CHID 496



Coming into this reading, I already had a particular interest in Mars.  I have always nursed a childhood dream that Mars could one day be colonized, and so I am always excited to familiarize myself with information about Mars.  This week’s reading helps to make clear the pros and cons of attempting colonization.  Certainly, Mars has locked away within its crust enough water and other natural resources to sustain human activity, but the problem is really with the atmosphere.

It was mentioned that atmospheric pressure on Mars is too low to allow water to exist as a liquid on the surface.  In addition, the thin atmosphere cannot prevent excess radiation on the planet’s surface, and the plane itself cannot hold onto a significant atmosphere.  The lack of magnetosphere due to the planet’s dead core also leaves the planet vulnerable to rogue waves of solar wind.

However, I am still left with the small hope that an atmosphere might be artificially maintained by controlled pollution either by direct processing of the planet’s minerals or by introduction of greenhouse facilities which might grow plant life in order to release organic gasses.  Although this does not solve the problem of a magnetosphere, it would increase atmospheric pressure and raise the planet’s temperature.

Exploration and colonization are intrinsically human endeavors.  I think it likely that Mars will at one time be the next point of interest in this arena.  But the planet has always embodied many issues and mysteries.  With this in mind, I find Holst’s music highly appropriate for the planet.