An engineering perspective on terraforming

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This paper discusses terraforming from an engineering perspective. Terraforming is currently as much a philosophy as it is a technology, but even so, it generally falls into either physics-based, biology-based, or engineering-based approaches. It appears from the literature that the first two categories have had considerable coverage, but the engineering aspects have been left to the vague promises held out by an advanced civilization of the future. We propose to initiate discussions on engineering-based terraforming. Within engineering are included economics, logistics, and reliability based issues. In addition to a framework, a brief survey is provided of some key engineering capabilities necessary for effective colonization, industrialization, and terraforming. A primary conclusion is that many if not most of the technologies and engineering capabilities that will be needed for terraforming are becoming available. As terraforming begins on Mars in the next century, many of these technologies will have evolved beyond their infancies and become very powerful tools for Man in the quest of populating the solar system and beyond. What can be imagined can also be built!

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)105-108
Number of pages4
JournalJBIS - Journal of the British Interplanetary Society
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1997

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Space and Planetary Science

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