Could We Terraform Mars?

PBS Space Time

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    Humanity’s future is glorious. As we master space travel, we’ll hop from one lifeless world to the next. Life will blossom in our path and the galaxy with shimmer with beautiful Earth-like orbs. Hmmm… maybe. This won’t sound so far fetched if we prove we can do it at least once. If we successfully terraform Mars.
    Hosted by Matt O'Dowd
    Written by Matt O'Dowd
    Graphics by Murilo Lopes
    Directed by: Andrew Kornhaber
    Produced By: Kornhaber Brown
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    We already have the technology to bring humans safely to Mars and set up small settlements - or at least could do within a generation. But those settlements will need to be cocooned - shielded against the deadly cold, intense radiation, and the fatal lack of atmospheric pressure. Surely if we want to thrive on Mars - to make it into our second home - these settlers, or their descendants, will need to be able open the airlocks, shed their spacesuits, and step out onto a survivable surface. We’ll need to terraform Mars, as our first step in terraforming the galaxy.
    Red Iris Mars habitat by James Telfer:
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    1. Sarge Pent

      It'd be easier to taraform Venus than Mars

    2. alan mckeeve

      All sealed and underground with lots of greenhouses, looking at the mess this planet is in with overpopulation I wonder what the selection process would be....who picks who? who gets in?

    3. George Jetson


    4. Lewis Watson

      Crash 16 psyche into the South Pole boom. We than have water rare earth metals and $10,000QT to split between us!

    5. Abhay K

      First take care of Earth.

    6. Shibly Ahmed

      Hey, we can't even fix our own earth!! What are you dreaming about?

    7. 2011Matz

      Human's are so intoxicated with "TeChNoLoGy!!!!" its getting silly.

    8. JM Stopmotion

      Thanks lego city

    9. R D

      We can't even terraform earth

    10. Gabriel

      You are not going to get anywhere with that kind of approach - you are not going to be able to just add the missing gases and say that its terraformed - the only way this is going to work is to add life to it.

    11. Nobody Special

      Here's a thought: you said "cannot melt Mars' core". Why not? I get that it requires MASSIVE amounts of energy, and would require a lot to keep it going once started, but is that not the big key on this? Restart the core's rotation, possibly to spin faster than it had previously, also get the entire planet to rotate more quickly, thus increasing its mass, gravity, ability to retain an atmosphere and resistance to cosmic radiation? How do we do that? Those are problems that need mulling over, and of course the energy requirements appear extremely high with our current understandings of technology and our current abilities to manipulate matter. However, we are experimenting with fusion currently, and as we get closer to understanding it, there seems little reason that instead of importing so many of the elemental materials required, we could forge them from the materials that are already there. Tesla was, among other things, developing technology that utilized energy derived from Earth's magnetic fields. We've seen the little toy versions of it recharging phones through induction plates, but it holds potential for far more powerful, albeit dangerous tasks. Dangerous to living things nearby, but how dangerous to an already dead planet? The process I am pondering might take hundreds even thousands of years, but probably less, depending on how much of an impact we want to make around this process. The things that we must bear in mind are that many of the things we consider impossible right now are in fact not, they just don't make sense in terms of cost versus benefit given our current level of technology and needs. Those will change. Also, time is currently our enemy. That may change as well.

    12. Byron

      What prevents the new atmosphere from being stripped away by the solar wind?

    13. Fred Astaire

      We're proving we can Turdaform Earth!

    14. Loki Nakor

      Short answer, yes, eventually, but by the time we can accomplish such a feat, Earth will be the planet we should re-terraform. If only we could outsource our carbon emissions to Mars...

    15. Amaizing World

      You also forgot to add the air polution that would occur with all that industry. Not to mention radiation piles of waste product, or did we launch all that into space? 🤦

    16. Amaizing World

      Alot of falsehoods in this video being passed off as science fact and its actually still theory. Nasa has admitted there was never any large amount of free standing water or oceans. More that Mars was covered in CO2 ICE AND SOME liquid water existed only in thin layers condensing under miles of CO2 ICE.

    17. Sisnster Gaming


    18. vizeet srivastava

      Use SO2 instead of CO2.. we anyway need to live under domes...

    19. Chris Duhaime


    20. Philomathist

      Before watching goals should be, 1. Throw really big rock to add mass and reignite core to create magnitoshphere, 2. once cooled down start with atmosphere.

