back to article Which distant Mars-alikes could we live on? Ask these Red Planet data-sifters

Scientists are applying knowledge gained from studying Mars to calculate how the atmospheres of theoretical exoplanets would behave. David Brain, professor at the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics at the University of Colorado Boulder and co-investigator for NASA's MAVEN (Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN) …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You're doing it wrong

    Mars? And Mars-alikes? I don't want to travel light years across space to live on a cold desert planet. I want an exotic, beautiful nirvana, at one with itself, with sexy, lithe aliens living in bountiful harmony with the whole ecosystem, sustainably harvesting the minimum that they need.

    I will try to avoid kicking off a small war as a result of my breeding with the best looking alien.

    1. Rich 11

      Re: You're doing it wrong

      I will try to avoid kicking off a small war as a result of my breeding with the best looking alien.

      You promised that last time, Ripley.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: You're doing it wrong

      careful, you might be forced to breed with the best looking women, then the large women, then the petite women.

      You'll end up finding the spirit willing, but the flesh will be weak... and bruised.

      1. jmch Silver badge

        Re: You're doing it wrong

        "You'll end up finding the spirit willing, but the flesh will be weak... and bruised."

        Or even... death by snoo-snoo

    3. jmch Silver badge

      Re: You're doing it wrong

      " I want an exotic, beautiful nirvana, at one with itself, with sexy, lithe aliens living in bountiful harmony with the whole ecosystem..."

      ...with blue aliens and flying rocks?

  2. Alistair Silver badge


    I'll concur for the most part, but you've missed out on the self BBQing bovines.....

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Self BBQing Bovines...

      Martian Rump Steak......

      Hmm, lovely, my mouth is watering just thinking about it. Add some nice hand-cut martian chips and some martian veg and sauce.....

      1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

        Re: Self BBQing Bovines...

        Aye but remember: Beyond Lies the Wub.

  3. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Try it on Earth, with IT Operating Systems in Command and Control of Creative Communications

    Could Humanity handle an Alien Space .... with Live Operational Virtual Environments?

    Or would that be a Place where a Chosen Few would/could/will/can present Augmented Virtually Realised Landscapes for Multiple Media Productions which Lead Mass Populations and their Country Administrations/National Executives?

    And ideally for Inhabitation of Spaces and Places they never thought existed and remotely possible before.

    Real Life in a Great Advanced IntelAIgent MMORPGame.

    Wanna set up a SMARTR Beta for Transitions ....... with HyperRadioProACTive Mentoring and Monitoring of NEUKlearer Progress and Heavenly Direction/Stellar Performance?

    Now that would be an enormously engaging present worthy of Xmas, methinks. :-)

  4. Dr. Ellen

    What about the type K stars?

    We live on a planet circling a type G main-sequence yellow dwarf star. In our region of space, about 7.5% of the stars are type G. Everybody talks about the type M red dwarfs. That's reasonable: there are a lot of them, about 76% of the stars in our neighborhood. But they don't give out much light. For a planet to be in the Goldilocks Zone, it has to be quite close to the star. It's probably tide-locked. Worse, red dwarfs are given to tantrums, with flares and radiation. I wouldn't want to live next to one.

    Why is nobody talking about the type K orange dwarfs? They make up about 12% of the stars in our neighborhood. They're heavier than the red dwarfs, and give off more light -- and they're not nearly as excitable as the red dwarfs. There'd be more mass in the system, the planets would probably be larger, and they'd have more of a chance to keep their atmosphere. Why, they might not be tide-locked, even!

    I certainly hope it's because everybody is so busy talking about the planets they don't bother going into fine detail about the stars.

  5. Pete 2 Silver badge

    How many are habitable? ALL OF THEM!

    By the time we have developed the technology to travel to those planets, parallel developments in all other spheres of research and development will have provided the techniques for adapting them to our needs.

    And since (the real) Mars is far closer than any of those other worlds, the teraforming or genetic modification programmes will have had a long, long, time to get their tech. working - before the need to use it elsewhere in the galaxy becomes a requirement.

    1. jmch Silver badge

      Re: How many are habitable? ALL OF THEM!

      "How many are habitable?"

      Habitable for whom?


      Also, are Mars-like planets that much more common than Earth-like planets? It makes sesnse to go for the low-hanging fruit first and aim for planets that need least terraforming first.

  6. Tom Paine

    Which answer d'you dislike most?

