Saturday, February 16, 2013

Terraformed Mars

From The Atlantic (yeah, I know) a not-too-terribly scientific look at what a terraformed Mars might look like.  Great pics:

The article ends by noting, "Looks like home, maybe a bit, just with a foreign geography."  Except it doesn't, really.  A terraformed Mars is going to have one giant super-continent.  Even if you assume any bit of land that touches another bit of land constitute one continent (making North and South America a single continent, as well as Eurasia and Africa) Earth still has four distinct land masses.  It also appears that a watery Mars is closer to a 50/50 split of surface area being water or land, as opposed to Earth's 70/30 split. 

I can't imagine that doesn't result in some really odd weather.  I do think the artist got it right that one half of that continent is really green (perhaps even waterlogged, like the Amazon) and the other half is pretty dry and barren; a watery Mars isn't necessarily going to be a green Mars.  I could also see a wet Mars experiencing something like an epic version of our monsoon pattern weather


Chris Hogan said...

The catabatic winds off the Tharsis Bulge would be destroy-all-in-their-path crazy once you thickened up the atmosphere to breathable levels. And the pressure differential between the low point of Hellas Planitia and the upper reaches of Olympus Mons would be like walking from Denver into space.

Mars: that place has crazy overscale features for such a small world.

(yes, I've been reading KSR's Mars trilogy recently, can you tell?)

trollsmyth said...

Yeah, I very much need to read it myself some time. How does KSR deal with the low gravity?

- Brian

Chris Hogan said...

AFAIR there are a few mentions of people overbalancing or things falling slowly enough to be dodged in the first book, dreamscape super-flimsy engineering that would collapse under its own weight on Earth is possible, and the third book has human wingsuit gliders after terraforming is complete.

There's little mention of physiological difficulties or the like until Marsborn children try to visit Earth in book 2.

anarchist said...

The green just means that that's where the Green Martians live.