Trader Note

Have a plan!

Life In Space

            Why is there life here?
            Our planet has a close proximity object (the moon) with a mass approximately 10 percent of the earth. This close-by object spins around our world causing the planet to flex. This flex causes the plates to move and the currents to flow in the ocean. Without the moon, the planet would have cooled long ago, and could never sustain life.

            Looking to the moons of Jupiter, we can see that nearby moons have very liquid cores. Moons like Io have volcanic events often. It is also very cold. Thus, there is a limit to the size of nearby orbital objects that will cause a semi-stable environment (Jupiter is way too big).

            Mars could sustain life, but it doesn’t have a nearby orbital object of sufficient size to maintain a liquid core. If planet of Mars was flexing as tides, the temperature would be warmer, thus allowing water to liquefy, starting the primordial soup.

            Of course, Mars is also small, so it doesn’t have the atmosphere we are accustom too. It’s not to say that we couldn’t add air to mars, but unfortunately the amount of air we would need to build pressure close to earth norm would vastly increase the size of mars. As a smaller mass, it would take a lot more air on mars, by volume, to get air pressure like earth.

            There is a limit to the distance air can be held by a planet. With smaller gravity, air volume from the center at the same pressure as earth would be very far away from the surface. If those air molecules were excited (warm and moving fast) it wouldn’t take much for the solar wind (fast moving particles) to strip the planet of gas.

            Water is a critical issue in space. However, our planet falls in a range where we are blessed with plentiful water. Comets carry water, so harvesting a few of them could be useful. Of course, the easiest way to increase the mass of Mars, and provide a large mass of water would be to steel a moon like Europa and slam it into Mars. Over time, Mars might just settle like the earth, into a 2 body system.

            So, to terrescape Mars, we’d have to add a lot of mass (increase gravity), a large close satellite (moon) and a lot of gas for atmosphere. It is possible, but that sort of long term project is beyond us for now.

            Instead, we should look to the stars for possible planets with these characteristics:

            -Falls within the “earth band” from a sun. (temperature ranges that are livable).

            -Has a close proximity moon, for liquid core and rotation variations.

            -Has a density / volume similar to earth (near 1 gravity).

            -Has atmosphere of a similar distance to earth (same pressure).

           

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