Originally posted by TheBSG:
I think there will probably be better candidates than mars, and that it’s more likely to be a resource stop with small colonies in low-radiation zones. We can use it to grow lots of things and to mine asteroids and its moons. We can use it to launch missions to far off places that have magnetospheres.
I find myself very much in agreement with this. Without a magnetosphere, it doesn’t matter how much atmosphere we give Mars, the solar wind will blow it all away again. It’s how it lost its original atmosphere. The earth’s magnetosphere is generated in a liquid core bigger than the moon, and short of crashing a moon-sized object into Mars, I don’t believe it is possible to make Mars’ core active enough to generate a magnetic field sufficiently powerful to be useful. Such a planetary collision would make the planet untouchable for several million years, and might affect its orbit.
But by utilising sealed domes, it may be possible to create a colony which could sustain enough people to operate as a staging point for asteroid mining and other activities. The lower gravity and greater proximity to the asteroid belt would make it more attractive than earth as a launch site for miners and explorers. As far as I understand it, any attempt to create an atmosphere would be doomed to ultimate failure, but could provide useful experience if we ever find a way to reach the stars.