Last week the FIFA gave the definite assent to hold the 100th World Soccer Championships on Mars, since the main sponsors, Tobias Forst and Dominic Neukirchen made it possible to accelerate the terraforming process. Due to the terraforming, Mars has been made viable for humans, because its temperature has been increased and an atmosphere similar to earth´s has been created. The permit has been given last Saturday, when an international committee gave his expert´s opinion on the Martian stadiums and released them for the championship.
On the occasion of such an event we met the two main sponsors, who were so kind as to give us an interview. We talked about their reasons and intentions to sponsor the championship.
So Mr. Forst, could you tell us anything about the reasons and motives for arranging the 100th World Soccer Championships on Mars?
Sure! As you probably remember, Ursula Kohl and Vlad Taneev invented the longevity treatment in 2048, and a few years later, in 2052 they started thinking about other things which could be realized with the help of terraforming and their treatment. So they brought up the idea of letting the 100th WSC take place on Mars. But then they didn´t know how to finance this tournament and so they propagated for it on earth. There were commercials on TV, in magazines, newspapers etc.
And as you surely know, there are a lot of sponsors, but Dominic & me, we are the two main sponsors, followed by “Mars“, the chocolate bar, and now with the aid of all the sponsors, the tournament will take place on Mars in 2334.
Our motive for sponsoring was that Dominic and me also played soccer for Germany and won the World Soccer Championships in 2022, and so our interest is to promote the development of soccer and also human progress in general.
How much money did you spend on this project, Mr Neukirchen?
Money was not a theme, but I don´t want to talk about a sum. However, it was a lot.
But how did you earn so much money? Was it only by playing soccer?
No, it was not only by playing soccer, Tobias & me invested in a enterprise, which brought up such an immense profit, that it was even unbelievable for the firm itself.
But we made a claim for owning Mars-land, where we can build houses to live in and make use of Mars´ natural resources.
Ah yes. So you bought Mars-land?
If you see it in this way, yes.
And are you going to be on Mars during the championships, I mean will you visit some matches?
Yes, of course we will be there to watch some matches and we will present the trophy to the champions. Certainly we are going to view all of Germany´s matches, and for my position, I also want to see a match of Brasil and France. I do not know, what Dominic thinks about those.
Me? Oh I think that I´m going to watch Italy and Spain, but also like Tobias, Brasil and France.
Why are you going to present the trophy to the champions and not the chairperson of the FIFA?
I do not know why the chairperson of the FIFA doesn`t do it, but we were asked to do it! And so we will have the honour to present the cup.
Ah, I understand. So you could not refuse this suggestion, couldn´t you?
Yes, you are absolutely right.
So, I do not have questions anymore, but I have to express my special thanks for your kindness of giving us this interview about the 100th World Soccer Championships, which is going to take place on Mars.
It has also been a pleasure for us! Thank you.
And now we have got an expert, who will inform us about the terraforming process. I´m proud to welcome the worldwide known Dr Martin Kämper.
Doctor Kämper, first of all let me express my thanks for making it possible to give us this interview.
You are very welcome, it´s my pleasure.
Mr Forst and Mr Neukirchen already told us that because of the terraforming it has been made possible to hold the 100th World Soccer Championships on Mars. Not all of our readers know what exactly is meant by this. Could you give us a short definition of terraforming?
If you believe it or not already about 350 years ago Mr Fogg gave the to my mind best definition of terraforming. He described it as “a process of planetary engenineering, specifically directed at enhancing the capacity of an extraterrestial planetary environment to support life. The ultimate in terraforming is to create an uncontained planetary biosphere emulating all the functions of the biosphere of the Earth, one that is fully habitable for human beings.“ Or for a better understanding: Making a planet over into an Earthlike planet.
This definition is very good, but you need to know that there are two different kinds of terraforming:
· Planetological terraforming, which leaves a fully Earthlike planet, stable over geological eras without further interventions
· Habitable terraforming, which uses artificial shortcuts to adapt the planet for human habition, but requires continued maintenance
So habitable terraforming is basicly the same as ecopoiesis?
