'Carba' and Molecular Nanotechnology - Potential Synergy Between Venus Resources and Terraforming

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S.L. Gillett (2003), JBIS, 56, 146-151

Refcode: 2003.56.146
Keywords: Venus, terraforming, nanotechnology, carba, resources

The major obstacle to terraforming Venus is the enormous mass of its CO2 atmosphere. Megatechnological scenarios for eliminating it require far-future technologies, and the very relevance of terraforming under those circumstances is problematic. More importantly, the advent of molecular nanotechnology (MNT) indicates that the Venus atmosphere, being the largest off-Earth store of carbon in the inner Solar System, is likely to become extremely valuable and thus should not be discarded wantonly. An alternative approach to terraforming, which not only preserves the C in the atmosphere but makes it much more convenient for use, is to convert the CO2 to a solid polymorph, termed “carba” by analogy to “silica”, which would have a silica-like indefinitely repeating 3D structure consisting of linked CO4 tetrahedra. Developments in MNT and biotechnology may allow carba conversion to be carried out with modified microbes and thus recover some of the elegance of the original “Sagan” terraforming scenario.

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