Could We Terraform Mars?

  • Published: 16 September 2019
  • To discover more go to

    Humanity’s future is glorious. As we master space travel, we’ll hop from one lifeless world to the next. Life will blossom in our path and the galaxy with shimmer with beautiful Earth-like orbs. Hmmm… maybe. This won’t sound so far fetched if we prove we can do it at least once. If we successfully terraform Mars.

    Hosted by Matt O'Dowd
    Written by Matt O'Dowd
    Graphics by Murilo Lopes
    Directed by: Andrew Kornhaber
    Produced By: Kornhaber Brown

    Support Space Time on Patreon

    Check out the new Space Time Merch Store!

    We already have the technology to bring humans safely to Mars and set up small settlements - or at least could do within a generation. But those settlements will need to be cocooned - shielded against the deadly cold, intense radiation, and the fatal lack of atmospheric pressure. Surely if we want to thrive on Mars – to make it into our second home – these settlers, or their descendants, will need to be able open the airlocks, shed their spacesuits, and step out onto a survivable surface. We’ll need to terraform Mars, as our first step in terraforming the galaxy.

    Red Iris Mars habitat by James Telfer:

    Want Even More Great Space Content? Check out the Exciting Summer of Space Playlist

    Big Bang Supporters:
    Alexander Tamas
    Anton Lifshits
    David Nicklas
    Fabrice Eap
    Juan Benet
    Morgan Hough

    Quasar Supporters:
    Mark Heising
    Mark Rosenthal
    Vinnie Falco

    Hypernova Supporters:
    Chuck Zegar
    Danton Spivey
    Donal Botkin
    Edmund Fokschaner
    Hank S
    John Hofmann
    John R. Slavik
    Jordan Young
    Joseph Salomone
    Matthew O'Connor
    Syed Ansar

    Gamma Ray Burst Supporters:
    Adrien Hatch
    Adrian Molyneux
    Alexey Eromenko
    Andreas Nautsch
    Bradley Jenkins
    Brandon Labonte
    Carlo Mogavero
    Dan Warren
    Daniel Lyons
    David Behtala
    Dustan Jones
    Geoffrey Short
    James Flowers
    James Quintero
    John Funai
    John Pollock
    Jonathan Nesfeder
    Joseph Dillman
    Josh Thomas
    Kevin Lee
    Kevin Warne
    Kyle Hofer
    Malte Ubl
    Mark Vasile
    Nathan Hitchings
    Nicholas Nachefski
    Nick Virtue
    Paul Rose
    Scott Gossett
    Sigurd Ruud Frivik
    Taras Vozniuk
    Tim Jones
    Tim Stephani
    Yurii Konovaliuk
    سلطان الخليفي

Comments • 5 995

  • Bruce Stuart Lee
    Bruce Stuart Lee  10 hours back

    Great video. The question I have is would the blasting of Mars using comets cause permanent damage to the planet which would make things much more difficult or impossible to terraform Mars? I would think that it would be way different(much more damage than when Jupiter was hit with the Levy/Shoemaker comets. Thanks.

    • IronFromIce Y
      IronFromIce Y  10 hours back

      I think we should first teraform the moon

      • IronFromIce Y
        IronFromIce Y  11 hours back

        If you find a cheaper way to do it 10.000 comets arent as much in my opinion.

        • Another Agnostic
          Another Agnostic  11 hours back

          Can we transform Earth? Unless we can save this planet then lets not try to create new places to live.

          • 5oh Coyote
            5oh Coyote  14 hours back

            Terraform... what a Terrifying word.

            • John Wheeler
              John Wheeler  16 hours back

              Hopefully we never make it to another planet. I suspect we'd likely leave a path of destruction, to suit our selfish desires, as we crossed the galaxy.

              • Uma Chan
                Uma Chan  20 hours back

                Long answer short: No, we can't.
                Short answer long: Technically yes but within certain parameters and not at our level of technology. We can't even terraform Earth so what makes us think we can do something on Mars? The best we could do is pressure domes and / or living underground. Mars lacks a strong enough magnetic field and it's simply not massive enough to hold onto a thick enough atmosphere. If there's a way to fix those two problems then it might be possible. Nuking the planet however is not a good idea.

                • Jabiyrio
                  Jabiyrio  23 hours back

                  Is this quantum mechanics guy?

                  • Thomas Jenkins
                    Thomas Jenkins  1 days back

                    if we could terraform mars, why wouldn't we just terraform earth?

                    • R C
                      R C  1 days back

                      Dream on

                      • Phil Bellamy
                        Phil Bellamy  1 days back

                        Mars has all the disadvantages of Earth and none of the advantages building habitats in space and mining asteroids would be cheaper and make more sense.

                        • L. Kärkkäinen
                          L. Kärkkäinen  1 days back

                          Almost no greenhouse effect? That's funny, considering that the Martian atmosphere actually contains the same amount of CO2 as Earth's. The low total atmospheric pressure is because Mars lost its nitrogen, oxygen and water vapour into space.