Not exactly, ecopoiesis is the formation of an uncontained, anaerobic, biophere on the surface of a sterile planet. After we reached this level we can see it as an end in itself or just the initial stage in a more lengthy process of terraforming. In the stage of ecopoiesis Mars was just merely warmed and consequently suitable for plant life only, like it already was about a billion years ago. But the planet was far away from being viable for humans. As you will see later, habitable terraforming is exactly what we have done on Mars.
I already mentioned that the terraforming process on Mars is still not brought to an end because of the need of continued maintenance, but because of medical and humanphysiological developments humans have been manipulated in a way that they can deal unproblematicly with the circumstances on Mars.
Could you describe these circumstances a little bit more detailed?
The biggest problem is or strictly speaking was, that Mars´ gravity is just about one third of ours here on Earth. As a consequence the human bone sructure and the immune system had to be altered. The same applies to radiation. Genes taken out of radiation resistant bacteria had been installed into the human body. Those didn´t allow any damage to humans caused by radiation. Now, after terraforming is basicly finished even this isn´t necessary anymore because the atmosphere is even thicker than the one we have got on earth.
All these problems could be solved since the people understood that the colonization of Mars isn´t just a pipe dream but unavoidable future. Since then terraformers and genetic engineers have been working hand in hand.
What did Mars look like before terraforming began?
The historical Mars had always been known as the “Red Planet“, because his surface really was brownish - red. Its mean temperature was about 60 degrees Celsius below zero and there wasn´t any water available on the surface. Some people imagine the hell not as a hot, but as the opposite, a freezing cold place. To my mind you can apply this vision to the Mars just a few centuries ago. The atmosphere on Mars was about 1/100 of Earth´s, the air consisted to 95% of carbon dioxide, therefore comparable to a lethal poison for humans. Not a very friendly place at all.
Could you give us a short historical review about the exploration of Mars?
Before the first information were given about Mars through the “Pathfinder“ mission back in the 20th century only few science fiction writers believed that it might be possible to colonize Mars, but already some decades later there were the first concepts how to terraform the “Red Planet“.
Than in 2019 the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing the first human being, Mr John Boone, set his foot on Mars. In my opinion the most important event in mankind´s history.
As we all know just a few years later the “First Hundred“ landed and the most famous terraformer ever Sax Russel laid the foundation of what you can see now on Mars.
How did he do this?
The most important thing in terraforming is to have people and equipment to do the exploration. The “First Hundred“ with Mr Russel as head of the terraforming group built advanced bases and started the terraforming process by doing labs, experiments, and so on.
Besides industries on Earth have been created to sustain these outposts and settlements on Mars and to improve existing or rather develop new technologies.
So what exactly had to be done to make Mars viable for humans?
There were five basic steps to make human existence possible on Mars:
1. The mean global surface temperature had to be raised by about 65 degrees Celsius
2. The mass of the atmosphere had to be increased
3. Lots of liquid water had to be made available
4. The surface UV and cosmic ray flux musted be substantially reduced
5. The atmospheric composition had to be altered in order to increase its oxygen and nitrogen fraction
And could all these steps been realized?
This is the hard one. But I will try my best to portray the most important aspects of the entire terraforming process.
The first question was: “Does Mars have the right stuff?“.
The essential ingredients needed for terraforming are the volatiles carbon dioxide, nitrogen , and water. Thancks to the earlier Mars missions and the “First Hundred“ we knew that there is enough frozen carbon dioxide, pretty much water in the form of ice, and nitrogen or rather nitrates in the polar caps and adsorbed in the soil to get a good amount of those into the atmosphere. But the only way to get the carbon dioxide was to increase the temperature of Mars so that the polar caps melted and carbon dioxide evaporated out of it and became component of the atmosphere. It would take too long now to point out the thermodynamics that show how much energy was required, but unfortunaly the temperature had to be raised by more than 15 degrees Celsius.
How exactly could the temperature been raised?
Well, the sponsors for the soccer tournament had already been found, so there was the possibility to combine several methods of heating the planet.
