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View Full Version : deliberately bringing plants to a planet with a CO2 atmosphere?



SRH
2012-Dec-15, 01:55 PM
not sure if this is possible, but could we fertilize a planet (or moon) with plants and/or bacteria that would take hold and eventually change the atmosphere to being more oxygen friendly?


also not sure about the ethics of playing god on a universal scale, but conceivably, earth-based life could have other galactic bases (millions of years after seeding).


has anyone written about this before?

cjameshuff
2012-Dec-15, 03:53 PM
not sure if this is possible, but could we fertilize a planet (or moon) with plants and/or bacteria that would take hold and eventually change the atmosphere to being more oxygen friendly?

The idea's not new, but there aren't any really good candidates in the solar system. The atmosphere of Mars is too thin and cold for plants to thrive (though some might manage to survive), and even if they converted all the CO2 to O2, you'd end up with an even thinner and colder atmosphere. Photosynthesizing microbes might survive in the upper atmosphere of Venus, but there's not nearly enough water to convert a significant fraction of the CO2, and the result of converting a large fraction of that CO2 would be an extremely high pressure, almost pure O2 atmosphere full of plant matter that's explosively flammable in that environment.



also not sure about the ethics of playing god on a universal scale, but conceivably, earth-based life could have other galactic bases (millions of years after seeding).

Just planetary scale actually, but how's it different from playing god on any other scale? Personally, I'm rather thankful my ancestors decided to try and control fire.

Romanus
2012-Dec-15, 09:33 PM
^
Ditto. An Earthlike planet with a CO2-rich atmosphere also might have a surface environment too acidic for anything other than extremophiles; Archean rocks on Earth are noteworthy for their scarcity of carbonates, suggesting they were formed in a more acidic environment than today's. There are other nutrients plants need that might not be available on other planets in sufficient quantities.