We all know that Earth’s population is growing at an alarming rate, and vital resources are becoming scarce. There simply isn’t enough space to grow the food the bulging human populations will need in the future. An energy crisis is also upon us. What happens when the oil runs out or becomes too costly to support us in the lifestyles to which we’ve become accustomed? What do we do?
There are no easy solutions. Planned population growth would certainly be a possible solution, but there are probably already too many mouths too feed, and few nations would be willing to pass or enforce laws limiting their country’s birth rate.
Some scientists have suggested the answer lies in humankind’s spacefaring nature and fantastic engineering capabilities. We know that there are other terrestrial bodies in our Solar System that share some features with Earth. Can they be made habitable, or at least be used to grow food or supply energy to Earth’s expanding populations? What would it take? Which of those bodies are our best hope? Can we create an atmosphere where there is none or change a poisonous atmosphere to one we can breathe?
These and other questions concerning modern-day realities and the future possibilities of terraforming—the science of making of new worlds (even extrasolar ones) habitable for humans—are tackled in this engrossing and revealing study by Martin Beech.
General science reader with an interest in planetary science and future technology
Martin Beech is associate professor of astronomy, and Head of the Astronomy Department at Campion College, The University of Regina. His main research interests during the past decade have focused on the smaller objects within the solar system (comets, asteroids and meteoroids), but concomitant to this ke has continued to perform research related to the structure and evolution of stars (the area of his doctoral studies).
Springer Berlin, 2009, 228 S.
Broschiert, w. 60 figs.
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