We can’t move to Mars
It’s long been a dream of Elon Musk’s to terraform the surface of Mars in order to allow for the successful colonisation of human beings.
How that could be achieved will vary according to who you ask. Transforming the face of another planet to suit the habitat of an alien species has been the subject of science fiction fantasies for over 100 years, with the War of the Worlds describing Martians coming to Earth and killing off native plant life in order to support their own climate.
Unfortunately, it seems, theoretical revenge for such an act seems impossible any time in the near future; at least according to NASA.
The space agency commissioned a report into the possibility of transforming Mars’s atmosphere to support human life through human engineering to look at the possibility of starting such a project but the outlook isn’t good.
The main obstacles facing scientists hoping to claim Mars in the name of humanity would be thickening its atmosphere in order to hold the key elements of life such as water. Mars has less than 1% of the atmospheric pressure of that on Earth, but even releasing all of the known sources of CO2 wouldn’t be enough to thicken it above 7% of Earth’s pressure.
There could well be further sources of CO2 under the surface, it is thought, but accessing such reserves are way beyond current human technology or what we could hope to develop in the near future.
Dr Bruce Jakovsky, talking about his work on the research, said "Our results suggest that there is not enough CO2 remaining on Mars to provide significant greenhouse warming were the gas to be put into the atmosphere, in addition, most of the CO2 gas is not accessible and could not be readily mobilised. As a result, terraforming Mars is not possible using present-day technology."
Not deterred by his recent spats with experts who suggested his technical insight might not be up to scratch, Musk took to Twitter to suggest that the dream was still alive. I suppose we’ll soon see.