NASA wants to put a giant shield around Mars so we can live there, and we’re cool with this
In Washington, D.C., NASA headquarters recently hosted the Planetary Science Vision 2050 Workshop. Here scientists discussed ambitious space travel projects meant to start by 2050. One of the coolest things to come out of this workshop came from Jim Green, NASA’s Planetary Science Division Director.
In a talk titled, “A Future Mars Environment for Science and Exploration,” Green discussed launching a “magnetic shield” to a stable orbit between Mars and the sun.
The Mars L1 would first shield the planet from high-energy solar particles. This shield would be made from a closed electric circuit powerful enough to generate an artificial magnetic field.
In theory, this shield would then help restore an atmosphere on Mars, making the surface livable for humans.
It could help Mars achieve half the atmospheric pressure of Earth in a matter of years. The frozen carbon dioxide would start to turn to gas and then start the greenhouse effect. After that, the vast stores of ice under the poles would melt and flood the world with liquid water, another equally important part of sustaining life.
Here’s the full segment, with Jim Green’s talk starting at 1:36:00.
Green, like many others, is excited about the prospect of increased discovery with this innovation.
He said, "Much like Earth, an enhanced atmosphere would allow larger landed mass of equipment to the surface, shield against most cosmic and solar particle radiation, extend the ability for oxygen extraction, and provide 'open air' greenhouses to exist for plant production, just to name a few."
Of course, this all sounds like science fiction movies and novels. But if someone from NASA is proposing it, it seems like it could happen!
Human colonization of another planet would be difficult for so many reasons. But creating this environment and terraforming Mars could be the best way to create a settlement uniquely for humanity.
We’re going to go pack our bags for the first Mars colony and cross our fingers that this happens.