    21. Smanga Ndwandwe

      We failed to transform deserts into forests then you think we can transform Mars, how 😎

    22. Mike Gerrie

      It's sad that due to your school science class, NASA and people like Elon Musk make people think that teraforming is a possibility.

    23. Mike Gerrie

      There is no way we will ever be able to hold a atmosphere with enough pressure to support human life. Even if we try and live in domes the lack of strength in gravity would have long term negative effect on the human body.

    24. Noxx Space


    25. Ander Ander

      Mars doesn't have enough gravity to hold onto it's atmosphere.....maybe if you crash Mercury into it.

    26. Tyler Bozinovski

      Plot twist: The North Pole is actually the South Pole, and vice versa.

    27. Busi Xnesse

      No we cant

    28. crossmenjeff

      I always wonder why we don't consider adding mass to Mars, I suppose the comet explanation addresses most of it, I just pictured trying to increase the mass from 11% to 20 or 30% be pulling from the asteroid belt. Once we add life to Mars, that option goes away.

    29. K4yr4h

      i think venus is the better candidate for a 2nd earth. it might also easier to bioengineer life to survive on other planets than to terraform.

    30. Dave

      no one is going to terraform Mars, the scales needed are ridiculously gargantuan and expensive. Earthlings will have to settle for artificial domes of life. the real question about Mars is: how does it benefit us to go there? much less contemplate staying there. I think the answer is that there must be a natural resource on Mars that is in demand for Earth to stir an economic benefit.

    31. Jason hayward

      Maybe wait as not all creatures live on the surface. Move there go to the caves and the bottom and see what happens.

    32. Science on the Right

      Sounds like Venus' clouds are a better target for our first off-world home.

    33. Jefff

      As Mars has a smaller surface area than Earth, what would the population of Mars be if it had the same population density of Earth?

    34. Jefff

      What would the reduced gravity do to the human body over time & generations?

    35. Phillip Beardsmore

      Not possible

    36. sly fly

      we need to crash one of mars moons into the surface of the planet , this would give more then enough energy to heat up the planet at release all the co2

    37. Rodney Cooper

      It needs a magnetosphere first before any terraforming can take place.

    38. Mosy Cube 27

      Uh Human mack a lot of Co2

    39. Henrik Krystad

      (Mars) gravity break your bones no atmosphere means no rescorses ore radiation protection no terraforming, (Venus high altitude) -> similar structure presure and gravity and aaaall to human rescorses thick atmosphere 60°C terraforming no spacesuit

    40. Robert Sullivan

      No you can't and if you could it wouldn't happen for a few hundred years. It's pie in the sky crap like the Dyson sphere.

    41. Tikiman1998

      No. Not enough mass and low magnetic field.

    42. chuck sellers

      Mars is getting smaller because I was taught that Mars is 2/3 the size of Earth. That was the 80s and 90s though.

    43. laszloilles52

      Terraforming Mars is a stupid and dangerous idea. Doing that we could only extremely accelerate loosing the entire water of the planet. The basic problem with the Mars that it has not got enough gravity and magnetic field. Mankind is stupid. While destroing their own beautiful planet, they dreamin of how to do it with an another planet. Instead, let's keep our planet terraformed, as long as it is possible!

    44. Boris Chang

      Why bother? After a century or two, profiteers will poison the new Mars atmosphere on their way to amassing wealth.

    45. scotty rotten

      Theoretically, could mars' core be remelted by maneuvering a planetoid sized asteroid into orbit around it? I've heard that some scientists believe our large moon has kept our core from solidifying.

    46. Jerry Follett

      Don’t count on packing our suitcases anytime soon... We have no where else to go so we better look after the Earth we have ☹️

      1. Jerry Follett

        Wake up humans Earth is the only place we can live!!! We may never be able to reach other planets that support life of humans and there may not be any other plants out there that will....

    47. T N

      No no no we cant send people to mars baloney v2 rocket teckno please space lab is insulting 2001 space odyssey were not


      Could we Sweep the Antarctic desert with a toothbrush ??.. Absolutely, but why??

    49. Hugh Kelly

      Of course we must be able to reestablish the biosphere right here on Earth.

    50. Robert Mullis

      We can't even teraform earth...

