Blankets of Silica Aerogel Could Make Parts of Mars Habitable

Universe Today | 7/18/2019 | Staff
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The idea of somehow terra-forming Mars to make it more habitable is a visionary, sci-fi dream. But though global terra-forming of Mars is out of reach, the idea persists. But now, a material called silica aerogel might make make the whole idea of terra-forming Mars slightly less impossible.

Notable people from Carl Sagan to Elon Musk have proposed warming Mars and give it an atmosphere, and the trick lies in the frozen CO2 and water in the planet’s polar caps. Sagan said if those caps could be vaporized somehow, then the CO2 greenhouse effect would do the rest. Musk said, glibly and half-jokingly, that atomic bombs dropped on the poles would do the trick.

Work - Idea - Theory - Question - Mars

There’s serious scientific work going on to explore the idea, at least in theory. The central question is, does Mars have enough CO2 and water to create an atmospheric density similar to Earths?

In 2018, scientists at the University of Colorado studied the question. Their conclusion? Terraforming Mars is not possible with our current technology, something that most people already felt certain was true.

Results - CO2 - Mars - Greenhouse - Gas

“Our results suggest that there is not enough CO2 remaining on Mars to provide significant greenhouse warming were the gas to be put into the atmosphere; in addition, most of the CO2 gas is not accessible and could not be readily mobilized. As a result, terraforming Mars is not possible using present-day technology,” said Bruce Jakosky, professor at the Laboratory of Atmosphere and Space Physics at University of Colorado, Boulder.

But that was a year ago, and technology is constantly evolving.

Study - Nature - Astronomy - Trio - Researchers

In a new study in Nature Astronomy, a trio researchers from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Harvard University, and the University of Edinburgh, suggest that Mars could be made habitable if we change our thinking and use new technology. Rather than grand dreams of making the entirety of...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Universe Today
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