Eli5: What are the main things holding humanity back when it comes to being able to Terraform a planet or other large celestial objects in space?

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Eli5: What are the main things holding humanity back when it comes to being able to Terraform a planet or other large celestial objects in space?

In: 14

Number one issue, the energy requirements for assembling the resources over the distances required.

What’s holding us back? Gravity. Literally. Imagine getting all that equipment out there.

Money. For one. There is actual talk of capturing a small asteroid in the belt between mars and Jupiter. The cost? a few trillion. It’s not resources per se its money. What person on earth has a few trillion to try and grab a small asteroid because it contains a small fortune in precious metals? Maybe one of the oil sheiks in Saudi Arabia

Planets are mind bogglingly big, we are tiny, and the closest one we might begin to work on is 200 miles straight up in the air, with 3 months travel time in the most inhospitable environment known to mankind short of standing in lava, followed up by a 100 mile fall straight down into an almost as inhospitable environment, but with more dust. And that’s just to get there.

Mainly time. But building things on other planets isn’t like on earth. Oh a drill bit broke? Well that will be a year before you can get one. There are tons of unknown variables just in construction on earth now imagine them on Mars.

Technology. Some people will say we have the tech, we really don’t. We aren’t even able to control the composition of our own atmosphere on a small level (controlling co2 for example) let alone on an alien planet.

Money.

Once a nation is controlled by money, and the people with the most money get to decide where the world goes we’re all held at ransom to their ideas.

What your asking would probably take generations to happen, so even if we lucked into a trillionare who can actually get stuff done and has a drive and motives, who’s to say his heir will be of the same mind?

Can’t have that advanced shit until we live in a world where money no longer has value.

Cost and opportunity cost.

Terraforming is expensive, and almost no one wants to do it, preferring a thousand other things instead.

I will argue that collaboration is the biggest hurdle. Perhaps with time a single country might sine handedly develop the technology required to do what you’ve stated, but things start to get weird once you talk about colonizing a celestial object. You really extend your view of humanity to a planetary level, and the leaders humanity has had thus far simply don’t seem to operate on the scale. There are alliances, sure, but when push comes to shove every country is looking out for itself. If we get to the point of getting humans on Mars long term for example there is going to be a lot of talk on who “owns” spaces on Mars.

Even if you had the huge amount of energy and resources to do it, it’s still not a simple task to achieve. Creating a self sustaining biosphere would be incredibly complicated. You can’t just add water and oxygen like baking a cake.

On earth we have the right mix of plants and animals that keep each other in check. They keep the water, nitrogen and carbon cycles flowing. Without these, a planet could easily fall out of balance. Think of what has happened when humans have introduced invasive species into places they don’t belong.

On Earth this has all happened through billions of years of evolutionary trial and error.

Terraforming a planet requires two things: resources and time.

The resources part is difficult because no matter what planet you pick, we would need to not only bring a lot of stuff *to* the celestial body, we’d also have to remove a lot of stuff *from* the celestial body. That consumes a *lot* of energy.

The time part is another issue, as it would most likely be measured in millions or even *billions* of years, meaning the entire project would have to be capable of enduring hundreds of thousands of generations of humans and the inevitable political and social changes those humans would face throughout the years.

Scale, energy, and technology. And all this loomed over by time.

A planet is a big place. There’s a lot that needs to be done with things we dont have and can’t power reliably.

But even if we have all that, it would take hundreds of years to terraform a planet to a point where it is liveable.

Money. I’m not trying to be glib. Some plans seem entirely plausible with modern technology, it’s just at prohibitive timescale and cost.

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Eli5: What are the main things holding humanity back when it comes to being able to Terraform a planet or other large celestial objects in space?

In: 14

Number one issue, the energy requirements for assembling the resources over the distances required.

What’s holding us back? Gravity. Literally. Imagine getting all that equipment out there.

Money. For one. There is actual talk of capturing a small asteroid in the belt between mars and Jupiter. The cost? a few trillion. It’s not resources per se its money. What person on earth has a few trillion to try and grab a small asteroid because it contains a small fortune in precious metals? Maybe one of the oil sheiks in Saudi Arabia

Planets are mind bogglingly big, we are tiny, and the closest one we might begin to work on is 200 miles straight up in the air, with 3 months travel time in the most inhospitable environment known to mankind short of standing in lava, followed up by a 100 mile fall straight down into an almost as inhospitable environment, but with more dust. And that’s just to get there.

Mainly time. But building things on other planets isn’t like on earth. Oh a drill bit broke? Well that will be a year before you can get one. There are tons of unknown variables just in construction on earth now imagine them on Mars.

Technology. Some people will say we have the tech, we really don’t. We aren’t even able to control the composition of our own atmosphere on a small level (controlling co2 for example) let alone on an alien planet.

Money.

Once a nation is controlled by money, and the people with the most money get to decide where the world goes we’re all held at ransom to their ideas.

What your asking would probably take generations to happen, so even if we lucked into a trillionare who can actually get stuff done and has a drive and motives, who’s to say his heir will be of the same mind?

Can’t have that advanced shit until we live in a world where money no longer has value.

Cost and opportunity cost.

Terraforming is expensive, and almost no one wants to do it, preferring a thousand other things instead.

I will argue that collaboration is the biggest hurdle. Perhaps with time a single country might sine handedly develop the technology required to do what you’ve stated, but things start to get weird once you talk about colonizing a celestial object. You really extend your view of humanity to a planetary level, and the leaders humanity has had thus far simply don’t seem to operate on the scale. There are alliances, sure, but when push comes to shove every country is looking out for itself. If we get to the point of getting humans on Mars long term for example there is going to be a lot of talk on who “owns” spaces on Mars.

Even if you had the huge amount of energy and resources to do it, it’s still not a simple task to achieve. Creating a self sustaining biosphere would be incredibly complicated. You can’t just add water and oxygen like baking a cake.

On earth we have the right mix of plants and animals that keep each other in check. They keep the water, nitrogen and carbon cycles flowing. Without these, a planet could easily fall out of balance. Think of what has happened when humans have introduced invasive species into places they don’t belong.

On Earth this has all happened through billions of years of evolutionary trial and error.

Terraforming a planet requires two things: resources and time.

The resources part is difficult because no matter what planet you pick, we would need to not only bring a lot of stuff *to* the celestial body, we’d also have to remove a lot of stuff *from* the celestial body. That consumes a *lot* of energy.

The time part is another issue, as it would most likely be measured in millions or even *billions* of years, meaning the entire project would have to be capable of enduring hundreds of thousands of generations of humans and the inevitable political and social changes those humans would face throughout the years.

Scale, energy, and technology. And all this loomed over by time.

A planet is a big place. There’s a lot that needs to be done with things we dont have and can’t power reliably.

But even if we have all that, it would take hundreds of years to terraform a planet to a point where it is liveable.

Money. I’m not trying to be glib. Some plans seem entirely plausible with modern technology, it’s just at prohibitive timescale and cost.