                          • Guillaume Renou
                            Guillaume Renou  2 days back

                            Well before thinking of how put more co2 on Mars, we should how think on how to réduce the one we are emitting on earth. On these terraforming technologies will not exist in far future nor the nearest one, because of the coming shortages on earth, and climate changes which will make our modern civilisation to collapse.

                            • kosmonaut dan
                              kosmonaut dan  2 days back

                              Even if we could, it's a stupid idea. Space habitats are the way to go.

                              • Waffle Animations
                                Waffle Animations  2 days back

                                Man this isn’t world edit

                                • Steven Sargent
                                  Steven Sargent  2 days back

                                  If the core of a rocky planet is in effect a nuclear reactor then we should be able to restart the reactor core of Mar's. Now I believe the core of rocky planet's have a specific type of reactor core that could be restarted.

                                  • Bannor Haruchai
                                    Bannor Haruchai  2 days back

                                    Short answer - THERE IS NO PLANET B.
                                    Take care of our Pale Blue Dot, the only home we've ever known and likely ever will

                                    • GamerZapocalypse
                                      GamerZapocalypse  2 days back

                                      Could We Terraform Mars?...we are already GEOENGINEERING the earth...what a scam

                                      • Tamás Koncsos
                                        Tamás Koncsos  2 days back

                                        583 are Elon Musk fanboys who invested in the bullshit and just got a slice of reality in the face.

                                        • MoE
                                          MoE  2 days back

                                          Or. OORRR we could take care of the planet we’ve got 🤷‍♀️

                                          • Mo B
                                            Mo B  3 days back

                                            Bend space, then you are able to crash another planet on mars

                                            • NeuronJohn
                                              NeuronJohn  3 days back

                                              Can't nuke it, but we can antinuke it
                                              Best start stock piling that antimatter...

                                            • Sean Newhouse
                                              Sean Newhouse  3 days back

                                              There's also the problem with lack of gravity on the human body not to mention radiation and how to contain the atmosphere anyways and to make a breathable atmosphere you'd have to do it in the right way or else it would entirely muck up the entire process at any rate in the short-term even if we were to accomplish that long-term we would want effective shielding and that wouldn't happen through passive means you'd want to get in caves that are airlocked that would be the place to start that's all doable there's no point in trying everything the hard way that's for sure and send whatever supplies in drilling robots in whatever ahead of time too and there's a lot that could be accomplished in between times for a lot less money




                                              • Funny Memes
                                                Funny Memes  3 days back

                                                Maybe we can teleport our excess CO2 to Mars, and it would be a win-win situation!

                                                • Tasty Rainbro
                                                  Tasty Rainbro  3 days back

                                                  Why mars? Thats a horrible planet..

                                                  • Fraser Henderson
                                                    Fraser Henderson  3 days back

                                                    Duh... what a foolish question. No, it's way too small. Gravitation is severely lacking. There is no significant magnetic field. It's moons are just posers. Solar radiation is deadly at the surface. The soils are infused with perchlorates (think bleach!). There is no point in trying. Mars is an exotic shithole. It doesn't have any of the Right Stuff to be like Earth. Maybe we could Marsiform Mars but it's just never going to be anything like Earth regardless of what we do or how hard we do it. I don't believe we could "terraform" any planet except maybe Earth and we haven't thought about doing that yet. We are busy ****iforming Earth right now and, if we survive, we will need to do some global remediation here at home.

                                                    • Herren K
                                                      Herren K  3 days back

                                                      Why U using star trek sound effects?

                                                      • kehtux
                                                        kehtux  3 days back

                                                        In the far future they will have Youtube videos with nice graphics without some sod against a greenscreen. They will have something unhindered by an awkward hand gestures. There will be a man that has a body that will fit the size of his head and he will not have to appear on screen to proof that

                                                        • Manuel Stefan
                                                          Manuel Stefan  3 days back

                                                          Why we don't try to find a solution to melt the core or invent some magnetic generators on the poles... and the last option to trap a moon large enough to give the resonance to the crust. Romania scientist organisation

                                                          • On the Rims
                                                            On the Rims  4 days back

                                                            Why do people think we will pollute a lifeless rock?.

                                                            • Mike Arthut
                                                              Mike Arthut  4 days back

                                                              FLat Earth International Conference 2019 It's at Embassy Suites in Frisco Texas
                                                              THE FLAT EARTH ARMY GROWS !! HA HA HA !!! EAT THAT SPHERETARDS !!! HA HA HA !!

                                                              • James McHarry
                                                                James McHarry  4 days back

                                                                Pump the mars core up with uranium waste products, get the core heated up and let nature take effect. Objective is to give mars a chance to potentially start generating a magnetic field to keep solar wind from driving off atmosphere. Then over years transport mass from asteroids etc on to mars to build up its gravity enough (to 60% of earths mass) to more easily hold atmosphere. The more gravity, the less strong the magnetic field needs to be, I think ?🤔

                                                                • Dave Dumas
                                                                  Dave Dumas  4 days back

                                                                  easy way to Terraform Mars find largest mountain and turn on the alien machine there (total recall)

                                                                  • hoibsh
                                                                    hoibsh  4 days back

                                                                    I'd rather eat a Mars bar than live on Mars.

