Details

Terraforming: The Creating of Habitable Worlds


Terraforming: The Creating of Habitable Worlds


Astronomers' Universe

von: Martin Beech

32,09 €

Verlag: Springer
Format: PDF
Veröffentl.: 21.04.2009
ISBN/EAN: 9780387097961
Sprache: englisch
Anzahl Seiten: 291

Dieses eBook enthält ein Wasserzeichen.

Beschreibungen

The word ‘‘terraforming’’ conjures up many exotic images and p- hapsevenwildemotions,butatitscoreitencapsulatestheideathat worldscanbechangedbydirecthumanaction.Theultimateaimof terraforming is to alter a hostile planetary environment into one that is Earth-like, and eventually upon the surface of the new and vibrant world that you or I could walk freely about and explore. It is not entirely clear that this high goal of terraforming can ever be achieved, however, and consequently throughout much of thisbooktheterraformingideasthatarediscussedwillapplytothe goal of making just some fraction of a world habitable. In other cases,theterraformingdescribedmightbeaimedatmakingaworld habitablenotforhumansbutforsomepotentialfoodsourcethat,of course, could be consumed by humans. The many icy moons that reside within the Solar System, for example, may never be ideal locationsforhumanhabitation,buttheypresentthegreatpotential for conversion into enormous hydroponic food-producing centers. The idea of transforming alien worlds has long been a literary backdrop for science fiction writers, and many a make-believe planet has succumbed to the actions of direct manipulation and the indomitable grinding of colossal machines. Indeed, there is something both liberating and humbling about the notion of tra- forming another world; it is the quintessential eucatastrophy espoused by J. R. R. Tolkien, the catastrophe that ultimately brings about a better world. When oxygen was first copiously produced by cyanobacterial activity on the Earth some three billion years ago, it was an act of extreme chemical pollution and a eucatastrophy. The original life-nurturing atmosphere was (eventually) changed f- ever, but an atmosphere that could support advanced life forms came about.
The word ‘‘terraforming’’ conjures up many exotic images and p- hapsevenwildemotions,butatitscoreitencapsulatestheideathat worldscanbechangedbydirecthumanaction.Theultimateaimof terraforming is to alter a hostile planetary environment into one that is Earth-like, and eventually upon the surface of the new and vibrant world that you or I could walk freely about and explore. It is not entirely clear that this high goal of terraforming can ever be achieved, however, and consequently throughout much of thisbooktheterraformingideasthatarediscussedwillapplytothe goal of making just some fraction of a world habitable. In other cases,theterraformingdescribedmightbeaimedatmakingaworld habitablenotforhumansbutforsomepotentialfoodsourcethat,of course, could be consumed by humans. The many icy moons that reside within the Solar System, for example, may never be ideal locationsforhumanhabitation,buttheypresentthegreatpotential for conversion into enormous hydroponic food-producing centers. The idea of transforming alien worlds has long been a literary backdrop for science fiction writers, and many a make-believe planet has succumbed to the actions of direct manipulation and the indomitable grinding of colossal machines. Indeed, there is something both liberating and humbling about the notion of tra- forming another world; it is the quintessential eucatastrophy espoused by J. R. R. Tolkien, the catastrophe that ultimately brings about a better world. When oxygen was first copiously produced by cyanobacterial activity on the Earth some three billion years ago, it was an act of extreme chemical pollution and a eucatastrophy. The original life-nurturing atmosphere was (eventually) changed f- ever, but an atmosphere that could support advanced life forms came about.
Prolog: The Big Guns of Kugluktuk.- Life in the Solar System, and Beyond.- The Limits of the World.- In the Right Place at the Right Time.- The Terraforming of Mars.- The Terraforming of Venus.- An Abundance of Habitats.
<p>Associate professor of astronomy, and Head of the Astronomy Department at Campion College, The University of Regina. My main research interests during the past decade have focused on the smaller objects within the solar system (comets, asteroids and meteoroids), but concomitant to this I have continued to perform research related to the structure and evolution of stars (the area of my doctoral studies). The book being proposed here is partly based upon a series of research papers that I have published over the years and on material used in a solar system studies class. The topic of asteroengineering was recently the focus of an ‘opinion article’ I wrote for the May 2006 issue of Astronomy Now magazine, and an editorial piece in the May 2006 issue of Smithsonian Air and Space magazine.</p><p>Home web page: http://hyperion.cc.uregina.ca/~astro/mbeech.html</p>
<P>We all know that Earth’s population is growing at an alarming rate, and vital resources are becoming scarce. There simply isn’t enough space to grow the food the bulging human populations will need in the future. An energy crisis is also upon us. What happens when the oil runs out or becomes too costly to support us in the lifestyles to which we’ve become accustomed? What do we do? </P>
<P></P>
<P>There are no easy solutions. Planned population growth would certainly be a possible solution, but there are probably already too many mouths too feed, and few nations would be willing to pass or enforce laws limiting their country’s birth rate. </P>
<P></P>
<P>Some scientists have suggested the answer lies in humankind’s spacefaring nature and fantastic engineering capabilities. We know that there are other terrestrial bodies in our Solar System that share some features with Earth. Can they be made habitable, or at least be used to grow food or supply energy to Earth’s expanding populations? What would it take? Which of those bodies are our best hope? Can we create an atmosphere where there is none or change a poisonous atmosphere to one we can breathe?</P>
<P></P>
<P>These and other questions concerning modern-day realities and the future possibilities of terraforming—the science of making of new worlds (even extrasolar ones) habitable for humans—are tackled in this engrossing and revealing study by Martin Beech. </P>
<p>Explains how other parts of the solar system and even exoplanets can be made fit for human settlement and how our solar system offers an abundance of resources</p><p>Shows how geological and chemical activity in Earth's atmosphere allow Earth to support life and how other solar system objects might be fashioned similarly</p><p>Explores in detail the current thinking on how a terraformed, life-sustaining Mars might be possible, given that Mars was once a much wetter and denser planet</p>

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