Old 23rd August 2005, 23:40   #1
MegaRock
Forum King
 
MegaRock's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Inside my water bong
Posts: 6,854
Send a message via ICQ to MegaRock Send a message via Yahoo to MegaRock
Use Greenhouse Gases To Make Mars Livable?

There’s a new mission to Mars. But we’re not talking about cute little robot rovers anymore.

CBS News Correspondent Jerry Bowen reports on a plan to turn the Red Planet into a green one – one that could support life.

"What we propose is to use greenhouse gases – the same ones that are currently on the earth causing climate change," said Margarita Marinova, a graduate student at the California Institute of Technology.

That's right. Earthlings are thinking of using the same toxic stuff already blamed for global warming here to put some life back on Mars.

Marinova says that the goal is to warm Mars enough so that the planet’s south polar cap will evaporate.

Ever since Hollywood directors started yelling “Action!” B-grade science fiction thrillers have depicted a warmer, livable Mars.

Marinova hopes to turn those fictional accounts into reality. She has co-authored a NASA study that says it’s doable – even if it's not understandable.

As Marinova explains it, the devil’s in the details. And the little devil’s name is octafluoropropane.

"This is our favorite molecule,” Marinova said.

Octafluoropropane is a really nasty greenhouse gas that is the by-product of circuit board production on Earth. It is so powerful that in Mars’ thin atmosphere, it would really pack a punch.

"Once we have a colony on Mars, they'll be having their own production and it'll be easy for them to produce these greenhouse gases," Marinova said.

It would take hundreds of years but eventually ice sheets would melt, grass would grow here, and temperatures would hit 50 degrees along the equator of the planet. Martian organisms might be revived too – if there are any.

The idea has made headlines worldwide – from Marinova's birthplace in Bulgaria to Beijing – raising questions of whether it’s right to fool with Martian nature.

But Margarita Marinova has no doubts – and she's got even more plans.

“I certainly hope to be one of the first people on Mars,” she said.

Marinova would be the Red Planet’s very own weather woman. She doesn't forecast it – she makes it.

Megarock Radio - St. Louis Since 1998!
Tune In Now!
Corporate Radio Sucks! No suits, all rock!
MegaRock is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 24th August 2005, 13:01   #2
gaekwad2
Foorum King
 
gaekwad2's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: bar2000
Posts: 11,411
Just send all SUV drivers to Mars.
gaekwad2 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 24th August 2005, 21:42   #3
webthing
Forum King
 
webthing's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: South Central Pennsylvania USA
Posts: 2,638
Bullshit. Never will work.

The Earth has a substantial magnetic field, a feature that protects us from radiation by substantial solar flares. In fact, the Earth's magnetic field behaves as if there were a huge bar magnet inside the planet. The field arises from the motions inside the metallic, liquid outer core of the Earth; the motions are driven by the Earth's rotation and heat flowing from the inner, solid core. Other planets also have magnetic fields, but at present the fields of Mercury, the Moon, and Mars are quite weak, less than 1% of Earth's field.

Here on Earth we're protected from the solar wind by a global magnetic field (the same one that causes compass needles to point north). Our planet's magnetosphere, which extends far out into space, deflects solar wind ions before they penetrate to the atmosphere below.

Mars isn't so fortunate. Lacking a planet-wide magnetic field, most of the Red Planet is exposed to the full force of the incoming solar wind. "The Martian atmosphere extends hundreds of kilometers above the surface where it's ionized by solar ultraviolet radiation,"

Scientists aren't sure why, but Mars' internal magnetic dynamo turned off about 4 billion years ago. After that, the solar wind gradually eroded the martian atmosphere until, today, it is less than 1 percent as thick as Earth's.

No global magnetic field and a very thin atmosphere -- those are the two factors that render Mars vulnerable to space radiation.

Does such exposure mean Mars is lifeless? Not necessarily, say scientists. Indigenous life forms could be radiation resistant, like the terrestrial microbe Deinococcus radiodurans. Tiny Martians might also live in rocks or soil, substances that provide natural protection against radiation. But grass will never grow on Mars.

Most charged particles in our solar system come from two sources: solar flares, which produce a rain of dangerous protons, and distant supernova explosions, which accelerate atomic nuclei --called "cosmic rays"-- to nearly light speed.

"Both can be hazardous, but from the standpoint of crew health, solar flares are the greater concern," says Badhwar. Solar flares produce particles with relatively low energies (~70 MeV). "Such protons lose energy in tissue at a much higher rate than faster-moving particles like cosmic rays" he added. Cosmic ray nuclei, carrying typically 300 to 500 MeV per nucleon, zip through the human body so quickly there's not enough time to dump their energy into the surrounding tissue.

Solar protons passing through humans ionize molecules along their tracks. "The ionization creates free radicals," explains Badhwar, "which can be very damaging." Sometimes protons will modify or even break DNA strands within cells. If the cell survives it can become cancerous -- a long-term health risk of radiation exposure.

The devil’s in the details. And it's called magnetosphere and solar wind.

webthing is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 24th August 2005, 22:37   #4
MegaRock
Forum King
 
MegaRock's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Inside my water bong
Posts: 6,854
Send a message via ICQ to MegaRock Send a message via Yahoo to MegaRock
Quote:
Originally posted by gaekwad2
Just send all SUV drivers to Mars.
That's a great idea!

Megarock Radio - St. Louis Since 1998!
Tune In Now!
Corporate Radio Sucks! No suits, all rock!
MegaRock is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply
Go Back   Winamp & Shoutcast Forums > Community Center > Breaking News

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump