Blow Your Mind: To Terraform or Not to Terraform?

Viking 1 explores Mars, 1976 edition. (MPI/Getty Images)

What is Mars to you? Is it a place of possible origins, from which panspermia-vaulted samples of ancient life launched themselves toward the Earth? Perhaps it still hides fragments of this primordial spark, axenic and unchanged in some warm, wet oubliette far beneath the barren surface. If so, then the Red Planet is surely worthy of our study, protection and respect. Or do you see Mars as lifeless wasteland of once or never was? Might we even have an ethical obligation to recreate the world in Earth's image?

Yep, those are two extremes in the terrafomring debate of Red Mars vs. Green Mars. In the latest episode of the Stuff to Blow Your Mind Podcast, Julie and I will attempt to walk the middle path between the two factions and explore some of the science behind terraforming and just how ethics play into the question. And if you're looking for some of the STBYM and Discovery blog posts referenced in the article, here they are:

Discovery News: Why Explore Mars?

The Ethics of Planetary Exploration and Colonization

Terraforming Mars for the Greater Good

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About the Author: Robert Lamb spent his childhood reading books and staring into the woods — first in Newfoundland, Canada and then in rural Tennessee. There was also a long stretch in which he was terrified of alien abduction. He earned a degree in creative writing. He taught high school and then attended journalism school. He wrote for the smallest of small-town newspapers before finally becoming a full-time science writer and podcaster. He’s currently a senior writer at HowStuffWorks and has co-hosted the science podcast Stuff to Blow Your Mind since its inception in 2010. In his spare time, he enjoys traveling with his wife Bonnie, discussing dinosaurs with his son Bastian and crafting the occasional work of fiction.