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Category Archives: Terraforming Mars

Elon Musk’s ‘Multiplanetary’ Civilization Doesn’t Offer Real Hope – The Federalist

Posted: November 26, 2023 at 12:51 pm

SpaceX called the Starships second test flight on Nov. 18 a success, andElon Muskpredicted that the interplanetary rocket would bring about a fork in the road of human destiny. The Starship has the potential to make all life multiplanetary,Musk wrote on X.

Some, especially in the media,have questionedwhether SpaceX can achieve its interplanetary aspirations. The naysayers focus on thetechnical troubles, but Muskconsiders them surmountable.

All 33 engines on the Starship fired. The main Starship stage detached from the booster and continued tofly for several minutes. Then its system activated a self-destruct mechanism above the Gulf of Mexico, despite a planned trip around the globe. SpaceX and the Federal Aviation Administration will investigate what triggered Starships Automated Flight Termination System.

All but a small few have no idea whether wecancolonize Mars. The technological subjects overawe most minds. But all must consider whether weshouldcolonize Mars and eventually other planets in distant solar systems.

We, indeed, face a fork in the road of human destiny, and we should consciously plot our course.

Musk has given a compelling philosophical defense of multiplanetary colonization. In an interview with Google co-founder Larry Page,Musk saidthat human consciousness is a precious flicker of light in the universe, and we should not let it be extinguished.

If current models of our solar system hold, then humans only have a few billion years left to prepare for the suns death. After those short years pass, the sun will no longer sustain life on Earth. Musk wants humans to get ahead of this calamity. Hes waking us all up to the idiom: Dont put all your humans on one planet. By spreading out, well become extinction-proof.

Unlikemany agnostic scientists, Musk regards human consciousness as something like a miracle. That has led some todescribe his viewsas compatible with Christianity. And theres certainly good reason to defend Musks stance, especially when prominent atheists want humans to understand their consciousness as a subjective illusion and its development as a random occurrence. Once we dive into the details, however, theres reason for skepticism.

The goal of his companies from SpaceX to Neuralink is to expand the scope and scale of consciousness and to help humans become more enlightened so they can better understand what questions to ask. This will require both mental and spatial expansion, hence the dual concern with biotechnology and space exploration. Abstract philosophical and theological speculation cannot answer fundamental questions. We need applied science to make philosophical progress.

Consciousness, though worth preserving for its own sake, is not self-sufficient. Without technological aid, consciousness will both fail to ask the right questions and to provide for its own preservation.

If we need to expand consciousness to answer fundamental questions about our nature, then we might take extreme steps to do so. Musk acknowledges as much.

It appears that consciousness is a very rare and precious thing, and we should take whatever steps we can to preserve the light of consciousness, Musk said in a 2019 speech at SpaceXs Boca Chica Launch Facility.

The whatever-steps-we-can framework might sound innocent, perhaps even like a courageous defense of the species. But the principle the preservation of consciousness by any means necessary unavoidably places mans actions beyond moral limitation.

InPerelandra, the second book of hisSpace Trilogy, C.S. Lewis described the motivation behind humanitys quest for interplanetary colonization.

It is the idea that humanity, having now sufficiently corrupted the planet where it arose, must at all costs contrive to seed itself over a larger area: that the vast astronomical distances which are Gods quarantine regulations, must somehow be overcome. This for a start.

He warned that if man ever had the power put into its hands to reach distant planets, then it would open a new chapter of misery for the universe.

When humans arrive on distant planets, they would disrupt the native ecosystems. Think of thedestruction that European explorersbrought with them beginning in the late 15th century. The island of Mauritius, as a famous example, lost its endemic dodos and giant tortoises in a few generations.

Even if there isnt life on Mars or distant planets, we might wonder whether humans have the right to change other planets. Andrew Coates, a physics professor at University College Londons Mullard Space Science Laboratory,calledit cosmic vandalism to change the environment of Mars from what it is at the moment.

Maybe we can tolerate some losses of native extraterrestrial species for the preservation of the human species. And maybe humans will perpetually land on worlds with nothing but raw materials. But we need to determine whether God gave us our native terrestrial ball to govern, as Lewis contended, or whether he gave us a universe to govern.

Our vision of human nature helps us determine how far the human empire should extend. If we, with Lewis, view man as a fallen species that brings sin and destruction, then we probably dont want his domain to increase. If we, with Musk, view man as essentially good as a civilizing and enlightening force in the universe then we should increase his domain in space and time as much as possible.

Lewis saw a problem in the hope that scientists placed on interplanetary colonization. It merely delays the inevitable. In an essay, On Living in an Atomic Age, Lewis argued that the whole story is going to end in NOTHING.

The astronomers hold out no hope that this planet is going to be permanently inhabitable, he wrote. The physicists hold out no hope that organic life is going to be a permanent possibility in any part of the material universe. Not only this earth, but the whole show, all the suns of space, are to run down. Nature is a sinking ship.

InPerelandra, he again described the absurdity of trying to resist mankinds unavoidable extinction:

But beyond this lies the sweet poison of the false infinite the wild dream that planet after planet, system after system, in the end galaxy after galaxy, can be forced to sustain, everywhere and for ever, the sort of life which is contained in the loins of our own species a dream begotten by the hatred of death upon the fear of true immortality, fondled in secret by thousands of ignorant men and hundreds who are not ignorant.

While we seek out ever-habitable planets over billions of years, innumerable cruelties might become necessary to sustain humanitys preservation for a few more precious years. Lewis warned that interplanetary colonization would increase the possibility of inter-species warfare. He seemed to consider extraterrestrial life a likelihood.

The destruction or enslavement of other species in the universe, if such there are, is to these minds a welcome corollary, Lewis said of those supporting space colonization.

Now, I dont think that Musk has Martian chattel slavery or extraterrestrial genocide in mind. But he will not captain the Starship forever. The terraforming of Mars would take hundreds of years. Other generations, with different aspirations, will lead civilization toward more and more distant planets.

These considerations run into the truth that Musk appears to act with regard to justice and the common good. And it clashes with the rights practical need to defend the man at all costs. In the past week, he hastrashed Media Matters,totalitarian security measures, andthe Anti-Defamation League, easily placing him among the worlds top defenders of free speech. He has gone thermonuclear against the regime.

Theres undeniable greatness in a man who can find a way to sustain life on another planet. His vision makes the heart swell with pride in the human race.

You want to wake up in the morning and think the future is going to be great. And thats what being a spacefaring civilization is all about, Musk said. Its about believing in the future and thinking that the future will be better than the past. And I cant think of anything more exciting than going out there and being among the stars.

Once we open the path to the stars, however, we set humans on a quest for eternity that this life can never fulfill. The only hope of eternally maintaining the light of human consciousness is in the Holy Spirit. Musks dream for mankind might turn into a nightmare that stretches across galaxies and millennia.

Joshua Paladino is a staff editor at The Federalist.

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NASA’s Perseverance rover successfully completes its oxygen … – East Coast Daily (English)

Posted: September 9, 2023 at 9:12 pm

The concept of terraforming Mars has captured the imaginations of scientists and artists alike. Although Mars may have once held the potential for life millions of years ago, today it stands as a desolate world. Mars does possess an atmosphere, but its oxygen levels are insufficient to support human life. Transporting oxygen from Earth to Mars would be a prohibitively expensive endeavor. Consequently, the focus in recent years has shifted towards finding a reliable method for producing oxygen on Mars itself, utilizing the planets available resources.

NASAs Perseverance rover has been exploring the Martian surface since 2021, and it has now successfully completed its mission to produce oxygen using MOXIE (Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment).

MOXIE is an instrument carried by the Perseverance rover, and its operations have come to a close after successfully generating oxygen for the 16th and final time aboard the rover. Developed by scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), MOXIE has exceeded their initial expectations.

Pam Melroy, NASA Deputy Administrator, expressed, MOXIEs impressive performance shows that it is feasible to extract oxygen from Mars atmosphere oxygen that could help supply breathable air or rocket propellant to future astronauts. This breakthrough in technology development is seen as crucial for utilizing resources on the Moon and Mars, establishing a sustained lunar presence, creating a robust lunar economy, and supporting eventual human exploration missions to Mars.

Since the landing of Perseverance on Mars in 2021, MOXIE has produced a total of 122 grams of oxygen, which is approximately equivalent to the amount a small dog breathes in over a span of 10 hours. This surpasses NASAs initial goal for the project, and the oxygen produced had a remarkable purity of 98 percent. On August 7, during MOXIEs final oxygen production as part of its mission, it generated 9.8 grams of oxygen.

Trudy Kortes, director of technology demonstrations at NASA Headquarters, stated, Were proud to have supported a breakthrough technology like MOXIE that could turn local resources into useful products for future exploration missions. By proving this technology in real-world conditions, weve come one step closer to a future in which astronauts live off the land on the Red Planet.


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18 Board Games That Everyone Needs To Play – Kotaku Australia

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At Kotaku, we independently select and write about stuff we love and think you'll like too. We have affiliate and advertising partnerships, which means we may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. BTW prices are accurate and items in stock at the time of posting.

The current range and quality of board games available is pretty astounding. Unfortunately, being spoilt for choice is both a blessing and a curse. With so many options available, trying to figure out what title you want to play can feel a bit daunting. Especially if youre someone who is fairly new to the board game, uh, game.

To help you out, weve chosen a few of our favourite titles that deserve to be part of any collection, from beginner to expert. From all-time strategy classics to epic fantasy quests and titles based on popular movies and TV shows, these are just a few board games that deserve a spot on your shelf (if you can fit them, that is).

This article has been updated since its original publication.

Team up with your friends to solve a mysterious haunting.

Betrayal At House on the Hill has two phases the first is the Exploration phase, where the players build a mansion room by room. Eventually, youll trigger the second phase, the Haunt, and thats where the fun starts as youre beset by supernatural monsters. To make things even more interesting, one of the players is secretly a traitor who takes the side of the monsters and uses the Exploration phase to assist their undead master.

With the mansion being procedurally generated, theres a ton of replay value. Unlike the rotting corpses hidden beneath the mansions floorboards, every game feels fresh. The variation in monsters is also fun, ranging from ghosts to vampires to dragons. If youre new to the game (or these types of board games in general) it does come across as a bit overwhelming to master, but its surprisingly easy to learn.

If youre a fan of Dungeons & Dragons, theres an alternate version of Betrayal At House on the Hill thats themed around the popular tabletop RPG and set in Baldurs Gate.

Where you can buy Betrayal At House on the Hill:

In Cosmic Encounter, you play as the leader of an alien race, and intergalactic conquest is the name of the game. Your aim is to spread your influence throughout the galaxy, establishing colonies in the planetary systems of the other players.

This board game has been around since 1977, and its easy to understand why it has been beloved for so long. The strategy is both fun and fulfilling, with the different gameplay cards available allowing for an enjoyable variation of tactics.

