The Mars Atmosphere Problem - Paraterraforming - The Worldhouse Solution

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R.L.S. Taylor (2001), JBIS, 54, 236-249

Refcode: 2001.54.236
Keywords: Terraforming, life-support systems, Martian volatiles, ecopoiesis, habitability, greenhouse effect, ecosystem, feedback loops, climate

This paper outlines how engineering technology, operating within the actual Martian volatiles inventory, could permit the establishment and maintenance of an inhabitable ecosystem on Mars in a biosphere enclosed within a quasi-global `Worldhouse'. Such a fully habitable environment would be achieved by constructing a deliber- ately restricted ecospheric environment (DREE) on the planet. This would mimic closely the free-running seasonal, biological and geochemical cycles that operate on the Earth. The system would function in an almost completely self-stable and self-regulatory manner requiring the absolute minimum of intervention and should achieve a state close to a fully Earth-like dynamic equilibrium. Consideration is given also to the prevention and circumvention of any potential hazards that might affect the short and long-term integrity of the worldhouse structure. Constructing a habitable contained environment on Mars would be the greatest engineering and architectural challenge yet to be undertaken by humankind. However, it would require little technology much in advance of that currently available.


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