You can devide the methods of warming Mars in those relying on modification of the atmosphere and those trying to increase the insolation from space.
Back in the days Dr Robert Zubrin, founder of the “Mars Society“, brought up the idea of a mirror system to increase the insolation. This idea was adapted and soon, a couple of years later, there appeared the mirror system in the opposite area of the sky from the sun to illuminate the poles from a low angle.
The mirror system was gigantically with a diameter of more than a hundred kilometres and about 200.000 tons of aluminium were used to build it.
It was impossible to take those to space by aircraft, so a factory was set up on Phobos, one of Mars´ moons. There it took more than five years to create the mirrors and two more years to place it in the right position.
Was this mirror system succesfully?
Actually not in the way we hoped it would. Even there was dark material spread all over the polar caps. This had basicly the same effect as wearing a dark, most likely black, t-shirt when the sun is shining. There is more heat adsorbed and consequently the caps should melt faster.
We also released supergreenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide cannot trap solar energy very effectively, therefore other gases as methan, nitrous oxide, ammonia, carbon combinations as for example CFC´s, CF3Br, C2F6... and many more were used.
After some decades these gases caused a runaway greenhouse effect and because of this, the mirrors and the darkening of the surface of the polar caps, the caps started melting, but only few of CO2 became component of the atmosphere. At least the temperature increased by several degrees.
The results weren´t satisfiing at all for our purpose. It would have taken more than thousand years to melt the entire polar caps. For this reason this would be acceptable for ecopoiesis only.
As a consequence we abandoned this project.
You told us the CO2 would be lethal for humans, so why did you attemp to increase the amount of it anyways?
You are right, but first of all we had to get an Earthlike atmosphere. Caused by the CO2 the atmophere already became a little bit thicker and the greenhouse gases especially the CFC´s that have been produced on new grown factories on Mars, it has been made possible to create a layer comparable to the ozonelayer on Earth. CFC´s adsorbs UV light comming from the sun, so this problem could be solved without lots of difficulties.
Still, only when the atmosphere was quite thick, the terraformers had to start dealing with the problem of breathability of the air.
As I said the only thing that had to be done after reaching this level was to increase the fraction of oxygen in order to permit humans to breath and the fraction of nitrogen as a buffergas because without nitrogen in the air we would have non stop exothermic reactions of the oxygen.
And where did these gases come from?
Luckily, there had been about 50% of the needed nitrogen already on Mars in the form of nitrates deep underground. You also could find lots of carbon dioxide and frozen water there and as I mentioned also in the soil. The problem was that temperatures of several thousand degrees are needed to detach gaseous nitrogen out of those nitrate combinations.
For this reason the terraforming crew decided to employ an aerial lens system developed by Paul Birch, which were also manufactured on Phobos.
The method is about the same as using a magnifying glass to set paper on fire. The body is slightly pressurized and therefore supported partly by aerodynamic lift, but mainly by the hot air trapped inside. Even though the lens had a weight of about 50.000 tons, it was put about two hundred km up overground, which was a good spot to focus the sunlight. The resulting heat was used to burn trenches in the landscape. You can think of those as deep canals. The same effect as the lens system have bombs. To support the lens system it was necessary to explode dozens of hydrogen bombs. We also gave different military services the possibility to test new developed weapons systems. All of these exploded deep underground and of course no radiation was released. The resulting heat was high enough to evaporate the regolith and because of this more gases captured there provided parts of the atmosphere. And it could be accomplished to heat up the surfaces temperature by more than fifty degrees centigrade.
As a consequence of the increased temperature also the polar caps melted and after this we came close to a breathable Earthlike atmosphere.
And after this the terraforming process was completed?
No, there were still several problems left.
We already were far behind the state of ecopoiesis, yet we needed more nitrogen and we also had to increase the fraction of oxygen. So there have been spread uncountable numbers of plants, algaes and lichens to transform CO2 into oxygen, a process known as photosynthesis. Again genetic engineers did a great job in manipulating those in order to speed up the photosythesis process. In addition new developed photosynthesis machines came into being and supported the plants. It took just about two hundred years to get enough oxygen into the atmosphere using this method. To get more nitrogen on Mars and to make water available on the surface we had to do the most difficult undertaking of the whole terraforming process. Entire series of comets and ice asteroids out of the area of Titan and Jupiter and even the icemoon Hyperion had to be directed into Mars` atmosphere.