One of the biggest draws of Cosmic Encounteris the table politics. The gameplay requires you to form alliances and negotiate deals with other players to help screw over the other players while also potentially setting up your ally for a masterful double-cross.

Where you can buy Cosmic Encounter:

After years of being out of print, the Dune board game is finally available again and the world is a better place for it. Originally published in 1979 and based on Frank Herberts classic sci-fi epic, Dunehas a reputation for being one of the best board games around. The good news is that it absolutely lives up to the hype, as we learned when we reviewed it:

I cant remember the last time I laughed, gasped and cursed like I did playingDune. The way alliances can be made but then broken, the elastic nature of the basic victory conditions and the treachery lurking behind every decision made it feel like every player was always one step away from victory but at the same time one battle away from utter ruin.

The board game draws a healthy amount from the original novel, putting you in control of one of six factions House Atreides, House Harkonnen, the Spacing Guild, the Bene Gesserit, the Emperor and the Fremen as you strategise, fight and scheme your way to controlling the planet Arrakis and its spice melange. Dune is great to play with friends but, much like in the novel, a huge part of the game involves diplomacy, secret alliances and inevitable betrayals. Theres nothing like a fun afternoon of friendly backstabbing.

Dune has mostly aged well, although much like the deserts of Arrakis, theres a degree of random cruelness that you cant fully prepare for. Just remember that he who controls the spice controls the universe.

You can read Kotaku Australias review of the Dune board game here.

Where you can buy Dune:

Based on the video game series,Fallout: The Board Gameis a pretty faithful adaption. Start by choosing a scenarioand then set off to explore the wasteland, complete quests and fight the various monsters, mutants and marauders that come across their path.

If youre a fan of Bethesdas Fallout games, this thing is great. It keeps the RPG elements of the source material, by allowing you to spend points to increase your characters ability skills and customise your equipment loadout. It even manages to keep the VAT system, with dice that let you target specific body parts of your enemies. It does a good job of ticking the boxes of what we like about Fallout:

As a board game,Falloutis great. It combines a genuine sense of exploration with some fantastic story-telling to create an experience that sits neatly between a solo and multiplayer adventure. As an adaptation of theFalloutvideo games, though, its almost perfect.

Theres also an expansion set, New California,which adds two scenarios, along with a bunch of new quests, companions and items.

If we have one big criticism of Fallout, its that the game moves much slower when playing with four people. Theres a delicate balancing act because more players help increase the fun but the threat of gaming fatigue is real.

You can read Kotaku Australias review of the Fallout board game here.

Where you can buy Fallout: The Board Game:

While the TV show squandered our collective goodwill over those final seasons, A Game of Thrones has remained a consistent go-to with friends. Choose your House, start manoeuvring your armies to secure as much of the Seven Kingdoms as you can, and finally claim your spot on the Iron Throne. (If you want to play as House Targaryen, youll have to grab an expansion pack.)

A Game of Thrones is an all-around solid strategy game, the real charm comes from the table politics and scheming. Making deals to crush a specific opponent, only to turn around and stab your ally in the back isnt just a fun thing to do, its an essential tactic.

For the A Song of Ice and Fire purists, the game is directly inspired by the books, with this second edition being released the same year the HBO adaptation aired. You can also try to create your own (and much better?) ending to the series. Rob Stark teams up with Stannis Baratheon, sieges Casterly Rock and decimates the Lannisters? Sure, why not?

Where you can buy A Game of Thrones:

Gloomhaven is only a few years old, but its quickly become one of our favourite board games. A campaign-driven dungeon crawler where you play a mercenary trying to get paid while surviving the dangerous world surrounding Gloomhaven. It plays like a mix of eurogames and dungeon crawlers like HeroQuest, with a lot of different dungeons to explore and an emphasis on tactical decisions.

There are almost 100 unique scenarios you can play through, where your every action will determine what happens next. Considering each scenario can take anywhere between one to two hours to complete, youve got plenty of game ahead of yourself. There is so much packed into Gloomhaven that it can feel like youve barely even scratched the surface of your campaign.

Just put aside some time to set it up and clear some space on your shelf because this thing is a beast. It comes with 1,500 cards, and the whole bundle weighs around 10kg.

If youre interested in Gloomhaven, but maybe arent keen on the commitment required for both time and physical space, there is an alternative option. Jaws of the Lionis a prequel game that gives you the Gloomhaven experience but with a fraction of the quests. Its a less intensive way to learn the game and will let you slip straight into Gloomhaven proper once youre done with it.

Where you can buy Gloomhaven:

Speaking of dungeon crawlers like HeroQuest, why not check out HeroQuest proper? Its an incredibly straightforward and easy-to-pick-up game, which plays like a streamlined tabletop RPG, like Dungeons & Dragons, and is less of a time investment than something like Gloomhaven.

HeroQuest is played with up to five players, with four taking on the dungeon explorers while one acts as the game master, Zargon, the evil sorcerer. You dont even need four players you can split out the characters with whoever is available to play, even if that means one person playing as the whole party.

With 14 premade quests, the four characters will need to make their way through the dungeons while Zargon is tasked with introducing various traps and creatures for them to fight. Once you finish one of the quests, youre able to spend whatever gold and treasure youve accumulated to upgrade your characters gear, before delving into another dungeon. Or, it can just be a satisfying done-in-one campaign that you and your mates roll through when its your turn to pick something for games night.

Where you can buy HeroQuest:

Kings of Tokyois a very easy-to-pick-up board game that is a lot of fun to play. You pick one of six giant monsters to play as, and your aim is to become the King of Tokyo by battling it out with your opponents. Thats it, thats the game.

Its a king of the hill game that uses a combination of dice rolls and strategising with the power-up cards in your hands to stake your claim on the Japanese capital. The goal is to be the first to 20 victory points or be the last monster standing.

If you really enjoy this game, theres a heap of different King of Tokyo expansion packs currently available. Theyll give you new monsters and power cards to battle with, so theres an option to add even more content to this game to keep it fresh.

Where you can buy King of Tokyo:

The Lord of the Rings: Journeys in Middle-Earth does what it says on the box. You, and up to four other friends, play as one of J.R.R. Tolkiens iconic heroes while questing your way across the realm of Middle-earth, from Gondor to the Grey Mountains.

While most of the games on this list are more tactically focused, Journeys in Middle-Earth places its focus squarely on adventuring. As you progress youre able to customise your skills and items, giving you just enough RPG elements that, despite playing pre-set characters, you can still give them your own spin.

The game requires a companion app that takes the role of the game master while also tracking your progress and dishing out scenarios that play into the greater campaign. The app also keeps track of your characters items, which helps alleviate the usually frustrating mess of flipping through a stack of cards to find that one specific piece of equipment.

You can read Kotaku Australias review of The Lord of The Rings: Journeys in Middle-Earth here.

Where you can buy LOTR: Journeys in Middle-Earth:

If you dig the world of Dungeons & Dragons, but want something thats less of a commitment than a long RPG campaign, try Lord of Waterdeep. Its a game where you play as one of the titular Lords of Waterdeep and attempt to gain the most influence over the City of Splendours.

The game works by placing your factions agents at various locations that will help you gain resources, like gold or various types of adventurers, and then sending those resources to complete quests. The goal is to collect the most victory points from the various quests you complete over the games eight rounds. Throw in some intrigue cards that can give you a much-needed hand (usually at the expense of your opponents), and youve got a great strategy game.

If youve never played D&D before, dont worry. Lord of Waterdeep requires no pre-existing knowledge of the franchise. And if youre a long-time fan, youll appreciate the familiar faces.

Where you can buy Lords of Waterdeep:

Mansions Of Madness is a cooperative board game inspired by the works of H.P. Lovecraft. In it, you play as investigators who are tasked with exploring a cursed mansion to solve the mystery of a chosen scenario. This edition of the game uses a companion app that tracks your progress and also takes care of randomly spawning monsters, triggering events and randomising the layout of the mansion.

Its very easy to immerse yourself into Mansions Of Madness spooky atmosphere, and weve had a lot of fun investigating and trying to solve the puzzles of the scenarios that weve played. If youre someone who loves a good game piece, Mansions Of Madness monster figures are fantastic. Being able to throw down a giant Cthulhu figure onto the board really helps to sell the enormity of the threat.

A single game will eat up a couple of hours, so make sure youve set enough time to adequately lose your mind to an eldritch horror. The app lets you save your progress, so you can easily jump back into a game you couldnt finish.

When we reviewed Mansions Of Madness, on top of enjoying the mythical romp of fighting Cthulhu, we were impressed by how little effort it took to set up and play. You can read Kotaku Australias review of Mansions Of Madness here.

Where you can buy Mansions Of Madness:

Scythe is set in a dieselpunk reimagining of 1920s Europe where you play as one of five nations currently vying for control in a power vacuum created by the closure of The Factory, a capitalistic city-state that previously ruled the region.

At first,Scythedoes feel a bit complex but once you get the hang of it, youll be playing one of the best engine-building games of the last decade. Farm some resources, conquer new territories, recruit new followers and activate some chunky-looking mechs to keep your domain protected. It isnt particularly combat-heavy and the skirmishes that do occur play through fairly fast.

When we reviewed the game, we were impressed by how all of these gameplay elements combined:

Its blend of resource gathering, exploration, turn management and combat results in a conflict thats entirely unpredictable. Because the game isnt just about fighting, or just about farming, there are multiple approaches to confronting your opponents and winning the game, which makes for a fascinating struggle, and a game that plays out differently every time you get it out.

Scythe also has one of the most unique aesthetics of any board game Ive played and some gorgeous game art by Jakub Rozalski. When we first opened up our copy we spent plenty of time looking through each individual card, completely ignoring the rulebook.

You can read Kotaku Australias review of Scythe here.

Where you can buy Scythe:

Im a firm believer that every household should own a copy of this. Settlers of Catan is one of the all-time classic board games endlessly replayable and a great place to start for those new to strategy games.

The gameplay is pretty straightforward. Youre plopped onto the randomly generated isle of Catan and need to collect as many different types of resources as possible. From there, youll combine those resources to build new settlements, upgrade existing ones and increase your domain by laying down some roads. Its simple to play, but the strategic trading element keeps it consistently interesting. One turn youll be rolling in wheat, and the next youll be trading all of your wood to get a single piece.

Where you can buy The Settlers of Catan:

The set-up for Star Wars Rebellionis pretty simple: It is a period of civil war, so pick a side.

The game is built around a series of skirmishes and missions that are all led by classic Star Wars heroes and villains. If youre playing as the Empire, your goal is to sniff out the Rebel Alliances base and wipe it from existence. As the Rebels, your goal is to raise your reputation throughout the galaxy, drawing as many planets to your side as possible and strategically striking the Empires resources.

