We humans are becoming experts at creating global warming, and we've finally found a place where our talents are needed: Mars. At a recent NASA conference, "The Physics and Biology of Making Mars Habitable," scientists discussed ways that future colonists can make the chilly planet more comfortable to live in.
One solution would be to pump greenhouse gases into the atmosphere to create a runaway greenhouse effect. It might be possible to warm Mars just enough to evaporate the planet's carbon dioxide, now trapped inside ice and frost, so that the gases could warm up the planet.
"Once CO2 is released," says Margarita Marinova, a student at MIT, "it will take over," and we will only need to add a little more pollution occasionally, when needed.
How fast can we do it? "If you had 100 factories, each having the energy of a nuclear reactor, working for 100 years, you could warm Mars 6 to 8 degrees," says Marinova. At that rate, it would take about 800 years to make Mars a comfortable place for humans to live.
We'd better start importing some of our SUVs up there right away, so we can get started.
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