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Terraforming Mars vs Orbital Habs

1 Feb 2014, 21:10 UTC
Terraforming Mars vs Orbital Habs
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

Those who advocate Mars settlement like to say Mars can be terraformed. First I will take a look at what it would take to terraform Mars.How much air do we need to add to Mars?From NASA's Mars Fact Sheet, surface density of the Martian atmosphere is about .02 kg/m3. Thats about 1.5% of Earth's surface air pressure of 1.27 kg/m3. Mars' atmosphere is virtually a vacuum.Mars surface gravity is about 38% earth gravity. That means given an atmosphere of comparable temperature and composition, Mars atmosphere scale height is 264% earth atmosphere scale height. But Mars surface area is about about 28% that of earth's. 2.64 * .28 is about .75. To get comparable air density, we would need Mars' atmospheric mass to be about three quarters that of earth's atmosphere.The total mass of the Martian atmosphere is about 2.5 x 1016 kg. Earth's atmosphere is about 5 x 1018 kg. So to make Mars surface air density earth like, we'd need 3.6 x 1018 kg of air added to Mars.But do we need sea level air density? No there are many people who live comfortably at higher elevations. This list of the world's highest cities show several places at around ...

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