While this might sound a bit unbalanced towards the Empire, the game does a good job of keeping the two factions fair:

This isnt a game where one side will slowly overrun another until victory becomes inevitable. Its a game where even if the Rebels are getting their arse kicked from one end of the galaxy to another, theyre still very much in contention so long as their base is secret and their best heroes are in play, since the game runs on a timer which essentially grants victory to the Alliance if they survive long enough.

You also get a lot of great minis, ranging from Stormtroopers to X-Wings to Star Destroyers. You even get a Death Star, which, if youre a Rebel, is a looming menace. The game does take a couple of hours to play, so clear your afternoon schedule.

You can read Kotaku Australias review of Star Wars Rebellion here.

Where you can buy Star Wars Rebellion:

If youre a fan of Sid Meiers Civilizationseries,Tapestry is right up your alley. Starting from the dawn of mankind, its up to you to build your own civilisation from nothing and help it grow throughout the following millennia. The type of civilisation you want to build is up to you and is influenced by which of the four skills science, technology, exploration, and military you want to invest your points into.

The variation that comes from those is what keeps me coming back to Tapestry. We dont think weve built the same civilisation twice, and even when weve tried to repeat previous tactics, our strategy inevitability changes depending on what the other players are doing.

Where you can buy Tapestry:

This resource management game does exactly what it says on the box. In Terraforming Mars, each player takes on the role of a different corporation and is tasked with making the red planet habitable for humankind. While you work together on the terraforming process as a whole, the aim is to see which player has the most contributions.

You build various projects, gaining income and resources that you can spend on further productions. Once Mars has the appropriate temperature, oxygen levels and quantity of oceans, the game is over.

Terraforming Mars is very card-heavy, and you really need to keep track of what youre holding during any given round. Its also one of the more aggressive resource management games weve played, as there are a lot of cards you can play that directly target your opponent. Overall, its an experience that we really enjoyed while playing through it:

The game absolutely nails its theme and its blend of cooperative outlook and competitive urges means its a tight, tense experience the whole way through.

You can read Kotaku Australias review of Terraforming Mars here.

Where you can buy Terraforming Mars:

If you enjoy the Euro-style gameplay of something like Settlers of Catan and want to pick up something similar, then you might get some miles out ofTicket To Ride. The aim of the game is to be the player who can build the longest continuous train, claiming routes and connecting cities.

Ticket To Rideis an incredibly easy game to pick (especially compared to some of the other titles on this list) and isnt too intensive when it comes to strategising. Each player is randomly assigned Destination Tickets at the start of each match, giving you set goal cities that you need to reach.

Theres an economy of knowing which cards you need to play or stockpile, as you need these specific cards to claim certain routes. The last thing you want to do is lose out on the route that will connect your assigned destinations.

Where you can buy Ticket To Ride:

We cannot stress how much we enjoy Wingspan. Released back in 2019, this engine-building card game is all about building the best wildlife preserve by strategically assigning birds to certain habitats. Its a simple premise (especially when compared to some of the other games on this list), but nevertheless engaging as hell.

The rules are pretty easy to pick up, and the game only runs for four rounds, so youll be done in about an hour. Thankfully, the 170 bird cards, each with its own set of effects, give the game plenty of variety and replayability. If the look of a board game is particularly important to you, Wingspan also features some of the most beautifully illustrated cards of any board game that weve ever played.

If you decide to pick up bird watching as a new hobby after playing this, we dont blame you. If youre a fan of digital board games, the digital edition of Wingspan is also worth your time.

Where you can buy Wingspan:

If none of the above sounds like your thing, the good news is that there are still plenty of solid board game options out there, and you better believe Kotaku Australia has opinions about them.

This article has been updated since its original publication.

Whether youve got the need for speed or simply looking for a better deal, these are the best prices going right now for the NBN 250 speed tier.

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The 15 Best Transformers Ripoffs – MovieWeb

Posted: at 9:12 pm

In 1984, Hasbro partnered with Takara Tomy and Marvel Comics to repurpose two existing toylines into a pop culture juggernaut. Micro Change and Diaclone, the two toys in question, featured robots that could become everyday items, weapons, and vehicles, and they acted as a launching point for Hasbro's newest venture. Marvel writer Bob Budiansky and editor-in-chief Jim Shooter created the story of two warring alien factions. These robotic characters, capable of transforming into myriad vehicles, were named the Autobots and the Decepticons, and the Transformers franchise was born.

Since the '80s, Transformers has exploded in popularity, with over two dozen animated series and movies, seven live-action films, and hundreds of toys. Given its almost 40 years of existence, many franchises have used Transformers as a foundation, producing several rip-offs and clones. Each varies in how much "inspiration" it takes from its parent series, and they all range in quality, with some standing on their own and becoming their own thing. These 15 are just some of the best (or worst, depending on your perspective) rip-offs of the Transformers franchise.

The '80s were rife with toy companies trying to match Transformers success, and while many simply copied the transforming vehicle aesthetic, some ideas were more novel. Milton-Bradley was among the latter, combining the robotic alien narrative with construction toys like the Erector Set to create Robotix. This allowed for kids to be involved in the building of powerful, motorized machines, connecting them with the story of the two warring factions.

Sunbow and Marvel Productions partnered with Milton-Bradley to create the Robotix cartoon, attempting to match their past success with The Transformers: The Animated Series. The central conflict wasn't between Autobots and Decepticons but Protectons and Terrakors. These robotic shells contain the life force of their creators, who live on the planet Skalorr V. A human space shuttle crashes on the planet, and the pilots split into two groups, each choosing a side. They had the benefit of riding the Robotix like mechs, but this didn't help it maintain the same level of popularity of Transformers.

Another benchmark of '80s toys and animation was G.I. Joe. Taking the traditional army man toys of the day and infusing them with unique stories and characters, G.I. Joe became another massive franchise in pop culture. It, too, saw many rip-offs and clones, but the most unique combined elements of various popular series at the time. M.A.S.K. took the transforming vehicles of Transformers and combined them with the military, super-soldier aesthetics of G.I. Joe, creating a franchise that, while not nearly as popular as its two inspirations, holds a level of reverence with the fan base.

M.A.S.K. follows the exploits of the "Mobile Armored Strike Kommand," an elite unit of special agents who piloted transforming vehicles. They also wore masks that granted them enhanced abilities, which they used to fight V.E.N.O.M. (Vicious Evil Network of Mayhem). These villains, led by Miles Mayhem, sought power and wealth through stealing precious artifacts and technologies. Interestingly, Hasbro has acknowledged their connection to Transformers; in the IDW Comics, M.A.S.K. bases their transforming vehicles on Cybertronian technology, meaning they are canon rip-offs of the Robots in Disguise.

Originally released in 2013, Super Wings is an ongoing Korean children's animated series following a group of transforming planes. Seemingly taking joint inspiration from both Transformers and Cars, the series is known for its cartoony aesthetics, though these have gotten more complex and interesting as new machines are added into the mix. The series has the tone of most kids educational programming, focusing heavily on travel and locations around the world, but the ideas behind the series take obvious cues from the Robots in Disguise.

Jett is a delivery plane for World Airport. Alongside his friend and supervisor, Jimbo, Jett travels the world in order to pick up and help deliver packages for children in various locales. This often ends in some mishap or problem that requires Jett to call in another Super Wing for help. Later seasons see the introduction of more complex tech, including some that give the planes elemental powers and an ally in the transforming aircraft carrier World Robot. The series has become a popular children's cartoon, which makes sense given its simple premise and similarities to the Transformers franchise.

What if humans were the Transformers? That seems to be the central conceit that inspired the strange 1986 animated series and toyline Centurions. Similar to M.A.S.K., Centurions took the best parts about G.I. Joe and Transformers and mashed them together to create something new, equipping powerful robotic suits to specialized soldiers to give them a leg up in a battle against evil. The show was weird, but while arguments can be made as to its quality, it definitely lives up to the tagline that was shouted several times each episode: Man and Machine, Power Xtreme!

The series followed the titular heroes as they battled the villainous Doc Terror and his Doom Drones. Based in an orbiting space station, the Centurions (Max Ray, Jake Rockwell, and Ace McCloud) donned powerful exo-frame suits that allowed them to equip unique sets of weaponized armor, each specialized for a different combat scenario. The series ran for 65 episodes, adopting the typical "threat-of-the-week" structure. The action took centerstage over character and plot, which means that, sadly, this novel idea has largely been forgotten.

Let's be perfectly clear: Super Sentai, the inspiration for Power Rangers, is not a Transformers rip-off. With its first season releasing in 1975, Super Sentai preceded the Robots in Disguise by nine years, and Battle Fever J, the first season to introduce mecha combat, released in 1979. Nevertheless, Power Rangers and their brand of mecha-based combat made their way to America in 1993, nine years after Transformers, and while the Cybertronians may not have influenced the plot or overall designs, they did inspire a surge of interest in transforming robots, helping bring the teenagers with attitude to American televisions.

The '90s were a time of increased interest in Japan and Japanese storytelling. There was a massive surge in localizations of anime and live-action series from the country, with Sailor Moon, Dragon Ball Z, and other Japanese series soaring to massive popularity in the United States. Meanwhile, Transformers made fighting robots cool. Stores couldn't keep Transformers toys in stock, and this led to a tidal wave of new robotic toys. Power Rangers allowed for Saban and Fox Kids to capitalize on these two growing markets, while simultaneously saving money by reusing film from the existing Super Sentai series.

While you may have heard of many of the titles on this list, chances are Heavy Gear might have escaped your notice. Despite the popularity of the board and video games of the same name, this 3D animated series flew under many fans' radars in 2001. Due to the clunky animation and the younger intended audience, the series was far less popular than Mainframe Entertainment had hoped for, leading to a single season of 40 episodes. While the Heavy Gear franchise focuses heavily on mech combat, strategic warfare, and complex science-fiction world-building, the series solely focused on the fighting robots.

The show followed two professional fighting teams, the Vanguard of Justice and the Shadow Dragons. The pair were pitted against each other in a tournament, followed by several exhibition matches. While the series loses some of its more in-depth war narratives, the connections to Transformers come from the mecha combat. Companies were trying to find the magic formula of the Robots in Disguise, and most banked on the spectacle of giant robots fighting. Many of these copycat shows overlooked the depth of the storytelling in Transformers, creating series light on plot and heavy on action.

Related: Terrible Video Game Movies That Are Still a Lot of Fun to Watch

Combining elements of Power Rangers and Transformers, 2010's Sym-Bionic Titan is one of the most original series on this list. Created by Genndy Tartakovsky, the series followed Ilana, Lance, and Octus, two aliens and a robot from the planet Galaluna. Ilana, a princess, was forced to flee her home after a coup. The three landed in Sherman, Illinois, where they masqueraded as typical high school students. When the monstrous Mutraddi and General Modula arrive on Earth, though, Ilana and Lance don powerful robotic battle armor, and together with Octus, they can merge to form the unstoppable Sym-Bionic Titan.

While it only aired for 20 episodes, Sym-Bionic Titan showcases the possibilities of a "rip-off." Taking elements from several mecha and alien war storylines, the story melded them together to create something distinct and interesting. The character designs harken back to those seen in Transformers, as does the general plot structure, but Tartakovsky took these similarities and twisted them into something new. For that reason, fans still hold Sym-Bionic Titan in high regard, and though it had a short lifespan, the series is still considered one of Tartakovsky's most unique.

Guillermo Del Toro's 2013 hit mecha science-fiction film Pacific Rim held all the trademarks of the director's best work. It was a dark examination with incredible monster designs, intimate storytelling, and plenty of robot-alien combat. Its sequel, Pacific Rim: Uprising, lost Del Toro's direction, and instead of breaking down genre tropes, it instead leaned heavily into them. It took inspiration from nearly every giant robot franchise, from Transformers to Robotech to Power Rangers, and while fans were less invested in this campier, fun action flick, it was still an entertaining summer blockbuster thrill ride.

Pacific Rim: Uprising is a direct sequel to Del Toro's film. After the Battle of the Breach and the closing of the Kaiju portal, the Earth has seen relative peace. Former Jaeger pilot Jake Pentecost, the son of the late Pan-Pacific Defense Corps director Stacker Pentecost, makes a living selling Jaeger parts on the black market, but after an altercation involving a young woman named Amara and her homemade Jaeger, Jake is brought back into the PPDC. He is just in time for the newest crisis, as a rogue Jaeger, classified as Obsidian Fury, has begun attacking key PPDC members and locations around the world.

Including any Asylum film on a list of rip-offs is a bit of a cheat. The company has made their name with "mock-busters," intentional rip-offs of some of the world's most popular films. Low budget and often low effort, these films are the best of the worst, leaning into their campy premises and creating some of the best "so-bad-they're-good" films in movie history. Transmorphers is the company's attempt at parodying the Transformers live-action franchise, just with far lower-quality animation, character designs, and acting.

The most interesting change of pace with Transmorphers is that it isn't the battle between two robotic alien races. Instead, it is your typical alien invasion story. Years before, the alien robots arrived on Earth and drove humanity underground. A resistance force was formed among the surviving human soldiers, under the command of General Van Ryberg. After a confrontation with a new breed of robot that can disguise themselves as parts of the terrain, the resistance decides to reinstate a disgraced officer, Warren Mitchell, to help them capture one of the aliens for study.

There are some rip-offs that take the ideas presented in the original IP and expand on them in new and unique ways, and then there are some like Gladiformers: Robos Gladiadores. This blatant, unapologetic rip-off of Transformers sees an evil empire run by the Supremobots holding a deadly gladiator tournament, capturing other transforming robot aliens from across the universe.

Julius Drive, the prince of an unnamed world (how's that for world-building?), is sold as a slave into the tournament, and forced to fight for the entertainment of Locutor's forces.

The series suffers from stunted animation and plenty of clichs throughout. Produced by Video Brinquedo who have made their name with cheap knockoffs of popular franchises (looking at you, Little Panda Fighter and Ratatoing), the plot is somewhat original, with the robot coliseum leading to some fun fights and interesting characters, but the film's horrendously low budget and overall aesthetic make it one of the worst rip-offs of Transformers. Despite all of this, the film did receive a sequel in 2009, so if you are somehow invested in the adventures of Julius Drive, there is more to see.

Transformers is about so much more than giant robots at war. While the live-action films focus mostly on the explosions and the intense action of the Autobots vs. the Decepticons, the films ignore the deeper narratives and more complex characterizations that made the Robots in Disguise famous.

1993's Exosquad was another in the long-line of rip-offs that focused on giant robots fighting an alien menace, but it came the closest to matching the magic of Transformers in its overall narrative. The story had a darker tone, exploring concepts like slavery, PTSD, and the general horrors of war.

Exosquad takes place in the 22nd century. Terrans have expanded beyond Earth, terraforming Venus, Mars, and beyond with the help of genetically altered Neosapiens. The Neosapiens of Mars stage a revolution, taking over the Terran territories, while Earth's Exofleet is sent to deal with a space pirate threat. Unhappy with their years of slave labor, the Neosapiens have decided to take back their rights by any means necessary. With war now raging on the homeworlds, the series follow Able Squad, a group of Exosuit pilots, as they undertook operations to undermine the Neosapien resistance.

Related: 15 Saturday Morning Cartoons That Every '90s Kid Remembers

The Asylum makes it explosive return to this list, and this one is a little on the nose, even for them. In 2018, Travis Knight released Bumblebee, the sixth film in the live-action Transformers film franchise and a soft reboot of the Michael Bay era. The film was generally well-received by many fans with its more personal, character-driven story of the titular Autobot's arrival on Earth. Hornet has none of the charm of Bumblebee, relying more on the gimmick of giant robots fighting each other and its interesting character designs than actual storytelling.

Releasing three days prior to Bumblebee,Hornet is the worst kind of rip-off, capitalizing on the premise of a film without adding anything new to it. The story follows an alien invasion of Earth. These aliens are brainwashing humans, forcing them to commit terrible acts of destruction. Humanity's only hope is a high-tech, untested giant robot.

The most unique part of the movie is its filmmaking. The story is told through found-footage, switching between the recordings from the humans involved, and the live camera feeds within the giant robot's eyes, but even this unique premise couldn't save this horrible movie.

Do you know what the Transformers franchise needed? More human/robot romance. At least, that's what the producers of the 2009 Hong Kong film Metallic Attraction: Kungfu Cyborg seemed to think. The story follows De Ming, an experimental cyborg peace officer who is assigned to a small town for training. While stationed there, he encounters Su Mei, a woman who falls in love with him. De Ming must confront his lack of humanity, his Pinocchio-esque desire to be a real person, as rogue cyborg assassins begin to plague the town.

Kungfu Cyborg is bizarre, mixing such disparate genres that don't quite fit into place together. The robot designs are taken straight from the Michael Bay Transformers films, with clunky armored warriors presented in impressive CGI. Despite the oddity of the premise, the film kind of works. The story isn't anything particularly inspiring, but the unique focus on the robotic characters and their mental states is actually really interesting. Not only that, but the fight scenes, while less intense and fewer in number, take a lot of inspiration from traditional kung-fu movies, making this an interesting experience at the very least.

Given its release in 1989, Robot Jox is surprisingly ahead of its time. It most definitely feels dated, with animation that feels a bit stilted, but given its release date, this film is a technical marvel. Inspired by Transformers, director Stuart Gordon wanted to bring the giant robot combat from so many animated series and films into the real world, and he succeeded in a way that nobody could have expected. While the film was critically panned on its initial release and poor marketing kept it from box office success, the film has become a cult icon with a hugely devoted fan base.

Playing on Cold War tensions, the film was set in a futuristic, post-apocalyptic Earth that has suffered from the decimation of its population by nuclear war. With open war outlawed, disputes between the Market (America) and the Confederation (Soviet Russia) are settled with gladiatorial mech battles. With Alaska on the line, the Market sends in Achilles, one of their greatest pilots, to defeat Alexander.

However, after his first near loss against Alexander, Achilles is nearly replaced by a genetically modified pilot named Athena, and he must put his attraction to the woman aside to prove he can defeat the Confederation bot.

Many Transformers rip-offs try to hide their influences behind an interesting twist or unique character designs, but the Mark A. Reyes-directed Transmutators leans heavily into its inspirations. With a lead character that is clearly meant to be a knock-off Optimus Prime, the only real difference between the two films is that the transforming robots in this film are piloted mechs instead of sentient alien defenders. It has received nothing but poor reviews, making it one of the all-time worst Transformers rip-offs, and while the Asylum films are intentionally bad, this film is made all the worse by how seriously it takes itself.

In a far-future Earth, mutants and giant robotic aliens have taken over the planet. Humanity's last hope is a rebel group of survivors who have developed piloted mech suits from recycled machine parts, and they must battle an army of mutated humans, alien monstrosities, and horribly animated CGI robots in order to survive. This film has a horribly low budget, with costume designs on par with bad cosplay and some horrendous special effects. The film has some fun ideas, but the execution makes it one of the worst Transformers rip-offs of all time.

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Godzilla Stomps Onto Television With ‘Monarch’ Trailer – ScreenCrush

Posted: at 9:12 pm

Apple TV+ is a solid streaming service with a couple of very good shows and even an Academy Award winner for Best Picture. With nonewTed Lassoepisodes in the immediate future, though, they could definitely use a new signature program, something big and splashy. So how about a massive TV series starring Godzilla?

ThatsMonarch: Legacy of Monsters, which brings the big fire-breathing lizard to the small screen, along with an impressive cast that includes Kurt Russell, Wyatt Russell, and Kiersey Clemons. The first trailer for the show is below, and it very strongly connectsMonarch to the recent Godzilla (andKong) films, and the shadowy organization known as Monarch tasked with protecting the world from them while also confirming the series is not just about a bunch of scientists standing around looking at computer monitors; theres some big kaiju action in here as well.

Check out the firstMonarch trailer below:

READ MORE: 20 Movies You Never Knew Became TV Series

The scale of the show looks impressive, but there should be a solid story foundation behind it too; the series wasdeveloped by Chris Black and Matt Fraction, an outstanding comic book writer of series likeThe Invincible Iron Man,Casanova, andHawkeye.(The recentHawkeyeTV series was heavily inspired by his run on the comic.)

There are a bunch of newMonarch images as well:

Here is the series official synopsis:

Following the thunderous battle between Godzilla and the Titans that leveled San Francisco, and the shocking revelation that monsters are real, Monarch: Legacy of Monsters tracks two siblings following in their fathers footsteps to uncover their familys connection to the secretive organization known as Monarch. Clues lead them into the world of monsters and ultimately down the rabbit hole to Army Officer Lee Shaw (played by Kurt Russell and Wyatt Russell), taking place in the 1950s and half a century later where Monarch is threatened by what Shaw knows. The dramatic saga spanning three generations reveals buried secrets and the ways that epic, earth-shattering events can reverberate through our lives.

Monarch: Legacy of Monsters premieres on Apple TV+ on November 17. Two episodes premiere on that day, with new episodes weekly on Fridays through January 12.

Like video games, the complex storylines and exaggerated characters of even the best anime and manga out there can be difficult to translate to the screen. Heres the proof...

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How to terraform Mars, without nukes, on a budget – Freethink

Posted: May 31, 2023 at 7:51 pm

If humanity is going to colonize other planets, we probably have to start with Mars. But the North Pole is balmy by comparison with the Red Planet, and the surface of Mars makes Earths radioactive Lake Karachay look like a country spa. The solution, some futurologists and scientists believe, is to terraform Mars transform the planet until it is more capable of supporting human life.

Its a mammoth task. Mars is lethal in multiple ways. If you were to be teleported this moment to Mars, in the clothes youre wearing now, the gas in your bloodstream would turn into bubbles. Like a shaken can of Coke, you would fizz to death. If somehow you avoided that, you would soon die of oxygen deprivation, cold exposure, or radiation poisoning.

Ultimately, a terraformed Mars would need a strengthened magnetosphere the protective magnetic layer that shields Earth from the Suns ultraviolet radiation and a thicker atmosphere. That atmosphere is currently almost entirely composed of carbon dioxide, with negligible amounts of oxygen. The planet would also need to be much warmer; its surface temperature is, on average, -81 degrees Fahrenheit.

If we managed to warm the planet up, wed release frozen CO2 reserves at the planets polar caps and elsewhere. That would help thicken the atmosphere, making it possible for water, rather than ice, to exist on the surface conditions that would make it easier to introduce plants, which produce oxygen. But how would we even start that warming process?

Musk proposes a continuous stream of very low fallout nuclear fusion explosions above Mars.

Elon Musk has repeatedly suggested that we nuke Mars. Wed do this, he suggests, by creating a continuous stream of very low fallout nuclear fusion explosions above the atmosphere to create artificial suns. This could warm the planet, melt the frozen CO2 ice caps, and thicken the atmosphere, causing even more warming. Even if there were enough frozen CO2 to melt, this strategy would involve an almost infeasible number of nuclear weapons.

There are other proposed strategies for Martian global warming, such as the diversion of asteroids into the poles, and the production, on a massive scale, of CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons) potent greenhouse gasses that are horrible for Earths ozone layer but which would help heat Mars. Another idea involves the creation of a huge space mirror as large as the side of Mars, reflecting vast amounts of additional sunlight onto the Red Planet.

These proposals involve huge costs and inventing new technologies.

These proposals would require huge costs and significant upgrades in human technological capabilities. Is there a cheaper, easier way of beginning the terraforming process? Casey Handmer thinks so.

Handmer, formerly of NASAs Jet Propulsion Laboratory, is now the founder of a startup that seeks to create carbon-negative natural gas by sucking CO2 out of Earths atmosphere. He also publishes a space blog, where he outlined a proposal that he argues could, at the modest cost of $10 billion, make significant progress towards terraforming Mars.

Speaking to Freethink, Handmer explained his idea: mass producing small solar sails. Solar sails are an existing (albeit nascent) technology; they use the Suns light to propel themselves just as a ship sail uses wind.

The sail devices would be launched up into low Earth orbit, and would then fly themselves to Mars. There they would reflect sunlight onto the night side of the planet. A decade of these launches could, according to Handmers calculations, result in a 1% temperature increase.

You could mass-produce relatively inexpensive solar sails using cell phones supply chain.

It seemed to me that you could mass-produce relatively inexpensive solar sails using cell phones supply chain, he argues. We produce hundreds of millions of them per year.

Why cell phone factories? These solar sails, he writes, would, like phones, need a processor, a camera (for navigation), and the ability to transmit data. In harnessing cell phone electronics, they would resemble Nasas existing PhoneSat project, which takes the form of small satellites that use cell phone technology.

The sails would also need an LCD panel to steer the sail by shining light into it, as well as a solar photovoltaic cell to power it. And, of course, each of these devices would require the sail itself: a thin space blanket that would weigh a kilogram and would, when unfurled, span about the size of two basketball courts.

Building these devices on Earth sidesteps the multiple engineering challenges that would affect manufacturing on Mars. If you can solve the problem on Earth, you should solve the problem on Mars, says Handmer.

Starship would be more than capable of launching essentially arbitrary quantities of these

Aside from taking advantage of the modern worlds efficient cell phone industry, Handmers proposal relies on the tumbling cost of bringing cargo into space. A launch vehicle like Falcon Nine, Falcon Heavy or Starship would be more than capable of launching essentially arbitrary quantities of these (solar sail devices) into higher ends of low Earth orbit, he says.

Would this plan enable us to terraform Mars, to a significant extent, within our lifetimes? Handmer says, The short answer is No. I think if you put enough money into solar sails, you can make it warm and possibly wet.

Quite aside from the feasibility of such a massive project, any terraforming plan opens a host of thorny ethical questions. Who gets to decide whether to do it, or how? Who counts as a stakeholder? What if theres indigenous microbial life that the terraforming activities would disturb or kill? Handmer, however, sees terraforming as a mission whose importance outweighs other considerations.

I think its pure upside to expand the scope of our ambition, of what we are prepared to achieve, and basically leave a more expanded range of human experiences and possibilities for our descendants, rather than for example, saying, Well, we could, but we wont, so f it, and then, in three generations or so, losing that ability, or forgetting how to do it. That would be pretty dismal, I think.

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Experience the future of sci-fi strategy gaming: ‘Space Gears … – msnNOW

Posted: at 7:51 pm

Provided by We Got This Covered

This article is sponsored by 2bytes.

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA May 31, 2023 Pentapeak Studios, the game development subsidiary of 2bytes Corp., is excited to unveil its upcoming title, Space Gears, a next-generation sci-fi strategy game. Space Gears is the collective effort of South Korean developers with a passion for sci-fi and RTS games. The game is set to shake up the gaming world with its unique blend of RTS and MOBA elements, intense battles, and intricate mech designs. The developers aim to bring a fresh take to strategy gaming that isnt confined by the traditional RTS label.

Space Gears is set in the 22nd century, where players are tasked with terraforming Mars amidst a backdrop of competition for Martian resources. Players take on the role of pioneers and commanders, mining resources, conducting research, and assembling powerful mechs. With the unique blend of RTS and MOBA gameplay elements, the game creates a dynamic battlefield that promises to offer players an engaging and immersive experience.

The gameplay involves intense, action-packed battles that echo the endgame fights of classic RTS titles. Each mech in the game boasts intricate and visually stunning designs, created by a dedicated team of artists from across the globe. Players will also get to engage in terraforming missions, real-time battles, and build their Mars bases, adding further depth to the gameplay.

Executive producer of Pentapeak Studios In-won Lee recently shared his excitement about the project, saying, After a year of development, we are thrilled to bring Space Gears to strategy fans around the world.

To ensure the highest quality gameplay, Space Gears is developed with the Unity 2022 (HDRP) engine, producing stunning graphics for the Martian environment, bases, and mechs. It is not only a game for fans of RTS, strategy, battle, and sci-fi games, but its also being developed as an original IP. With the global playtest and Steam Next Fest, the team at 2bytes Corp. aims to build awareness and attract players to Wishlist and play Space Gears during these events.

Space Gears is a reflection of Pentapeak Studios mission to develop and present games of complex genres that havent been attempted in Korea in recent years, targeting the global game market. The game is slated to hold a global playtest from June 2 to June 5, 2023, participate in Steam Next Fest in June, and offer Early Access on Steam during Q3 this year.

For more information about Space Gears and its upcoming events, check it out on Steam, Twitter, YouTube, Discord, and the official website.

2bytes is a global game services startup founded by seasoned industry professionals with a track record of launching successful PC and mobile games worldwide. The company has become a reliable partner for game developers and publishers, offering a range of services such as localization, QA, game operations, community management, and voiceovers.

Pentapeak Studios was founded by 2bytes to develop new in-house titles. The studio is manned by industry veterans of South Korean game developers including Nexon, NCsoft, and WeMade, among others. Pentapeak Studios currently has two titles under development: Stellar Tales, a meta, match-3 puzzle game, and Space Gears.

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Terraforming Mars – Apps on Google Play

Posted: March 31, 2023 at 2:11 am

Touch Arcade : 5/5 Pocket Tactics : 4/5


Lead a corporation and launch ambitious Mars terraforming projects. Direct massive construction works, manage and use your resources, create cities, forests and oceans, and set rewards and objectives to win the game!

In Terraforming Mars, place your cards on the board and use them wisely:- Achieve a high Terraform Rating, by increasing the temperature and oxygen level or creating oceans... Make the planet habitable for future generations!- Get Victory Points by building cities, infrastructure and other ambitious projects.- But watch out! Rival corporations will try to slow you down... That's a nice forest you planted there... It'd be a shame if an asteroid crashed right on it.

Will you be able to lead humanity into a new era? The terraforming race begins now!

Features:The official adaptation of Jacob Fryxelius' famous board game.Mars for all: Play against the computer or challenge up to 5 players in multiplayer mode, online or offline.Game variant: Try the rules of the Corporate Era for a more complex game. With the addition of new cards, including 2 new corporations, focused on economy and technology, you will discover one of the most strategic variants of the game!Solo Challenge: Finish terraforming Mars before the end of generation 14. Try new rules and features in the most challenging Solo mode on the (red) planet.Speed up your game with the Prelude expansion, adding a new phase at the start of the game to specialize your corporation and boost your early game. It also introduces new cards, corporation and a new solo challenge.Explore a new side of Mars with the new Hellas & Elysium expansion maps, each bringing a new set of twists, awards and milestones. From the Southern Wilds to the Other Face of Mars, the taming of the Red Planet continues.

Languages available: French, English, German, Spanish, Italian, Swedish

Find all the latest news for Terraforming Mars on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Youtube!


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The Definitive Guide To Terraforming – Universe Today

Posted: January 31, 2023 at 5:23 pm

Terraforming. Chances are youve heard that word uttered before, most likely in the context of some science fiction story. However, in recent years, thanks to renewed interest in space exploration, this word is being used in an increasingly serious manner. And rather than being talked about like a far-off prospect, the issue of terraforming other worlds is being addressed as a near-future possibility.

In recent years, weve heard luminaries like Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking claiming that humanity needs a backup location to ensure our survival, private ventures like Mars One enlisting thousands of volunteers to colonize the Red Planet, and space agencies like NASA, the ESA, and China discussing the prospect of long-term habitability on Mars or the Moon. From all indications, it looks like terraforming is yet another science-fiction concept that is migrating into the realm of science fact.

But just what does terraforming entail? Where exactly could we go about using this process? What kind of technology would we need? Does such technology already exist, or do we have to wait? How much in the way of resources would it take? And above all, what are the odds of it succeeding? Answering any or all of these questions requires a bit of digging. Not only is terraforming a time-honored concept, but as it turns out, humanity already has quite a bit of experience in this area!

To break it down, terraforming is the process whereby a hostile environment (i.e., a planet that is too cold, too hot, and/or has an unbreathable atmosphere) is altered to make it suitable for human life. This could involve modifying the temperature, atmosphere, surface topography, ecology, or all of the above to make a planet or moon more Earth-like.

The term was coined by Jack Williamson, an American science fiction writer who has also been called the Dean of science fiction (after the death of Robert Heinlein in 1988). The term appeared as part of a science-fiction story, titled Collision Orbit, published in the 1942 edition of the magazine Astounding Science Fiction. This is the first known mention of the concept, though there are examples of it appearing in fiction beforehand.

