Mar 3, 2017
NASA unveils project to create 'Earth-like' atmosphere on MARS
HUMANS will be able to explore Mars under radical plans to create an "Earth-like" atmosphere on the red planet, NASA has revealed.
The US space agency has unveiled a radical project to "take" Mars on behalf of the human race within 34 years. Under the futuristic plan, scientists are hoping to create an environment that could support human astronauts on the planet.
The aim of the sci-fi plot is to launch an artificial magnetic field around the planet.
This would create what boffins call a "magnetotail" which shields the planet from intense solar winds and thereby making it habitable to humans.
Jim Green, NASA's Planetary Science Division Director, revealed the idea yesterday at the Planetary Science Vision 2050 Workshop in Washington DC. Green said: "This is not terraforming, as you may think about it, where we actually artificially change the climate.
"We let nature do it. And we do that based on the physics we know today."
Once a "magnetotail" has been created, the atmosphere will undergo drastic changes, with one seventh of the planet's oceans returning. Without the intervention, these changes may not have happened for 700 million years, scientists say. At the workshop on Thursday NASA said it hopes to complete the project by 2050. Green said around 90% of Mar's atmosphere has been stripped away by harsh cosmic rays. About 1.3 kilograms per second of "important oxygen" is currently lost through the atmosphere, a NAA probe revealed.
Eventually the atmosphere will change as the release of CO2 enhances the greenhouse effect and releases water on the planet.
By Joshua Nevett