Should we terraform Mars?

Artist's conception of a terraformed Mars. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

As we continue to explore farther out into our solar system and beyond, the question of habitation or colonization inevitably comes up. Manned bases on the Moon or Mars for example, have long been a dream of many. There is a natural desire to explore as far as we can go, and also to extend humanity’s presence on a permanent or at least semi-permanent basis. In order to do this, however, it is necessary to adapt to different extreme environments. On the Moon for example, a colony must be self-sustaining and protect its inhabitants from the airless, harsh environment outside.

Mars, though, is different. While future bases could adapt to the Martian environment as well, there is also the possibility of modifying the surrounding environment instead of just co-existing with it. This is the process of terraforming ‚Äď essentially trying to tinker with Mars‚Äô atmosphere and environment to make it more Earth-like. Although still a long ways off technologically, terraforming the Red Planet is seen as a future possibility. Perhaps the bigger question is, should we?

See Universe Today for the full article.