NASA chief scientist resigns and wants to make Mars habitable

Alone on Mars by Ridley Scott, fiction or reality? Jim Green, the current chief scientist of NASA, leans instead for the second option. The man who is about to retire after 40 years with the agency published a plan in November to terraform Mars – that is, make the red planet habitable for humans. In what way?

By heating and thickening the atmosphere of Mars with the help of a giant shield between the Sun and it, he explains to New York Times. This action would increase the temperature and pressure levels so that humans can walk on the surface without the spacesuit or risk of dying. And then also to grow plants and therefore, in the long term, to colonize Mars in order to develop a life far from the Earth – and its pollution.

However, Jim Green notes a major obstacle to the establishment of such a project: the astronomical community. According to him, this one would probably not see very favorably this DIY planet.

An uncertain project

Already in 2018, Lucianne Walkowicz, the astronomer of the Adler planetarium, who founded the defense group JustSpace Alliance, questioned in the merits of the terraforming of Mars. For her, this project could turn into an ecological nightmare, given our track record of climate change on Earth. And Lucianne Walkowicz was, at the time, not convinced that the terraformation of Mars could succeed physically: “Mars appears to lack the necessary reserves of carbon dioxide to inflate its atmosphere and warm it in the first place.”

Despite disagreements within the scientific community, Jim Green cannot be taken all credit. The latter seems to have his head on his shoulders when it comes to the possibility of life on other planets. Obsessed with this goal for years, he created the “Life Detection Confidence Level” scale, also known as CoLD. In the pages of the New York Times, Jim Green relativizes the discovery of a possible form of life on Venus: “A few years ago, scientists said they saw phosphine in the atmosphere of Venus. It made them think that life was possible. On the CoLD scale, where 7 means we found life, it was a 1. Stop crying wolf. ”

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What is certain is that the scientist leaves behind a legacy of a voracious search for life. On the other hand, the realization of his project of terraforming Mars is much less, according to Futurism. Upon retirement, Jim Green leaves a well-endowed and well-staffed organization; some of his ideas could then only exist in the articles he publishes in the future.

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