Exploring Space - The Quest for Life Exploring Space - The Quest for Life Exploring Space - The Quest for Life
The Mars Prospect - Journey to the Red Planet

Terraforming Timeline: Making Mars Ours

Should We Terraform Mars?

Artist's rendering of a canyon on Mars

That's a good question. There's plenty of debate about whether terraforming should even be attempted.

The massive transformation of the environment could render undiscovered organisms extinct or ruin the potential for future native Martian life to exist. Is it ethical for humans to introduce new technology and new life into the Martian environment? What about the possibility of interplanetary biological contamination? Is the desire to terraform worth the risk of harming indigenous life forms?

With so many unknown variables, the dangers are many. With Mars' unbreathable air and harmful radiation, a misstep or malicious act during the initial phase of terraforming could cause the death of an entire settlement. Is terraforming worth the risk?

The effort requires tremendous commitment of time, money and talent. Some say terraforming is technologically impossible. Is it worth it to try? And if so, will there be a coalition of world governments willing to pick up the tab?

Back Introduction page 1: Should We Terraform Mars? page 2: Preparing for Liftoff page 3: The First Research Settlement page 4: Turning Up the Heat on Mars page 5: Melting Ice and Thickening the Atmosphere page 6: Oxygenating and Greening the Planet page 7: Mars as Home Next