Article

Paraterraforming: The Worldhouse Concept

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Abstract

This paper discusses 'paraterraforming' as a means of creating and maintaining habitable environments on other planets. The 'worldhouse' concept of paraterraforming can be formulated within the existing boundaries of technological knowledge and can provide a quasi-unconstrained global habitable environment at significantly lower levels of materials requirement and economic cost. Construction can proceed on a modular basis. A coarse-grained assessment of the possibilities of paraterraforming Mars is presented. It is suggested that the establishment of a fully habitable worldhouse environment on the planet Mercury would be a much less difficult undertaking than taerraforming Venus and could be economically important for the human exploitation of the solar system.

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... If you assume a much more rigorous approach, the feasibility of global planetary engineering will remain plausible, but the timescales may be lengthened. Planetary engineering is the application of technology for the purpose of influencing the global properties of a planet, while geoengineering is planetary engineering applied specifically to Earth, by affecting the greenhouse effect, atmospheric composition, solar insolation, or impact flux (Sagan 1973 On the other hand, paraterraforming is engineering that involves the construction of a large-scale habitable enclosure, like the Biosphere 2 experiment here on Earth, a closed-ecosystem environment in a dome-structure (Taylor 1992). Some proposed terraforming methods include creating orbital mirrors ( Figure 2 on the next page) that will reflect sunlight and heat the desired planet's surface, greenhouse gasproducing factories to trap solar radiation, and importing volatiles through asteroid or comet impacts to create volatile release (Early 1989;Zubrin and McKay 1997;Clacey et al. 2005). ...
Technical Report
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This investigation into chemically altering, and thus geologically changing the nature of a planetary atmosphere and its surface provides new scientific predictions, insight, and numerical theories into the feasibility of technologically inducing the habitability of other worlds. Innumerable permutations of potential planetary evolution pathways exist due to large variations in the astrophysical, atmospheric, and geologic properties of a given world, dictated by unique planetary formation, dynamics, and evolution. Surface interactions that give rise to habitable climates are driven by geochemical reactions and geomorphic processes that can act in feedbacks to either promote or decay the climactic habitability of a planetary atmosphere and surface. Using the TerraGenesis smartphone application created by Alexander Winn, I simulate and track 21 different technologically induced planetary engineering scenarios. I present numerical-game simulation modeling of our solar system’s real terrestrial bodies: Mercury, Venus, Earth, the Moon, and Mars, Jupiter’s moons: Io, Europa, Ganymede, Callisto, Saturn’s moons: Tethys, Dione, Rhea, Titan, and Iapetus, Uranus’s moon Oberon, and Pluto. I test a range of four hypothetical exoplanets to colonize: Bacchus, Pontus, Ragnarok, and Boreas. I also use the model on the exoplanet TRAPPIST-1d, while considering this approach for other future exoplanet studies. Calculations in this application are taken out with simple, coupled numerical rules, with model years into C.E., the Common Era. The user of this application 'controls' the terraformation process by manipulating the temperature, atmospheric pressure, oxygen content, sea level, and biomass, limited by economic resources and population. Technologically induced terraforming in this numerical model produced all 21 tested habitable worlds, and reached stability within 1,000–3,000 mission years. Through testing the efficacy of terraforming technologies to combat modern climate change on the Earth, this report additionally shows that it is at least feasible to achieve stable habitability on Earth before (or after) a global climate catastrophe; reversing the effects of modern climate change may take on the order of 100–1,000 years. This paper also reviews and condenses the current literature in the year 2018 on terraforming as well as recent developments and advancements. This is the complete report and in this state has not been submitted for review.
... Paraterraforming was originated in 1992 by Richard Taylor [5]. The basic idea is to construct a structure capable of holding a gas-tight transparent roof one to three kilometers above the surface. ...
Article
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What role will Mercury play once Humanity becomes a space faring race and establishes a civilization that spans the solar system? It could become the industrial center of such a civilization because of its light gravity, material resources, and plentiful solar energy that can be concentrated to achieve very high temperatures or converted into almost unlimited quantities of electrical energy. One can envision robotic factories turning out space ships and components needed to assemble vast space settlements.
... In view of the next step it is important to realise that colonies like all the lower classes could be established on planetary surfaces as well as in orbit. A colony class system on a planetary surface is described by Taylor [11]. The implication is that a world suitable for terraforming may already be supporting a population of several millions before starting the terraforming programme. ...
