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What is Terraforming?

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Terraforming is “the purposeful alteration of the physical environment to increase its habitability for humans.” (David, Leonard). The planet Mars could be terraformed more easily than other planets because it is believed to be the planet most like Earth. Hundreds of millions of years ago, Mars had an environment more like Earth’s, with a thicker atmosphere and more water. (Terraforming of Mars). Additionally, other similarities between the two planets are found in their temperature ranges, the presence of water, and the length of their days.
Scientists believed that about 3.5 million years ago, “Earth and Mars may even have had similar ecological environments.” (Exploring Space). Mars has the tallest mountain in the Solar System, the Olympus Mons, which is 27 kilometers high. (Interesting Facts About Planet Mars). It is also one of the largest volcanoes in the Solar System with a diameter 370 miles, “wide enough to cover the state of New Mexico.” (Facts and Info about Red Planet). Like Earth, Mars also has canyons, including the Valles Marineris which was formed mostly by the pulling of Mars’ crust. Some canyons in the System are as wide as 60 miles. (Mars: Facts and Info about Red Planet).
We have also learned a lot about Mars’ make up from information gathered on missions. The United States launched Mariner 4 in 1964 and Mariners 6 and 7 in 1969, and these missions did not find life on Mars. All three of these missions were fly-bys. Mariner 4 took the first close
Freedman 2 up shots of Mars. Mariners 6 and 7 analyzed the surface and atmosphere of Mars. From pictures that it took, scientists realized that the dark features on Mars were not canals. In 1976 NASA’s Viking 1 was the first successful landing on Mars’ surface. Clo...

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