    (1) On any of them, given appropriately specified, designed, built and used life support systems;

    (2) None at all, because they're impossible for humans to reach.

  7. W Donelson

    Duhhhhhhh... Cosmic radiation, idiots.

    We have NO protection from cosmic radiation, and are unlikely to have it anytime soon. In fact, recent studies show cosmic rays are TWICE as damaging as previously thought.

    Go to Mars, get cancer.

    Only low-earth orbit and the moon offer manned exploration opportunities.

    1. Long John Brass

      Re: Duhhhhhhh... Cosmic radiation, idiots.

      My cyborg body sneers at your cancer :)

    2. DJO Silver badge

      Re: Duhhhhhhh... Cosmic radiation, idiots.

      There are deep canyons on Mars, a colony sited at the bottom of a canyon would be sheltered from 90% of incident cosmic rays and eventually could be partially roofed over to provide an "open" environment for the colonists with Earth levels of protection from incoming radiation.

      1. John Smith 19 Gold badge

        "a colony sited at the bottom of a canyon would be sheltered from 90% "

        Not unless it was a) in the walls or b) under 3m of regolith.

        It turns out that what really works great as a radiation shield is the 46Km column of air sitting above every square metre of Earth.

        1. DJO Silver badge

          Re: "a colony sited at the bottom of a canyon would be sheltered from 90% "

          Yes it would, only rays perpendicular to the ground would reach the bottom, the rest would be absorbed by the canyon walls.

  8. This post has been deleted by its author

  9. Faux Science Slayer

    Earth has lost 75% of its atmosphere since the Jurassic period....

    "Jurassic Pterodactyl had eleven meter wingspan, today's largest is Peruvian Condor wingspan of five meters. Compare the Meganeura dragonfly with half meter wingspan with today's Atlas moth quarter meter wing span."


    Lift is a function of wingspan, a function of wing area. Aeronautical engineering proves that without quantum leap in muscle strength and bone lightness, these Jurassic flying creatures had FOUR times the current air density as today's atmosphere. All lost to solar wind, ionization and splash from meteor impacts. If Planet X exists, then more loss by gravity. The atmosphere is being replenished by fission byproducts, see

    "Earth's Missing Geothermal Flux" at FauxScienceSlayer website

    1. DJO Silver badge

      Re: Earth has lost 75% of its atmosphere since the Jurassic period....

      What's different is the Oxygen concentration which historically was higher, this allowed giant insects to flourish.

      Insect respire through a system of spiracles which are small open tubes permeating the body of an insect.

      For a giant insect to exist at the current Oxygen levels it would need so many spiracles the body would collapse under its own weight.

      1. Alistair Silver badge

        Re: Earth has lost 75% of its atmosphere since the Jurassic period....


        Please ignore the Fauxhoods. It comes here every once in a while in an attempt to collect ad revenue, and perpetuate it's religion.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Mars' lost magnetosphere

    "Mars' atmosphere has been scraped away over four billion years since it lost its protective magnetic field (magnetosphere), which was likely caused by meteorite strikes." (my emphasis)

    WTF! - where did this idea come from?

    Meteorites are small pieces of surviving debris that result from a planetary impact by a meteoroid, asteroid or comet - they are formed by the impact and thus cannot be the striking impactor itself.

    Moreover, there's nothing to suggest that Mars has experienced, impact-wise, anything different to any of the other major bodies in the solar system, neither during the Late Heavy Bombardment nor after it - any effects upon Mars, by meteoroid, asteroid or cometary impacts, would be the same as those experienced by the other bodies in the Solar System, including the Earth, which has not lost its magnetosphere as a result.

    In any case, a planet's magnetosphere is generated at least several hundreds, if not thousands, of km below the planet's surface and there's no known mechanism for an impact, of any size less than another planet/planetesimal, that could penetrate that deeply to affect a planet's magnetosphere.

  11. LesC


    Wouldn't starting with the Moon or Mars 1.0 be a good idea before considering Mars-alikes using (none existent) interstellar travel or am I missing something here. And what happens if life is found....

    Then there's terraforming and kickstarting the magnetosphere. The Moon is terraformable (just) and Mars should be a walk in the park after that by that time FTL travel by hyperspace / warp drive should be possible...

    It was forecasted we would have moon / Mars bases by now. Along with Jetsons style flying cars and Fireball XL5 to LEO.

    Mines is the one with the Integrated Space Plan in the pocket.

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