Article
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Most discussion of terraforming planets considers the subject as an isolated activity that is independent of all other space activity. In practice only a society with a very large space infrastructure already in place could possibly undertake such projects and terraforming would be a part of the overall development of space. Also only a society with a continually expanding population would have a requirement for terraformed worlds. From this viewpoint terraforming could be seen as one stage in a progression of habitable space facilities that grow in size and sophistication as the space infrastructure expands. The paper outlines such a progression of fixed manned space infrastructure elements from simple platforms thorough to ultra- planets with habitable environments. This step by step perspective places terraforming into a wider context and provides an insight into some of the issues involved with it. It highlights that they may be a stopping point at the colony level (with a population of a few million) and expansion is then achieved by building more colonies rather than moving to more ambitious proposals such as terraforming.
... This megastructure would be a rigid hollow sphere, as shown in Fig. 1. It is not the same as the ''world house'' incremental terraforming technique (also known as ''paraterraforming'') and must be distinguished from the latter, due to their reliance on: (1) transparent roofs, (2) cables or other anchoring techniques to hold the roof to the surface of the enclosed body against atmospheric pressure, and (3) unearthly strong construction materials for either roof skin or restraining cables/pillars to resist the atmospheric pressure applied over such a large surface [15]. The tensile stress in a pressure vessel the size of a planet, floating freely by itself in space, would be far too great to be borne by any material we know of today. ...
Article
The traditional concept of terraforming assumes ready availability of candidate planets with acceptable qualities: orbiting a star in its “Goldilocks zone”, liquid water, enough mass, years longer than days, magnetic field, etc. But even stipulating affordable interstellar travel, we still might never find a good candidate elsewhere. Whatever we found likely would require centuries of heavy terraforming, just as Mars or Venus would here. Our increasing appreciation of the ubiquity of life suggests that any terra nova would already possess it. We would then face the dilemma of introducing alien life forms (us, our microbes) into another living world. Instead, we propose a novel method to create habitable environments for humanity by enclosing airless, sterile, otherwise useless planets, moons, and even large asteroids within engineered shells, which avoids the conundrum. These shells are subject to two opposing internal stresses: compression due to the primary’s gravity, and tension from atmospheric pressure contained inside. By careful design, these two cancel each other resulting in zero net shell stress. Beneath the shell an Earth-like environment could be created similar in almost all respects to that of Home, except for gravity, regardless of the distance to the sun or other star. Englobing a small planet, moon, or even a dwarf planet like Ceres, would require astronomical amounts of material (quadrillions of tons) and energy, plus a great deal of time. It would be a quantum leap in difficulty over building Dyson Dots or industrializing our solar system, perhaps comparable to a mission across interstellar space with a living crew within their lifetime. But when accomplished, these constructs would be complete (albeit small) worlds, not merely large habitats. They could be stable across historic timescales, possibly geologic. Each would contain a full, self-sustaining ecology, which might evolve in curious directions over time. This has interesting implications for SETI as well.
Article
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If human population growth is not controlled, natural areas must be sacrificed. An alternative is to create more habitat, terraforming Mars. However, this requires establishment of essential, ecosystem services on a planet currently unamenable to Terran species. Shorter term, assembling Terran-type ecosystems within contained environments is conceivable if mutually supportive species complements are determined. Accepting this, an assemblage of organisms that might form an early, forest environment is proposed, with rationale for its selection. A case is made for developing a contained facsimile, old growth forest on Mars, providing an oasis, proffering vital ecosystem functions (a forest bubble). It would serve as an extraterrestrial nature reserve (ETNR), psychological refuge and utilitarian botanic garden, supporting species of value to colonists for secondary metabolites (vitamins, flavours, perfumes, medicines, colours and mood enhancers). The design presented includes organisms that might tolerate local environmental variance and be assembled into a novel, bioregenerative forest ecosystem. This would differ from Earthly forests due to potential impact of local abiotic parameters on ecosystem functions, but it is argued that biotic support for space travel and colonization requires such developments. Consideration of the necessary species complement of an ETNR supports a view that it is not humanity alone that is reaching out to space, it is life, with all its diverse capabilities for colonization and establishment. Humans cannot, and will not, explore space alone because they did not evolve in isolation, being shaped over aeons by other species. Space will be travelled by a mutually supportive system of Terran organisms amongst which humans fit, exchanging metabolites and products of photosynthesis as they have always done.