Science fiction is filled with examples of altering planetary environments to be more suitable to human life, many of which predate scientific studies by many decades. For example, in H.G. Wells War of the Worlds, he mentions at one point how the Martian invaders begin transforming Earths ecology for the sake of long-term habitation.

In Olaf Stapletons Last And First Men (1930), two chapters are dedicated to describing how humanitys descendants terraform Venus after Earth becomes uninhabitable. In the process, they commit genocide against the native aquatic life. By the 1950s and 60s, due to the beginning of the Space Age, terraforming appeared in works of science fiction with increasing frequency.

One such example is Farmer in the Sky (1950) by Robert A. Heinlein. In this novel, Heinlein offers a vision of Jupiters moon Ganymede that is being transformed into an agricultural settlement. This was a very significant work, in that it was the first where the concept of terraforming is presented as a serious and scientific matter, rather than the subject of mere fantasy.

In 1951, Arthur C. Clarke wrote the first novel in which the terraforming of Mars was presented in fiction. Titled The Sands of Mars, the story involves Martian settlers heating up the planet by converting Mars moon Phobos into a second sun and growing plants that break down the Martian sands in order to release oxygen. In his seminal book 2001: A Space Odyssey and its sequel, 2010: Odyssey Two Clarke presents a race of ancient beings (Firstborn) turning Jupiter into a second sun so that Europa will become a life-bearing planet.

Poul Anderson also wrote extensively about terraforming in the 1950s. In his 1954 novel, The Big Rain, Venus is altered through planetary engineering techniques over a very long period of time. The book was so influential that the term term Big Rain has since come to be synonymous with the terraforming of Venus. This was followed in 1958 by the Snows of Ganymede, where the Jovian moons ecology is made habitable through a similar process.

In Issac Asimovs Robot series, colonization and terraforming are performed by a powerful race of humans known as Spacers, who conduct this process on fifty planets in the known universe. In his Foundation series, humanity has effectively colonized every habitable planet in the galaxy and terraformed them to become part of the Galactic Empire.

In 1984, James Lovelock and Michael Allaby wrote what is considered by many to be one of the most influential books on terraforming. Titled The Greening of Mars, the novel explores the formation and evolution of planets, the origin of life, and Earths biosphere. The terraforming models presented in the book actually foreshadowed future debates regarding the goals of terraforming.

In the 1990s, Kim Stanley Robinson released his famous trilogy that deals with the terraforming of Mars. Known as the Mars Trilogy Red Mars, Green Mars, Blue Mars this series centers on the transformation of Mars over the course of many generations into a thriving human civilization. This was followed up in 2012 with the release of 2312, which deals with the colonization of the Solar System including the terraforming of Venus and other planets.

Countless other examples can be found in popular culture, ranging from television and print to films and video games.

In an article published by the journal Science in 1961, famed astronomer Carl Sagan proposed using planetary engineering techniques to transform Venus. This involved seeding the atmosphere of Venus with algae, which would convert the atmospheres ample supplies of water, nitrogen, and carbon dioxide into organic compounds and reduce Venus runaway greenhouse effect.

In 1973, he published an article in the journal Icarus titled Planetary Engineering on Mars, where he proposed two scenarios for transforming Mars. These included transporting low albedo material and/or planting dark plants on the polar ice caps to ensure it absorbed more heat, melted, and converted the planet to more Earth-like conditions.

In 1976, NASA addressed the issue of planetary engineering officially in a study titled On the Habitability of Mars: An Approach to Planetary Ecosynthesis. The study concluded that photosynthetic organisms, the melting of the polar ice caps, and the introduction of greenhouse gases could all be used to create a warmer, oxygen, and ozone-rich atmosphere. The first conference session on terraforming referred to as Planetary Modeling at the time- was organized that same year.

And then in March of 1979, NASA engineer and author James Oberg organized the First Terraforming Colloquium a special session at the Tenth Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, which is held annually in Houston, Texas. In 1981, Oberg popularized the concepts that were discussed at the colloquium in his book New Earths: Restructuring Earth and Other Planets.

In 1982, Planetologist Christopher McKay wrote Terraforming Mars, a paper for the Journal of the British Interplanetary Society. In it, McKay discussed the prospects of a self-regulating Martian biosphere, which included both the required methods for doing so and the ethics of it. This was the first time that the word terraforming was used in the title of a published article, and would henceforth become the preferred term.

This was followed by James Lovelock and Michael Allabys The Greening of Mars in 1984. This book was one of the first to describe a novel method of warming Mars, where chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) are added to the atmosphere in order to trigger global warming. This book motivated biophysicist Robert Haynes to begin promoting terraforming as part of a larger concept known as Ecopoiesis.

Derived from the Greek words oikos (house) and poiesis (production), this word refers to the origin of an ecosystem. In the context of space exploration, it involves a form of planetary engineering where a sustainable ecosystem is fabricated from an otherwise sterile planet. As described by Haynes, this begins with the seeding of a planet with microbial life, which leads to conditions approaching that of a primordial Earth. This is then followed by the importation of plant life, which accelerates the production of oxygen, and culminates in the introduction of animal life.

In 2009, Kenneth Roy an engineer with the US Department of Energy presented his concept for a Shell World in a paper published with the Journal of British Interplanetary Sciences. Titled Shell Worlds An Approach To Terraforming Moons, Small Planets and Plutoids, his paper explored the possibility of using a large shell to encase an alien world, keeping its atmosphere contained long enough for long-term changes to take root.

There is also the concept where a usable part of a planet is enclosed in a dome in order to transform its environment, which is known as paraterraforming. This concept, originally coined by British mathematician Richard L.S. Talyor in his 1992 publication Paraterraforming The worldhouse concept, could be used to terraform sections of several planets that are otherwise inhospitable, or cannot be altered in whole.

Within the Solar System, several possible locations exist that could be well-suited to terraforming. Consider the fact that besides Earth, Venus and Mars also lie within the Suns Habitable Zone (aka. Goldilocks Zone). However, owing to Venus runaway greenhouse effect, and Mars lack of a magnetosphere, their atmospheres are either too thick and hot or too thin and cold, to sustain life as we know it. However, this could theoretically be altered through the right kind of ecological engineering.

Other potential sites in the Solar System include some of the moons that orbit the gas giants. Several Jovian (i.e. in orbit of Jupiter) and Cronian (in orbit of Saturn) moons have an abundance of water ice, and scientists have speculated that if the surface temperatures were increased, viable atmospheres could be created through electrolysis and the introduction of buffer gases.

There is even speculation that Mercury and the Moon (or at least parts thereof) could be terraformed in order to be suitable for human settlement. In these cases, terraforming would require not only altering the surface but perhaps also adjusting their rotation. In the end, each case presents its own share of advantages, challenges, and likelihoods for success. Lets consider them in order of distance from the Sun.

The terrestrial planets of our Solar System present the best possibilities for terraforming. Not only are they located closer to our Sun, and thus in a better position to absorb its energy, but they are also rich in silicates and minerals which any future colonies will need to grow food and build settlements. And as already mentioned, two of these planets (Venus and Mars) skirt the inner and outer edge of the Suns habitable zone.

Mercury:The vast majority of Mercurys surface is hostile to life, where temperatures gravitate between extremely hot and cold i.e. 700 K (427 C; 800 F) 100 K (-173 C; -280 F). This is due to its proximity to the Sun, the almost total lack of an atmosphere, and its very slow rotation. However, at the poles, temperatures are consistently low -93C (-135F) due to it being permanently shadowed.

The presence of water ice and organic molecules in the northern polar region has also been confirmed thanks to data obtained by the MESSENGER mission. Colonies could therefore be constructed in the regions, and limited terraforming (aka. paraterraforming) could take place. For example, if domes (or a single dome) of sufficient size could be built over the Kandinsky, Prokofiev, Tolkien, and Tryggvadottir craters, the northern region could be altered for human habitation.

Theoretically, this could be done by using mirrors to redirect sunlight into the domes which would gradually raise the temperature. The water ice would then melt, and when combined with organic molecules and finely ground sand, soil could be made. Plants could then be grown to produce oxygen, which combined with nitrogen gas, would produce a breathable atmosphere.

Venus:As Earths Twin, there are many possibilities and advantages to terraforming Venus. The first to propose this was Sagan with his 1961 article in Science. However, subsequent discoveries such as the high concentrations of sulfuric acid in Venus clouds made this idea unfeasible. Even if algae could survive in such an atmosphere, converting the extremely dense clouds of CO into oxygen would result in an over-dense oxygen environment.

In addition, graphite would become a by-product of the chemical reactions, which would likely form into a thick powder on the surface. This would become CO again through combustion, thus restarting the entire greenhouse effect. However, more recent proposals have been made that advocate using carbon sequestration techniques, which are arguably much more practical.

In these scenarios, chemical reactions would be relied on to convert Venus atmosphere to something breathable while also reducing its density. In one scenario, hydrogen and iron aerosol would be introduced to convert the CO in the atmosphere into graphite and water. This water would then fall to the surface, where it will cover roughly 80% of the planet due to Venus having little variation in elevation.

Another scenario calls for the introduction of vast amounts of calcium and magnesium into the atmosphere. This would sequester carbon in the form of calcium and magnesium carbonates. An advantage to this plan is that Venus already has deposits of both minerals in its mantle, which could then be exposed to the atmosphere through drilling. However, most of the minerals would have to come from off-world in order to reduce the temperature and pressure to sustainable levels.

Yet another proposal is to freeze the atmospheric carbon dioxide down to the point of liquefaction where it forms dry ice and letting it accumulate on the surface. Once there, it could be buried and would remain in a solid state due to pressure, and even mined for local and off-world use. And then there is the possibility of bombarding the surface with icy comets (which could be mined from one of Jupiters or Saturns moons) to create a liquid ocean on the surface, which would sequester carbon and aid in any other of the above processes.

Last, there is the scenario in which Venus dense atmosphere could be removed. This could be characterized as the most direct approach to thinning an atmosphere that is far too dense for human occupation. By colliding large comets or asteroids into the surface, some of the dense CO clouds could be blasted into space, thus leaving less atmosphere to be converted.

A slower method could be achieved using mass drivers (aka. electromagnetic catapults) or space elevators, which would gradually scoop up the atmosphere and either lift it into space or fire it away from the surface. And beyond altering or removing the atmosphere, there are also concepts that call for reducing the heat and pressure by either limiting sunlight (i.e. with solar shades) or altering the planets rotational velocity.

The concept of solar shades involves using either a series of small spacecraft or a single large lens to divert sunlight from a planets surface, thus reducing global temperatures. For Venus, which absorbs twice as much sunlight as Earth, solar radiation is believed to have played a major role in the runaway greenhouse effect that has made it what it is today.

