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In the past few days, we have asked you for your opinions on whether or not to go to Mars, and if so, about when we should do so. But today, on the final day of MARS2013, we are going to look even further into the future: Should Mars be terraformed?
There are many ways in which terraforming could be carried out, such as melting the planet’s icecaps, adding gases to the atmosphere, or even crashing asteroids into the surface.
The arguments in favor of terraforming Mars center around facilitating the exploration and colonization of the planet, creating a second home for humanity, and, on a larger scale, improving humanity’s chances of surviving cosmic disasters, such as an asteroid impact on Earth. Some would even say that humanity has a moral obligation to terraform Mars.
But at the same time, terraforming by definition would fundamentally alter the characteristics of Mars, and irrevocably so. It would destroy any further chances of learning about the past of the planet, as well as potential life hidden somewhere on the planet that we may not know about.
What do you think? Assuming we will one day have sufficient resources and technology for such a project, should we terraform Mars to make it habitable for humans? Or should we leave it as untouched as possible to preserve its planetary record and potential indigenous life?
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