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Scientist Sees Benefits in Plan to Increase Global Warming

(p. D2) Plants are . . . part of one theoretical plan for turning Mars into a suitable environment for human beings, a process called terraforming.

. . .

Chris McKay, a Mars expert at the NASA Ames Research Center, theorizes that engineers would first have to encourage the kind of global warming they want to avoid on Earth. This could be done by releasing greenhouse gases, like chlorofluorocarbons or perfluorocarbons, into the atmosphere. The goal would be to increase the surface temperature of Mars by a total of about 7.2 degrees Fahrenheit.

. . .

With the rise in temperature, heat-trapping carbon dioxide would eventually be released from the planet's south polar ice cap, producing a further average temperature rise of even greater magnitude, perhaps as much as 70 degrees Celsius, or 126 degrees Fahrenheit.

These high temperatures would melt ice to produce the water needed for living things.

For the full story, see:

C. CLAIBORNE RAY. "Q & A; At Home on Mars." The New York Times (Tues., December 11, 2012): D2.

(Note: ellipses added.)

(Note: the online version of the story has the date December 10, 2012.)

McKay wrote up some of his ideas in:

McKay, Christopher P. "Bringing Life to Mars." Scientific American Presents: The Future of Space Exploration (1999): 52-57.

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