Such a shade could be space-based, located in the Sun-Venus L1 Lagrangian Point, where it would not only prevent some sunlight from reaching Venus but also serve to reduce the amount of radiation Venus is exposed to. Alternately, solar shades or reflectors could be placed in the atmosphere or on the surface. This could consist of large reflective balloons, sheets of carbon nanotubes or graphene, or low-albedo material.

Placing shades or reflectors in the atmosphere offers two advantages: for one, atmospheric reflectors could be built in-situ, using locally-sourced carbon. Second, Venus atmosphere is dense enough that such structures could easily float atop the clouds. However, the amount of material would have to be large and would have to remain in place long after the atmosphere had been modified. Also, since Venus already has highly reflective clouds, any approach would have to significantly surpass its current albedo (0.65) to make a difference.

Also, the idea of speeding up Venus rotation has been floating around as a possible means of terraforming. If Venus could be spun-up to the point where its diurnal (day-night) cycle is similar to Earths, the planet might just begin to generate a stronger magnetic field. This would have the effect of reducing the amount of solar wind (and hence radiation) from reaching the surface, thus making it safer for terrestrial organisms.

The Moon:As Earths closest celestial body, colonizing the Moon would be comparatively easy compared to other bodies. But when it comes to terraforming the Moon, the possibilities and challenges closely resemble those of Mercury. For starters, the Moon has an atmosphere that is so thin that it can only be referred to as an exosphere. Whats more, the volatile elements that are necessary for life are in short supply (i.e. hydrogen, nitrogen, and carbon).

These problems could be addressed by capturing comets that contain water ices and volatiles and crashing them into the surface. The comets would sublimate, dispersing these gases and water vapor to create an atmosphere. These impacts would also liberate water that is contained in the lunar regolith, which could eventually accumulate on the surface to form natural bodies of water.

The transfer of momentum from these comets would also get the Moon rotating more rapidly, speeding up its rotation so that it would no longer be tidally locked. A Moon that was sped up to rotate once on its axis every 24 hours would have a steady diurnal cycle, which would make colonization and adapting to life on the Moon easier.

There is also the possibility of paraterraforming parts of the Moon in a way that would be similar to terraforming Mercurys polar region. In the Moons case, this would take place in the Shackleton Crater, where scientists have already found evidence of water ice. Using solar mirrors and a dome, this crater could be turned into a micro-climate where plants could be grown and a breathable atmosphere created.

Mars:When it comes to terraforming, Mars is the most popular destination. There are several reasons for this, ranging from its proximity to Earth, its similarities to Earth, and the fact that it once had an environment that was very similar to Earths which included a thicker atmosphere and the presence of warm, flowing water on the surface. Lastly, it is currently believed that Mars may have additional sources of water beneath its surface.

In brief, Mars has a diurnal and seasonal cycle that are very close to what we experience here on Earth. In the former case, a single day on Mars lasts 24 hours and 40 minutes. In the latter case, and owing to Mars similarly-tilted axis (25.19 compared to Earths 23), Mars experiences seasonal changes that are very similar to Earths. Though a single season on Mars lasts roughly twice as long, the temperature variation that results is very similar 178 C (320F) compared to Earths 160 C (278F).

Beyond these, Mars would need to undergo vast transformations in order for human beings to live on its surface. The atmosphere would need to be thickened drastically, and its composition would need to be changed. Currently, Mars atmosphere is composed of 96% carbon dioxide, 1.93% argon, and 1.89% nitrogen, and the air pressure is equivalent to only 1% of Earths at sea level.

Above all, Mars lacks a magnetosphere, which means that its surface receives significantly more radiation than we are used to here on Earth. In addition, it is believed that Mars once had a magnetosphere and that the disappearance of this magnetic field led to the stripping of Mars atmosphere by solar wind. This in turn is what led Mars to become the cold, desiccated place it is today.

Ultimately, this means that in order for the planet to become habitable by human standards, its atmosphere would need to be significantly thickened and the planet significantly warmed. The composition of the atmosphere would need to change as well, from the current CO-heavy mix to a nitrogen-oxygen balance of about 70/30. And above all, the atmosphere would need to be replenished every so often to compensate for the loss.

Luckily, the first three requirements are largely complementary, and present a wide range of possible solutions. For starters, Mars atmosphere could be thickened and the planet warmed by bombarding its polar regions with meteors. These would cause the poles to melt, releasing their deposits of frozen carbon dioxide and water into the atmosphere and triggering a greenhouse effect.

The introduction of volatile elements, such as ammonia and methane, would also help to thicken the atmosphere and trigger warming. Both could be mined from the icy moons of the outer Solar System, particularly from the moons of Ganymede, Callisto, and Titan. These could also be delivered to the surface via meteoric impacts.

After impacting on the surface, the ammonia ice would sublimate and break down into hydrogen and nitrogen the hydrogen interacting with the CO to form water and graphite, while the nitrogen acts as a buffer gas. The methane, meanwhile, would act as a greenhouse gas that would further enhance global warming. In addition, the impacts would throw tons of dust into the air, further fueling the warming trend.

In time, Mars ample supplies of water ice which can be found not only in the poles but in vast subsurface deposits of permafrost would all sublimate to form warm, flowing water. And with significantly increased air pressure and a warmer atmosphere, humans might be able to venture out onto the surface without the need for pressure suits.

However, the atmosphere will still need to be converted into something breathable. This will be far more time-consuming, as the process of converting the atmospheric CO into oxygen gas will likely take centuries. In any case, several possibilities have been suggested, which include converting the atmosphere through photosynthesis either with cyanobacteria or Earth plants and lichens.

Other suggestions include building orbital mirrors, which would be placed near the poles and direct sunlight onto the surface to trigger a cycle of warming by causing the polar ice caps to melt and release their CO gas. Using dark dust from Phobos and Deimos to reduce the surfaces albedo, thus allowing it to absorb more sunlight, has also been suggested.

In short, there are plenty of options for terraforming Mars. And many of them, if not being readily available, are at least on the table

Beyond the Inner Solar System, there are several sites that would make for good terraforming targets as well. Particularly around Jupiter and Saturn, there are several sizable moons some of which are larger than Mercury that have an abundance of water in the form of ice (and in some cases, maybe even interior oceans).

At the same time, many of these same moons contain other necessary ingredients for functioning ecosystems, such as frozen volatiles like ammonia and methane. Because of this, and as part of our ongoing desire to explore farther out into our Solar System, many proposals have been made to seed these moons with bases and research stations. Some plans even include possible terraforming to make them suitable for long-term habitation.

The Jovian Moons:Jupiters largest moons, Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto known as the Galileans, after their founder (Galileo Galilei) have long been the subject of scientific interest. For decades, scientists have speculated about the possible existence of a subsurface ocean on Europa, based on theories about the planets tidal heating (a consequence of its eccentric orbit and orbital resonance with the other moons).

Analysis of images provided by the Voyager 1 and Galileo probes added weight to this theory, showing regions where it appeared that the subsurface ocean had melted through. Whats more, the presence of this warm water ocean has also led to speculation about the existence of life beneath Europas icy crust possibly around hydrothermal vents at the core-mantle boundary.

Because of this potential for habitability, Europa has also been suggested as a possible site for terraforming. As the argument goes, if the surface temperature could be increased, and the surface ice melted, the entire planet could become an ocean world. Sublimation of the ice, which would release water vapor and gaseous volatiles, would then be subject to electrolysis (which already produces a thin oxygen atmosphere).

However, Europa has no magnetosphere of its own and lies within Jupiters powerful magnetic field. As a result, its surface is exposed to significant amounts of radiation 540 rem of radiation per day compared to about 0.0030 rem per year here on Earth and any atmosphere we create would begin to be stripped away by Jupiter. Ergo, radiation shielding would need to be put in place that could deflect the majority of this radiation.

And then there is Ganymede, the third most-distant of Jupiters Galilean moons. Much like Europa, it is a potential site of terraforming and presents numerous advantages. For one, it is the largest moon in our Solar System, larger than our own moon and even larger than the planet Mercury. In addition, it also has ample supplies of water ice, is believed to have an interior ocean, and even has its own magnetosphere.

Hence, if the surface temperature were increased and the ice sublimated, Ganymedes atmosphere could be thickened. Like Europa, it would also become an ocean planet, and its own magnetosphere would allow for it to hold on to more of its atmosphere. However, Jupiters magnetic field still exerts a powerful influence over the planet, which means radiation shields would still be needed.

Lastly, there is Callisto, the fourth-most distant of the Galileans. Here too, abundant supplies of water ice, volatiles, and the possibility of an interior ocean all point towards the potential for habitability. But in Callistos case, there is the added bonus of it being beyond Jupiters magnetic field, which reduces the threat of radiation and atmospheric loss.

The process would begin with surface heating, which would sublimate the water ice and Callistos supplies of frozen ammonia. From these oceans, electrolysis would lead to the formation of an oxygen-rich atmosphere, and the ammonia could be converted into nitrogen to act as a buffer gas. However, since the majority of Callisto is ice, it would mean that the planet would lose considerable mass and have no continents. Again, an ocean planet would result, necessitating floating cities or massive colony ships.

The Cronians Moons:Much like the Jovian Moons, Saturns Moons (also known as the Cronian) present opportunities for terraforming. Again, this is due to the presence of water ice, interior oceans, and volatile elements. Titan, Saturns largest moon, also has an abundance of methane that comes in liquid form (the methane lakes around its northern polar region) and in gaseous form in its atmosphere. Large caches of ammonia are also believed to exist beneath the surface ice.

Titan is also the only natural satellite to have a dense atmosphere (one and half times the pressure of Earths) and the only planet outside of Earth where the atmosphere is nitrogen-rich. Such a thick atmosphere would mean that it would be far easier to equalize pressure for habitats on the planet. Whats more, scientists believe this atmosphere is a prebiotic environment rich in organic chemistry i.e. similar to Earths early atmosphere (only much colder).

As such, converting it to something Earth-like would be feasible. First, the surface temperature would need to be increased. Since Titan is very distant from the Sun and already has an abundance of greenhouse gases, this could only be accomplished through orbital mirrors. This would sublimate the surface ice, releasing ammonia beneath, which would lead to more heating.

The next step would involve converting the atmosphere to something breathable. As already noted, Titans atmosphere is nitrogen-rich, which would remove the need for introducing a buffer gas. And with the availability of water, oxygen could be introduced by generating it through electrolysis. At the same time, the methane and other hydrocarbons would have to be sequestered, in order to prevent an explosive mixture with the oxygen.

But given the thickness and multi-layered nature of Titans ice, which is estimated to account for half of its mass, the moon would be very much an ocean planet- i.e. with no continents or landmasses to build on. So once again, any habitats would have to take the form of either floating platforms or large ships.

Enceladus is another possibility, thanks to the recent discovery of a subsurface ocean. Analysis by the Cassini space probe of the water plumes erupting from its southern polar region also indicated the presence of organic molecules. As such, terraforming it would be similar to terraforming Jupiters moon of Europa, and would yield a similar ocean moon.

