November 23, 2008
Atmosphere: Not Yours
Posted by scott at November 23, 2008 08:41 AM
Researchers may have discovered the reason why Mars's atmosphere is so thin. The culprit? Perhaps the weird Martian magnetic field, which appears to allow giant chunks of its atmosphere to be ripped away by the solar wind.
Should this theory hold up to further observations, it would put a king-sized dent into the all those futurist plans of terraforming mars. Planting all the genetically engineered super-tough vegetation you can on the surface will do no good if the planet lets the #%$#@ sun toss it all into deep space every chance it gets.
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I read the Red, Blue, and Green Mars series and nothing like this was mentioned. It's gonna happen, man. It's gonna happen.
Hmm. I wonder what Venus's magnetic field is like? It would have to be many times stronger, since it's got such a thick atmosphere, the gravity is only slightly more than Earth's, and it catches far more intense solar wind than Mars...
Personally, I think the removal of atmospheric gas has far more to do with the tidal pull of the moons. Mars: two moons, almost no atmosphere; Earth: one moon, just the right amount of atmosphere; Venus: no moons, way too much atmosphere.
Hmm. I really need to learn to RTFA before I post.