Tech by VICE

A Step-by-Step Guide to Terraforming Mars

This video shows the basic steps it would take to make Mars habitable.

by Yiwei Tian
Nov 12 2015, 8:28pm

It has been a long dream for humankind to discover another liveable planet. But because of severe conditions such as powerful solar winds and a lack of atmosphere, our good neighbour Mars rejects our pleas to live there.

Regardless, some with Martian aspirations still hope to turn the red planet into something hospitable and more like our blue one. This video from the Vimeo user Futurism runs through the basics of how to terraform Mars and visualizes how it would happen.

Step 1: We need atmosphere.

By exploding thermonuclear weapons over the poles, some believe we could release frozen carbon dioxide and create an atmosphere, which would then capture sunlight and help warm the planet. This would melt the polar icecaps, further increasing the temperature.

Step 2: We need oxygen.

Drop some of those bio-engineered creatures from DARPA into the Martian soil, which will release oxygen.

Step 3: Then, we need heat and water.

Comets and asteroids could then be redirected to collide with the surface. The collision will provide both heat on impact and water from the ice they carry.

CO2 machines could further build the atmosphere, and giant orbital mirrors could focus sunlight toward the poles, releasing the water trapped in massive ice sheets.

And theoretically boom! You get another blue Earth!

Well, maybe it's not that easy. But terraforming Mars isn't out of the question, and in fact, the idea has a lot of respectable supporters—including Elon Musk and geneticist Craig Venter, who believe we should "print" organisms to transform Mars's atmosphere.