Chapter
This review explores the background history and contemporary thinking concerning the terraforming of Mars. The end results of any such physical transformation have long been articulated, and they are to make Mars better suited to habitation by humans. It is still far from clear, however, how the required changes to Mars might be brought about. Indeed, a spectrum of terraforming options are available, and the foremost problem to be addressed in the current epoch is whether Mars should be terraformed at all, and if so for who and by whom. The essential aim of any Martian terraforming option must be to increase the atmospheric temperature, pressure, and composition, and this will require a massive, and sustained multi-generational effort. In terms of physical engineering, many terraforming options have been proposed, and in this review, we examine their origins, feasibility, and methodologies. It is concluded that Mars can, in principle, be transformed into a state better suited to support human habitation on a timescale situated between centuries to millennia.
Chapter
To open up and develop the space frontier, a new type of macrothinking is required, as implied in the above quotation. Such reasoning and actions were evident during the Apollo mission period when the human family was “turned on” to the daring achievement of rocketing humans to the Moon! Unfortunately, since that decade (the 1960s), space programs throughout the world have been the exclusive concern of national space agencies, aerospace contractors, planetary scientists, and government legislators. Their somewhat myopic focus on special interest missions has garnered only the support of direct beneficiaries and committed space activists. As a result, public interest has waned over technical accomplishments and failures which do not capture the imagination of Everyman. Because would-be space planners fail to provide a 21st-century vision of humankind’s future within our Solar System, they do not inspire the masses to financially back risk-taking endeavors in the orbital environment. Further, too many mission planners and managers neither control escalating costs nor provide adequate information about the return on investment, especially the spinoff value of space technologies. Instead they alienate suffering taxpayers, potential investors, and politicians with grandiose plans that are hugely costly to implement and manage effectively. Only in this first decade of the new millennium have space entrepreneurs recaptured the public’s interest in orbital enterprises, as evident in less expensive spaceplanes, space inflatables, and space tourism. Whether offworld endeavors are undertaken by sponsors in the public or private sectors, or through global consortia, a different and innovative type of “macro” thinking, planning, and management is required, as will be discussed in this and Chapter 8.
Chapter
Extraterrestrial habitats impose limits on human freedom through confinement, isolation, and a dependence for survival on advanced communal technology. Is it possible purposefully to design such habitats, or elements of them, to maximise freedom, even to enable ‘safe’ revolutions against corrupt central authorities? But to plan an artificial environment to ensure ‘liberty’ for others is probably itself an oppressive act, in that some freedom of choice of those others must be removed. In the long term a solar system filled with diverse communities of all kinds may provide refuge for the oppressed. In the short term the most effective technological enablers of personal liberty may be a suite of key inventions, possibly simple ones, that allow the possibility of individual mobility and escape. This is never a perfect solution; small isolated communities may themselves be unhealthy. However, if one is not contained, one cannot be oppressed.
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This paper outlines how engineering technology, operating within the actual Martian volatiles inventory, could permit the establishment and maintenance of an inhabitable ecosystem on Mars in a biosphere enclosed within a quasi-global 'Worldhouse'. Such a fully habitable environment would be achieved by constructing a deliberately restricted ecospheric environment (DREE) on the planet. This would mimic closely the free-running seasonal, biological and geochemical cycles that operate on the Earth. The system would function in an almost completely self-stable and self-regulatory manner requiring the absolute minimum of intervention and should achieve a state close to a fully Earth-like dynamic equilibrium. Consideration is given also to the prevention and circumvention of any potential hazards that might affect the short and long-term integrity of the worldhouse structure. Constructing a habitable contained environment on Mars would be the greatest engineering and architectural challenge yet to be undertaken by humankind. However, it would require little technology much in advance of that currently available.
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A brief review is made of the 6 presently known exoplanetary systems with parent stars having ages within 1 percent of their main sequence life time limit. The exoplanets discussed range in mass from 0.05 to 7.4 times that of Jupiter and they move along moderately circular orbits - although 2 have relatively high eccentricities of order 0.4. Three of the systems are known to allow stable orbits within their habitable zone. It is argued that should these, and similar such systems yet to be discovered, support advanced civilizations then their existence might be betrayed through the presence of terraformed (that is engineered) habitable planets situated outside of the canonical habitable region.