                                                                    • Dan Conser
                                                                      Dan Conser  4 days back

                                                                      Finally, recognizing how minuscule PEOPLE are in terms of PLANETS, and the TRUE importance of having a magnetic field to preserve an atmosphere. A more limited habitation makes more sense.... IF there is some reason to be there, other than because we can. How do the colonists "make a living"? What is the economic driver of inhabiting Mars? Is there some substance that can be mined for economic gain?

                                                                      • Stephan De L'ange
                                                                        Stephan De L'ange  4 days back

                                                                        Human beings are so stupid.. Instead of throwing money on colonizing and terraforming mars and idiotic stuff like that, (as much as I love astronomy) why not put that same money and that same effort into SAVING OUR BEAUTIFUL PLANET that we are living on and severely abusing every day...... Instead of looking outwards, lets all start looking inwards, it would be so much more rewarding in the long run.

                                                                        • Jim Brown
                                                                          Jim Brown  4 days back

                                                                          A couple questions. First, could we not restart Mars' internal heat with a large moon? What would it take? I'm assuming technology capable of moving Ceres or lesser moons of the gas giants here. Get one into low orbit, as low as could be sustained reasonably (and keeping in mind if we can move it, we can probably augment that sustainability). Low enough it tugs at Mars sufficiently, without tearing itself apart, to restart its internal heat. Wouldn't that potentially get us a magnetic field, as well as possibly unlock more gasses from the interior? We'd still need the comet swarm, of course. Just, without a magnetic field, we would risk losing the atmosphere faster than we could add it, I suspect. Some theorize Mars' wet period lasted only a short time, and maybe was due to the massive impacts that created the south hemisphere basis and north hemisphere bulges.

                                                                          Second question. Why domes? Why not build your cities deep underground, and use light pipe conduits to bring the sunlight in. No risk from micro meteors, and ultimately less expensive with a lower potential for catastrophic failure. You'd still enjoy bright natural sunlight, day and night cycles, and could design the interior so residents really felt more like they were outside, than inside a cave.

                                                                          • Jonathan Ciesla
                                                                            Jonathan Ciesla  4 days back

                                                                            Terraforming is when I build stuff that isn't even existent anymore.

                                                                            • joelt2002
                                                                              joelt2002  4 days back

                                                                              Mar's atmosphere is entirely composed of CO2. Adding more CO2 isn't going to increase the green house effect, that is complete garbage science. The issue is having enough gas, or atmospheric mass, to produce the pressure required to sustain life. Water vapor is one of the main drivers of GHG effect on earth. But our atmosphere is composed of Nitrogen for the most part. The higher the pressure the warmer the planet is going to be regardless of the GHG effect. Basic chemistry PV=nRT for ideal gas explains this.

                                                                              So you would need to introduce enough matter that can be made into a gas into the atmosphere. CO2 can work for this purpose, and the Earth's atmosphere was mostly composed of CO2 when it was first formed billions of years ago. CO2 is also good as it can be plant food and can be converted into O2 for human consumption. If there isn't enough matter in the crust you would need to probably bombard the planet with comets. This would take an incredible amount of resources and time to pull off.

                                                                              • Brian Steele
                                                                                Brian Steele  4 days back

                                                                                No you cant. Not enough Volcanic activity to replenish the atmosphere. It has blown its guts out into space long ago. A hot spot formed under its crust and poped like a zit. The zit being Olympic mons the largest volcano in the solar system. I believe mars has
                                                                                Alot of hollow places were
                                                                                Colonies could be established.

                                                                                • ONWARD CHRISTIAN SOLDIER Steven

                                                                                  Watch dr. Claudia Albers. Physicist for the answers.

                                                                                  • Jacob Contreras
                                                                                    Jacob Contreras  4 days back

                                                                                    Theirs probably an civilization there

                                                                                    • Shane d
                                                                                      Shane d  4 days back

                                                                                      So C02 is good.... then why is our planet dying because of it? This is awesome sauce! Eat it climate nuts!

                                                                                      • patrick murray
                                                                                        patrick murray  4 days back

                                                                                        can not terraform Mars as long as it is in it's current orbit (distance from sun), no matter what we could do it would be it would be too cold to support life. Would have to move Mars to same orbit as Earth.

                                                                                        • tony sales
                                                                                          tony sales  5 days back

                                                                                          redirect a comet to the surface of mars. lots of water in a comet. and then lots of heat from the impact to melt existing martian water and co2.
                                                                                          and then he said it in the vid. damn.

                                                                                          • WTX Railfan
                                                                                            WTX Railfan  5 days back

                                                                                            The answer is "NO"! Humans have turned earth into a garbage dump. Only the most deluded among us would believe humans could actually "create" a livable planet from scratch. ROTFL! A world filled with perpetual motion machines ... lol. We're gonna end up like the dinosaurs--extinct.

                                                                                            • John Maelius
                                                                                              John Maelius  5 days back

                                                                                              I would say humans are doing a fantastic job transforming this planet. No need to go to mars and add to its suffering.

                                                                                              • Brian Waldron
                                                                                                Brian Waldron  5 days back

                                                                                                We can always smash comets...