    51. Blanket's Corner

      Why not infuse ammonia-producing bacteria in the ice on Mars? Naturally pump nitrogen and hydrogen into the atmosphere to raise the pressure so when ice melts it becomes liquid. Then bring in cyanobacteria to convert all the excess CO2 into O2. Could possibly get the core moving again if you started synthetic volcanism. Basically vents that you can tie into the mantle directly and heat up the mantle artificially (technology doesn't exist yet, but could theoretically work)

    52. fernando aurelio acevedo marin

      La Terraformación por colisión de cometas es un fen´kmeno natural que libera CO2 y vapor de agua que protege de la radiación Solar y permite un effecto invernadero,los cometas pueden ser desviados de su trayectoria mediante golpes de impacto con asteroides que son,identificados,capturados,guiados y dirigidos a golpe de impacto contra el cometa por sondas espaciales adaptadas para este tipo de misión; debemos dejar a nuestros descendientes uanesperanza de vida y no una herencia de odios,en el sistema Solar hay miles de cometas y millones de asteroides.

    53. yesi lopez


    54. Fredrik

      I say we just build a long tube connecting earth and Mars, and then we dump all the exhaust fumes from our cars there. Two birds with one stone so to speak!

    55. Levon Guyumjian

      I'm sorry to inform you guys you are far from reality, 99% scientists still don't understand basics of true physics. Let me educate you guys I will quote most important words. "Gravitational density atmospheric pressure and oxygen mixture are proportional" so what exactly means that, if gravity decrease it loses density, if gravity loses density our atmospheric pressure will dropped, if atmospheric pressure dropped oxygen mixture in the air will dropped as well. If you have brain think is it possible to terraform Marsian atmosphere.

    56. Levon Vardanyan

      Just a few decades ago who would believe today we can make artificial hearts or do heart transports, land little rovers on mars, or creating human organs in a lab. I believe nothing is impossible, there’s a cure for every disease and a solution to every problem. If the earth was made habitatable then so can mars.

    57. Jason hayward

      I would not make that claim one dead world to the next . Life can be everywhere stick to ages5 to 9 with your blocking clicking toy.and you so called sponsored weirds small minded t shirt wearing bearded teacher who lives in a highly polluted area talking about things that are clearly beyond scope and intelligence.

    58. kalm dwn

      LEGO teraaforming Mars

    59. KenDragon

      Using the kind of crazy science leaps shown here how viable would terraforming Venus be? Or is it just way too hot to even consider?

    60. George Cowie

      Absolutly we can control golbal warming here

    61. john anon

      screw mars. build Oneal cylinders

    62. Stephen Griffin

      Mars doesn't have the mass to maintain an atmosphere. Could we bombard Mars with hemorrhoids... err, asteroids over 100s of years to build mass?

    63. Monkey Monkey

      This video reminds me of the same kind of ignorance of people saying that no one would be interested in the long term or large scale uses for telecommunication, the internet, or countless other commonplace technologies today. On top of that, there are so many laughably incorrect assertions and assumptions that this video should simply be rejected outright. My only hope for videos like this is that enough of our younger generation comes to the same conclusion in calling bs and it informs their career paths to be the kinds of scientists and engineers that prove it to be so.

    64. Jeff Wisener

      I would be more confident if we could clean up the water in Detroit first 😆.

    65. scott micheal walsh

      No we will 100% terraform mars at some stage

    66. Hanno

      And then BAM not enough gravity. Everyone dies.

    67. Freddy M99

      "How do we terraform Mars..." US: "NUKE IT!!!!" 3:06

    68. R D

      How can we terraform Mars when we can't even fix our own planet?

    69. Eoin O'Connell


    70. Vic Sanchez

      Elon won't hire this guy he's too pessimistic(realistic) and smarter making him look like a chump.

    71. Eddie Hancock

      As many probes n rovers as we are sending, it seems we could send machines to create CO2.... a literal internal combustible engine on a rover..... will it make a huge difference? No. But it could get the ball rolling. When we send men, we send blue-green algae or some such and we release our own co2 into the Martian atmosphere as we breathe. No one method is going to work. We need a "that too" approach if we hope to terraform mars. And the patience to understand our descendants will benefit from what we do now. It isn't failure of technology that's the problem. It's failure of imagination.

    72. Browns RV Life

      Oh wow

    73. Nathan Brawley

      I can just imagine 8 million years in the future where you’re trying to decide whether you want to visit earth for the day or watch a movie on Mars instead

    74. Gary Young

      The ad was tasteful and appropriate to the content.

