Carbon Cycles in Extraterrestrial Atmospheres

A great deal of time is spent discussing the carbon cycle and what it means for the Earth’s climate. It seems that scientific journalists are very focused on issues surrounding the absorption of carbon. However, comparatively few people discuss what these theories could mean when applied to space exploration. Venus, for instance, lacks a natural carbon cycle. It currently lacks oceans, which means that no great carbon sink absorbs anything. There’s no biomass to take in gas either.

That doesn’t mean that humans couldn’t create one. Forests and reefs could be constructed over a long period of time to terraform the planet. While it would take decades, its not as unrealistic as one might think. Likewise, Mars could actually stand to benefit from the greenhouse effect.

As climatologists learn more about the Earth, they develop models that can be used to develop other planets. Nearly any terrestrial object in our solar system that has an atmosphere could be reshaped and used as a cradle for whatever life forms were deposited on it. Policymakers had better be sure that life doesn’t exist on a rock before attempting such a procedure, however. It’s better to be safe than sorry in that situation.

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