has been getting 10% hotter every billion years. With the rising temperature, humans will ultimately have to find another place to live to avoid extinction. Though presently barren, Mars is the only biocompatible planet in our solar system. People can survive in inhospitable places like Mars through a planetary engineering process called terraformation. The terraformation process will take many years to complete, but if successful it will buy us time. Eventually the sun will become an enemy to Mars as well and we will have to move even further out. First to Jupiter’s moon Europa, then to terrestrial planets beyond our solar system.
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Humans have always had the urge to explore. Just as our early ancestors left Africa 60 000 years ago, and the Europeans set out across the Atlantic Ocean to colonize the Americas, now it is time to consider exploration outside our planet. There are many influential factors contributing to interstellar colonization. Some examples include political expansion and spiritual exploration. While others concern the possibility of human extinction by means of excessive pollution, universal pandemics, or overpopulation. 1 But the most inevitable, deadly threat to life on Earth is ironically the giver of life itself, our Sun. Since it’s creation, our Sun has been getting 10% hotter every billion years. And in just 1 billion years, it will become so hot it will begin to destroy life on earth. Plants and animals will find it difficult to cope with the rapidly dropping levels of carbon dioxide. According to astronomical engineer Dr. Robert Zubrin, the founder of Mars Society, in 2 to 3 billion years, the Earth will be a hot house. 2 The oceans will start warming up and evaporating into the atmosphere creating a runaway greenhouse. The Earth will then be like Venus, with a very thick atmosphere trapping in a lot of heat. Then, as the sun gets even brighter, the Earth will eventually just vaporize. Earth is gradually becoming a less desirable place to live. We will reach a point where Earth is no longer habitable. Ultimately, we will have to find another place to live. 3
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ast251 essay 1 - Terraforming Mars Interstellar...

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