    75. silent words

      Giant hose pipe from earth to mars

    76. Krunoslav Cicmir

      Crash Phobos or Deimos to mars, wait for dust to settle, done teraforming! Newbs

    77. kniteowl

      Can you do a terraform Venus video? Not sure where you even begin, build a space umbrella to block out the sun to cool it down? Lol

    78. philip jensen

      so the inverse area og limestone is 2.5 million

    79. pobra posric

      Musk's brain is so limited

    80. Emilis2023

      I don't understand how we can talk about terraforming Mars when we according to climate change science we can barely terraform Earth. We talk about going past some point of no return that will result in irreversible global warming, but the numbers usually look like a few degrees within a century or so. If we aren't able to lower the degrees by a global average or 2 or 3, how can we even consider changing an atmosphere as different as Mars? And better yet, if being able to terraform entire planets in our solar system is a possibility, then I'm pretty sure we've got nothing to fear regarding our own climate.

    81. Mathew Munro

      Crash asteroids into it, slowing its orbital speed, sending it closer to the sun, simultaneously creating debris clouds and heat from the impacts as well as adding mass to make it more able to retain an atmosphere.

    82. anonyme L

      It will be maaaarvelous ! But not yet ...

    83. fireflame62

      Supergirl and legends of tomorrow need a crossover.

    84. Pods and Docs

    85. Ron Grethel

      What about Venus?

      1. Haze

        Ssh.., we are more interested in reviving a dead people not welcoming a new baby.

    86. Serious Söd


      1. Haze

        It will be like watering a plant in the rain then. I mean, even if you do nothing, venus will still alive, it is an embrio, the earth is a grown up adult, well, an old elderly actually, and mars is a corpse.

    87. treesaver321

      How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! 13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:

    88. Al mira

      I suggest transfer of anything polluting Earth to Mars. Like those factories 🏭

    89. Mr. Burning Skull

      If you find oil on mars dont tell the americans they will make wars and destroy mars for it

    90. cab03004

      I love how they always forget that if we have the ability to terraform Mars, we would have the ability to fix Earth...

    91. Robert Reznik

      Finding CO2 from CaCO3 is not an option as what do you do with the Calcium. It takes too much mining and energy as the narrator said. Asteroids and comet are most likely what will improve Mars. We could use this energy on earth to reduce CO2 if that would make earth better. If we need more food for humans the CO2 might be what we need here.

    92. TheColonelKlink

      Mars by its very dead state makes it abundantly clear that any attempt at this terraforming fantasy is doomed to fail. Outside of Earth's thin atmosphere space is a wonderous horrifying death scape.

    93. Snifferoni

      We can't even terraform earth xD

    94. neil farnell

      So first step is to crack the controllable fusion power puzzle. With that done it is a matter of estimating the gasous material missing from the planet. Next we find and assemble the necessary gases in the form of ices around mars ( Asteroids ). We have been building Magnetic field generators which we will populate the surface of Mars with. The next steps will be crashing various Asteroids into Mars from our assembled swarm in the right order to get the atmosphere gases right. The landing and turning on the Magnetic fields will have to be folded into the schedule, and if we getting sequence right BINGO livable planet.

    95. David Wood

      We would have to fix the magnetic Force that protect the planet from the sun . I believe the planet would be real cold.

    96. Wituro Mariko

      Why are we tryna rebuild Mars to make it habitable for humans we have Earth our own planet we live in, yet we are not taking care of it. Humans are slowly destroying Earth. I don't understand.

    97. Andrew Clifton

      Matt: "We need 10,000 kg of material, per square meter, to duplicate atmospheric pressure. Seriously, thats how much atmosphere is above your head right now. No wonder its so hard getting out of bed in the morning!" I'll have to remember that explanation next time I'm late for work.

    98. bill mee

      Technically we can do it won't be easy. We also could theoretically increase the amount of gravity but all these things will be time consuming and require capital, material and the will to see it too the end. Resources and more resources. We could slowly add to Mars size by adding comets astroids. Right now all of this is science fiction until we develop better technology.

    99. Level Up

      How many nukes would it take to melt the core of Mars to restart the magnetic field

    100. Heartist Official

      what accent of english is this? I'm curious :)

      1. Sa

        Matt is Australian.