Article
Since at least 1964 macro-engineering has proposed solutions for Earth-biosphere problems affecting mankind and its infrastructures. From 1929–1948 Herman Sorgel put forth his ‘Atlantropa Macroproject, which was designed to lower the Mediterranean Sea by 1 m every year by natural evaporation and to irrigate the Sahara with diverted Zaire River freshwater. The present author has slightly modernized Sorgel's gift to Homo sapiens. Construction of ‘Atlantropa’ would provide Macro-engineering and Terraforming with a much-needed practice run for the remaking of our Solar System's planets.
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For the future exploration, utilization, and settlement of the apace frontier, it is proposed that a separate nation be created for the New Millennium as humankind's representative government in space. Called a “Metanation,” this innovative entity would fill the present political void in space and manage that “territory” with focus, financing, and the legal force of government. The “common heritage of mankind” (C.H.O.M.) would be protected while the orbital environment is first developed and then administered by that sovereign state in trust for all nations and all peoples of Earth. [C.H.O.M. (The Common Heritage of Mankind) is a legal term of art defined in the proposed United Notion Convention on the Low of the Sea, 1982.] This broader model of governance is “Metaspace,” for that area of our Solar System beyond our terrestrial home. In both usages, the term “meta” is used in its classical sense of above, beyond, around and about. In this article, the combination of words indicates activities that are extraterrestrial. Thus, metaspace is governance that is beyond this planet, while being comparable in operation to that of earthly nations (Le., on behalf of the all the citizenry). The suggested structure features an independent but representative governmental institution, complete with a legislature and a judicial system, which will have plenary jurisdiction to rule aloft. In planning for this off-world government, it is proposed here that living systems theory may be applicable.
Article
Technical fix summarizes the story of all extinct and extant ecosystem-societies. Nowadays composed of 193 UNO members, our global civilization''s true wealth is humanity''s scientific–technological capacity to direct any global Nature''s forces. More and more, people and their designated robots visit other potential worlds. This is done, in part, to discover and define controllable planetary forces additional to Earth''s. Mars'' suspected biosphere, along with its future anthropic enhancements, may eventually be enveloped by a crust-covering building (Taylor''s Worldhouse). That noble terraforming goal is achievable using already patented technology.
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Current terraforming concepts do not comprehensively encompass active biosphere protection measures for tomorrow''s expensively developed extraterrestrial real estate. Already tailored for Earth, Rodoman-ALPS is an extant protection system concept easily duplicated and installable around a technologically made-over Mars. Ongoing active control systems, including multiple Rodoman-ALPS installations, will be needed to keep a hominized Earth and all newly terraformed planets the way we would like them to be.
Article
The concept of modifying the environment of another planet, so that it can support terrestrial life, is known as terraforming. As a speculative scientific subject, it has been slowly gaining in respectability and, over the past 30 years, has amassed a considerable body of published work. In this paper, the present day capabilities of civilisation to bring about global environmental change are breifly discussed, followed by a review of the progress of research into the terraforming of the planet Mars. Whilst such an undertaking does not appear technologically impossible, whether it will actually happen is an unanswerable question. However, the control space for thought experimentation that terraforming provides is of use for both planetological research and education. The subject is therefore relevant to the present day, as well as to a possible future.
Article
There is significant evidence that the total volatiles inventory of Mars is now severely depleted, particularly so in the case of nitrogen. The likely low availability of nitrogen may constitute a ‘critical limiting factor’ preventing the establishment of a gravity-bound terraformed atmosphere of terrestrial composition and surface pressure. Even under the condition of critical factor constraint engineering technology could permit the establishment and maintenance of an inhabitable ecosystem on Mars. Under such conditions a fully habitable environment could still be achieved by constructing a deliberately restricted ecospheric environment (DREE) on the planet. This biosystem, enclosed within a quasi-global ‘Worldhouse’, can mimic closely the free-running seasonal biological and geochemical cycles of the Earth and would function in an almost completely self-stable and self-regulatory manner. Constructing, creating and maintaining a habitable contained environment on Mars would be the greatest architectural and engineering challenge yet undertaken by mankind, although it would require little technology much in advance of that currently available.
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