Terraforming: a review for environmentalists

Research paper by Maryn J. Fogg

Indexed on: 01 Mar '93Published on: 01 Mar '93Published in: The Environmentalist


The concept of modifying the environment of another planet, so that it can support terrestrial life, is known as terraforming. As a speculative scientific subject, it has been slowly gaining in respectability and, over the past 30 years, has amassed a considerable body of published work. In this paper, the present day capabilities of civilisation to bring about global environmental change are breifly discussed, followed by a review of the progress of research into the terraforming of the planet Mars. Whilst such an undertaking does not appear technologically impossible, whether it will actually happen is an unanswerable question. However, the control space for thought experimentation that terraforming provides is of use for both planetological research and education. The subject is therefore relevant to the present day, as well as to a possible future.