The reason it seems multiple cultural icons are dying every day is not that more people are suddenly dying, and not because we’re simply hearing about a greater percentage of those who are dying, but because the critical mass of our cultural icons (and of our culture, in general, in the macrocosm) have matured to the point where we have entered what may be called Critical Requiem Mass. Not to be flippant, please understand.
So, don’t freak out because this is part of the New Normal, but do understand it *is* part of the New Normal.
(I’m ruling this more appropriate to WordPress than FB. So be it.)
If we ever aspire to terraform any planet of this Solar System, it MUST be Venus. Not because it would be easy or logical, but because it is both a clean slate and it is (just barely) possible.
Mars (and possibly Europa), could, conceivably, be harboring autonomous native life NOW. Mercury is obviously sterile and equally obviously beyond any thousand-lifetimes-hence human capacity to bring to life. Microbial or fracto-microbial (mad-cow disease, anyone?) “life” could be cached in various asteroids, but cannot achieve the “on” status without external help. Other than Europa, anything else outward is beyond speculative.
Venus is sterile.
How bizarre that statement seems to me, theologically. But logically, it is inescapable. Between the heat (enough to melt lead!), the pressure (more than at the bottom of the deepest trench of Earth’s oceans), and the chemistry (so far beyond toxic it is mind-boggling), it’s just prohibitive.
And yet, Venus is *just* inside the “Goldilocks Zone,” and a simple swarm of artificial parasols could easily (from an engineering standpoint, if not a capital one) make it a lobe of that zone. And, coincidentally, provide enough photo-voltaic energy to drive any- and everything all of humanity may desire to achieve over the remaining lifetime of the Sun!
What Venus lacks, strangely enough, is what Earth has: a large (relatively) satellite to stir its mantle and initiate plate tectonics and, above all, carbon recycling. For that appears to be the crucial driver along Earth’s path to fecundity Venus lacks.
So, all we need to do is bring Venus a big moon. “All.” hahahaha
As an engineer, my impulse is to ask, where’re we gonna find that?
Mercury, though tantalizing, is just too massive. And I have theological objections to moving Mercury, anyway; if you don’t, feel free to do so in your version of this story. Not happening here.
No way we’re sharing OUR moon!!! Hell, no!
Mars is far more massive, and precluded by its aforementioned possibility of ALREADY harboring some sort of life. No-Go Zone.
None of the asteroids begin to have the mass to cause plate tectonics in Venus. Nice try.
Because Europa just MIGHT harbor life, I’m inclined to rule out “moving” ANY of the Galilean satellites of Jupiter. (Io, maybe, but JESUS what an engineering nightmare!)
At Saturn, Titan beckons, but like Europa, we just don’t know whether this is a plausible tableau for extremo-extremo-phile Life. So, no. And none of the other Saturnine moons are big enough. (I poo-poo Hyperion as a plausible site of life. Pffft!)
Uranus has no large satellite. [shrug]
Triton…. Hmmmm….. But wresting it free from Neptune is unnecessarily difficult when, right next door, we have….
Recently demoted to “minor planet” status. JUST big enough to have crustal-gravitational implications. Certainly sterile. Not gravitationally bound to anything (ok, we crash Charon into it as a precursor, just for the…..ahem….Hell of it!)….
So. My *STARTING* point for any notion of terraforming in THIS solar system is having the capability to MOVE Pluto+Charon into roughly geosynchronous (Aphroditesynchronous?!?!) stable orbit around Venus.