Again, this would likely have to involve orbital mirrors, given Enceladus distance from our Sun. Once the ice began to sublimate, electrolysis would generate oxygen gas. The presence of ammonia in the subsurface ocean would also be released, helping to raise the temperature and serving as a source of nitrogen gas, with which to buffer the atmosphere.

Exoplanets:In addition to the Solar System, extra-solar planets (aka. exoplanets) are also potential sites for terraforming. Of the 1,941 confirmed exoplanets discovered so far, these planets are those that have been designated Earth-like. In other words, they are terrestrial planets that have atmospheres and, like Earth, occupy the region around a star where the average surface temperature allows for liquid water (aka. habitable zone).

The first planet confirmed by Kepler to have an average orbital distance that placed it within its stars habitable zone was Kepler-22b. This planet is located about 600 light-years from Earth in the constellation of Cygnus, was first observed on May 12th, 2009, and then confirmed on Dec 5th, 2011. Based on all the data obtained, scientists believe that this world is roughly 2.4 times the radius of Earth, and is likely covered in oceans or has a liquid or gaseous outer shell.

In addition, there are star systems with multiple Earth-like planets occupying their habitable zones. Gliese 581 is a good example, a red dwarf star that is located 20.22 light-years away from Earth in the Libra constellation. Here, three confirmed and two possible planets exist, two of which are believed to orbit within the stars habitable zone. These include the confirmed planet Gliese 581 d and the hypothetical Gliese 581 g.

Tau Ceti is another example. This G-class star, which is located roughly 12 light-years from Earth in the constellation Cetus, has five possible planets orbiting it. Two of these are Super-Earths that are believed to orbit the stars habitable zone Tau Ceti e and Tau Ceti f. However, Tau Ceti e is believed to be too close for anything other than Venus-like conditions to exist on its surface.

In all cases, terraforming the atmospheres of these planets would most likely involve the same techniques used to terraform Venus and Mars, though to varying degrees. For those located on the outer edge of their habitable zones, terraforming could be accomplished by introducing greenhouse gases or covering the surface with low albedo material to trigger global warming. On the other end, solar shades and carbon sequestering techniques could reduce temperatures to the point where the planet is considered hospitable.

When addressing the issue of terraforming, there is the inevitable question why should we? Given the expenditure in resources, the time involved, and other challenges that naturally arise (see below), what reasons are there to engage in terraforming? As already mentioned, there are the reasons cited by Musk, about the need to have a backup location to prevent any particular cataclysm from claiming all of humanity.

Putting aside for the moment the prospect of a nuclear holocaust, there is also the likelihood that life will become untenable on certain parts of our planet in the coming century. As the NOAA reported in March of 2015, carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere have now surpassed 400 ppm, a level not seen since the Pliocene Era when global temperatures and sea levels were significantly higher.

And as a series of scenarios computed by NASA show, this trend is likely to continue until 2100, and with serious consequences. In one scenario, carbon dioxide emissions will level off at about 550 ppm toward the end of the century, resulting in an average temperature increase of 2.5 C (4.5 F). In the second scenario, carbon dioxide emissions rise to about 800 ppm, resulting in an average increase of about 4.5 C (8 F). Whereas the increases predicted in the first scenario are sustainable, in the latter scenario, life will become untenable on many parts of the planet.

As a result of this, creating a long-term home for humanity on Mars, the Moon, Venus, or elsewhere in the Solar System may be necessary. In addition to offering us other locations from which to extract resources, cultivate food, and as a possible outlet for population pressures, having colonies on other worlds could mean the difference between long-term survival and extinction.

There is also the argument that humanity is already well-versed in altering planetary environments. For centuries, humanitys reliance on industrial machinery, coal, and fossil fuels has had a measurable effect on Earths environment. And whereas the Greenhouse Effect that we have triggered here was not deliberate, our experience and knowledge in creating it here on Earth could be put to good use on planets where surface temperatures need to be raised artificially.

In addition, it has also been argued that working with environments where there is a runaway Greenhouse Effect i.e. Venus could yield valuable knowledge that could in turn be used here on Earth. Whether it is the use of extreme bacteria, introducing new gases, or mineral elements to sequester carbon, testing these methods out on Venus could help us to combat Climate Change here at home.

It has also been argued that Mars similarities to Earth are a good reason to terraform it. Essentially, Mars once resembled Earth, until its atmosphere was stripped away, causing it to lose virtually all the liquid water on its surface. Ergo, terraforming it would be tantamount to returning it to its once-warm and watery glory. The same argument could be made of Venus, where efforts to alter it would restore it to what it was before a runaway Greenhouse Effect turned it into the harsh, extremely hot world it is today.

Last, but not least, there is the argument that colonizing the Solar System could usher in an age of post-scarcity. If humanity were to build outposts and based on other worlds, mine the asteroid belt, and harvest the resources of the Outer Solar System, we would effectively have enough minerals, gases, energy, and water resources to last us indefinitely. It could also help trigger a massive acceleration in human development, defined by leaps and bounds in technological and social progress.

When it comes right down to it, all of the scenarios listed above suffer from one or more of the following problems:

Case in point, all of the potential ideas for terraforming Venus and Mars involve infrastructure that does not yet exist and would be very expensive to create. For instance, the orbital shade concept that would cool Venus calls for a structure that would need to be four times the diameter of Venus itself (if it were positioned at L1). It would therefore require megatons of material, all of which would have to be assembled on site.

In contrast, increasing the speed of Venuss rotation would require energy many orders of magnitude greater than the construction of orbiting solar mirrors. As with removing Venus atmosphere, the process would also require a significant number of impactors that would have to be harnessed from the outer solar System mainly from the Kuiper Belt.

In order to do this, a large fleet of spaceships would be needed to haul them, and they would need to be equipped with advanced drive systems that could make the trip in a reasonable amount of time. Currently, no such drive systems exist, and conventional methods ranging from ion engines to chemical propellants are neither fast or economical enough.

To illustrate, NASAs New Horizons mission took more than 11 years to get make its historic rendezvous with Pluto in the Kuiper Belt, using conventional rockets and the gravity-assist method. Meanwhile, the Dawn mission, which relied on ionic propulsion, took almost four years to reach Vesta in the Asteroid Belt. Neither method is practical for making repeated trips to the Kuiper Belt and hauling back icy comets and asteroids, and humanity has nowhere near the number of ships we would need to do this.

The Moons proximity makes it an attractive option for terraforming. But again, the resources needed which would likely include several hundred comets would again need to be imported from the outer Solar System. And while Mercurys resources could be harvested in-situ or brought from Earth to paraterraform its northern polar region, the concept still calls for a large fleet of ships and robot builders which do not yet exist.

The outer Solar System presents a similar problem. In order to begin terraforming these moons, we would need infrastructure between here and there, which would mean bases on the Moon, Mars, and within the Asteroid Belt. Here, ships could refuel as they transport materials to the Jovian sand Cronian systems, and resources could be harvested from all three of these locations as well as within the systems themselves.

But of course, it would take many, many generations (or even centuries) to build all of that, and at considerable cost. Ergo, any attempts at terraforming the outer Solar System would have to wait until humanity had effectively colonized the inner Solar System. And terraforming the Inner Solar System will not be possible until humanity has plenty of space hauler on hand, not to mention fast ones!

The necessity for radiation shields also presents a problem. The size and cost of manufacturing shields that could deflect Jupiters magnetic field would be astronomical. And while the resources could be harvested from the nearby Asteroid Belt, transporting and assembling them in space around the Jovian Moons would again require many ships and robotic workers. And again, there would have to be extensive infrastructure between Earth and the Jovian system before any of this could proceed.

As for item three, there are plenty of problems that could result from terraforming. For instance, transforming Jupiters and Saturns moons into ocean worlds could be pointless, as the volume of liquid water would constitute a major portion of the moons overall radius. Combined with their low surface gravities, high orbital velocities, and the tidal effects of their parent planets, this could lead to severely high waves on their surfaces. In fact, these moons could become totally unstable as a result of being altered.

There are also several questions about the ethics of terraforming. Basically, altering other planets in order to make them more suitable to human needs raises the natural question of what would happen to any lifeforms already living there. If in fact Mars and other Solar System bodies have indigenous microbial (or more complex) life, which many scientists suspect, then altering their ecology could impact or even wipe out these lifeforms. In short, future colonists and terrestrial engineers would effectively be committing genocide.

Another argument that is often made against terraforming is that any effort to alter the ecology of another planet does not present any immediate benefits. Given the cost involved, what possible incentive is there to commit so much time, resources, and energy to such a project? While the idea of utilizing the resources of the Solar System makes sense in the long run, the short-term gains are far less tangible.

Basically, harvested resources from other worlds is not economically viable when you can extract them here at home for much less. And real-estate is only the basis of an economic model if the real estate itself is desirable. While MarsOne has certainly shown us that there are plenty of human beings who are willing to make a one-way trip to Mars, turning the Red Planet, Venus, or elsewhere into a new frontier where people can buy up land will first require some serious advances in technology, some serious terraforming, or both.

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Yet, Mars might not be the best candidate for terraforming. A few scientists say Venus could be easier. For one thing, Venus and Earth have a lot in common. Each has a thick atmosphere, and both are nearly the same mass and size. Unlike Mars, the atmosphere on Venus would give scientists something to work with.

Venus boasts an atmosphere chiefly composed of carbon-dioxide. It covers the planet like an electric blanket, heating the surface to an average temperature of 872 F (467 C). Venus is so hot that most life, including human life, cannot possibly exist. Some organisms, however, do thrive in such harsh environments. They're called hyperthermophiles, and they can survive in temperatures above 176 F (80 C) [source: Griffith].

Some scientists believe if we seed Venus with these tiny, heat-loving creatures, at least the kind that chow down on sulfur, which is also present in the Venetian atmosphere, they would flourish on the inhospitable planet, converting all that carbon dioxide into oxygen, which other life-forms then can use to grow and thrive [source: Griffith].

Another proposal involves shading Venus with giant sails to cool the atmosphere until all the carbon dioxide falls to the surface. And still others say building giant floating cities to suck the carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere so its molecules could be split into oxygen and carbon could work. The more cities there are, the theory goes, the more their shadows blanket the surface. As a result, the atmosphere cools [source: Cain].

Of course, there is no water on Venus, and water is essential for life. So what's a mad scientist to do? Slam a few comets into the planet, of course. Why should we do that? There's a dearth of hydrogen on Venus because it all escaped into space when the planet formed. Consequently, there's no water. But comets are dirty snowballs that contain ice. If we were to nudge a few comets toward Venus so bits of ice broke off and slammed onto the surface, water molecules would eventually form on the planet. The comets also would bring carbon dioxide, water, methane and ammonia [sources: Benford].

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