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Terraforming is the process of changing a planetary body's properties to better suit the needs of us humans, such as modifying the planet's atmosphere to better suit our breathing needs, increasing or decreasing the temperature of the planet to better suit our sensitive dermises, and to alter the topography of the planet to aesthetically please our horrifically flawed eyes. Some scientists believe that terraforming other planets is a solution to our current overpopulation problems (brought on by our unfortunate habit of fucking each other), though others believe that terraforming is ethically wrong. So far, terraforming other planets is currently impossible, as the gargantuan financial cost and huge technological strives needed to terraform other planets would be much better suited to improve our own little planet, the Earth.
edit Terraforming Overview
edit Why Terraforming is Inevitable
Discussing the necessity of terraforming is analogous to debating over the necessity on regulations on the use of teleportation devices; it is an fantastical exercise in futility. We currently do not have the technology to terraform planets, and most of the changes we have done to Earth have been accidental and for the worse. Still, we humans have always wanted to expand to the final frontier, and make our mark into space. In the long run, the Human race cannot survive if we are to stay in the cradle of Earth. Long ago, we wanted to venture out onto the unknown sea; when we arrived in the New World, we brought along our hopes for the future, our ever expanding drive to expand, slavery, and infectious diseases. If we didn't expand into the new world, where would we be now?
edit Terraforming To-Dos
Obviously, most planets don't lend themselves well for human habitability: Venus is covered in an extremely thick atmosphere of carbon dioxide which would turn any human on the planet's surface into imitation strawberry purée in seconds, and the atmospheric pressure in Mars (the most likely planet for terraforming) is too low for anyone without a pressure suit to live in. But, the limitations of our bodies have never made us give up our will to continue, as the makers of Viagra will attest. Astronomers (with regrettably too much time on their hands) have been speculating of ways to terraform other planets; hopeless optimist and Windows user Carl Sagan actually published an article in the journal Science about possible methods of terraforming Venus.
Most humans aren't very keen on living in a place which would make Hell green with envy, or where double dog daring someone to lick a frozen flagpole would be considered an inhumane crime, proper steps must be taken to insure that future human residents will be safe, comfortable, and not dead. To insure the not deadness of humans living on the planet, the atmosphere must have the right composition and amount of gases to support life. We Earthlings are very picky creatures: not enough oxygen, and we die of suffocation, too much, and we die of oxygen poisoning. Each planet that might be terraformed requires different steps being taken to improve atmospheric conditions.
We humans are a seafaring species, and are dependent on H2O for our needs, like food, water, and crème caramel custard desserts. Our oceans have been a huge part of our history legacy, and we have sailed, discovered, hoped, dreamed, and sunk our boats in them. Introducing water to planets might be difficult, and mimicking the conditions that caused water on Earth to appear might not be desirable: hurling a moon sized object to Mars, turning it into molten fireball, then waiting several billion years might take too long.
edit Possible Locations for Terraforming
Mars. The god of war and bloodshed, he was also the god of agriculture, which showed his dual nature as a force of life, and a force of destruction; this dual nature of the Roman god is similar to mankind's force for either good or evil. Mars, the planet, has nothing to do with the Roman god, but it is a good candidate for terraforming anyway. Long ago, Mars may have actually supported microbial life, but this changed after most of the atmosphere was either eroded by solar wind or ejected into space by impacting asteroids. One of the issues that possible future Terraformers will have to face is changing Mars's atmosphere. Mars's gravity can't hold a larger atmosphere so long, so gases may have to be pumped periodically like a car in a filling station, minus complaining about the price of gas and then later dying in a car crash.
Venus, unlike her immortal counterpart, is an extremely inhospitable barren wasteland completely devoid of any signs of life. To terraform Venus would be an immense challenge, which would require much more effort than it's worth. Turning Venus into an Earthlike-state would require the removal or conversion of the massive amounts of CO2 in the atmosphere, and reducing the planet's temperature. Because the human race doesn't have the technology to remove CO2 in foreign atmospheres, much less our own, the prospect of terraforming Venus is at most, an ambitious a pipe dream, or good material for mental masturbation.
The terraforming of Africa could provide living space for human beings right here on Earth.
edit Ethics of Terraforming
The issue of the ethics of terraforming is extremely divisive. Many scientists and researchers on both sides of the arguments have formed groups to support their beliefs, and debates are held all across the world to settle whether terraforming is ethical or not; more often than not, they end up as bloody verbal battles. One side says that terraforming is immoral in cases where there is microbial life in the target planet because the planet may support sentient life billions of years into the future; by that logic, using hand sanitizer would be considered immoral as the bacteria in your hands could eventually form a vast space-faring civilization of peace loving vegetarians. The other side claims that terraforming will be a necessity, and the lives of a few billion "primitive" creatures doesn't matter, since they're "merely" microbes. Either way, the vast majority of reasonable people are apathetic about the argument, as terraforming is currently impossible.