It was really tough to create drive assemblies and gravity assist passes to divert those into the Martian atmosphere where the astoroides that consisted mainly of nitrates exploded because of bombs attached to them and consequently evaporated. The ice asteroids and the moon were to crash down on Mars´ surface to provide water. This sounds pretty simple , but it took more than twenty years just to divert those to Mars. As a side effect the temperature increased by more than ten degrees centigrade.
After this, and we are talking about a timeframe of about a hundred years, we had accomplished an atmosphere breathable for humans and an Earthlike average temperature. Also there was enough water available on the surface. This was the final step and after this till today the only task is to maintain what we have created.
Could you tell us anything about the problems during the terraforming?
There have been quite a few problems, even before the terraforming process began. Most important for terraforming is energy. Energy is needed for all the steps terraforming includes. First nuclear power was the only source to provide the required energy. There were a lot of discussions going on, but at the end the research into this area could be expanded. The results caused an enormous reduction of the expenses. Later solar energy became more and more important until nuclear power was just an option anymore. Another problem was the formation of a group on Earth known as APIUS and the “Reds“ on Mars itself. These groups held the view of leaving Mars on his own. Radical parts of these groups sabotaged lots of the terraforming projects and as a result they caused huge financial losses. But after these groups recognized that terraforming won´t stop and was already irreversible the sabotage acts came fortunally to an end.
Of course, during the terraforming we also had problems with miscalculation, or things just didn´t work out like they were supposed to do, as for example the mirror system. It was very probable that these situations had to be faced and actually no one really worried about them because they only caused a financial loss.
One major problem we were confronted with were asteroids and comets that hit Mars´ surface much more frequently Earth`s. This problem had and has to be solved by deflecting those a tiny amount a few years before they are due to strike Mars.
One last problem will remain two or three more centuries. I already pointed out that it is necessary to maintain what we have got. For example if we stopped releasing gases, the atmosphere would go back into the regolith slowly and parts of it would be lost into space because of the low gravity till we reach a Mars comparable to the one we had 400 years ago. This takes its time, but it would happen. Another problem is, that the CFC´s are destroyed very quickly and as a consequence they have to be renewed permanently. There are still lots of projects going on to find gases which have the same function, but last longer.
Is it possible for you to give any information about the financial aspect?
Well, it is impossible to tell you exactly how expensive the entire process was. Unfortunally there were lots of underhand payments and corrupt trading going on, we all remember the scandals concerning the transnationals.
But let me try to give you an idea of the expenses:
The costs for the mirror system and the aerial lens method total about half a trillion dollars. This includes the transport of the needed materials to Phobos, the building of the facilities up there, the realization of the mirrors and the lens, and finally to cover the expenses to set up those in space. The transportation was a huge problem, as luck would have it solarsail crafts have been developed soon enough to reduce the expenses per flight to about 50 million per trip.
The expenses to direct asteroids and the icemoon into Mars´ atmosphere run up to about two trillion dollars, the most expensive investment of the terraforming process.
It is harder to say how expensive the release of gases into the atmosphere was. There were hundreds of industries set up on Mars which participated in this undertaking, many of them privatly. Estimations range from five hundred billion to two trillion, which is to my mind more probable.
Well, as you can see terraforming Mars was a multi trillion expenditure, but worth it because Mars´ value amounts to three hundred trillion dollars now.
But many people argue that it was a mistake to terraform Mars. Could you say anything about that?
I already mentioned that there were, there are and there will be lots of arguments going on concerning the creation of a new Earth on Mars.
I think terraforming Mars was the best thing to do. We all know about the problems on Earth. Overpopulation is probably the most significant one and the longevity treatment tightened up the situation. Consequently something had to happen. Humans needed new space to life, Earth was just getting to small for all of us.
Well I can understand faithfull people saying it is not our right to play God and change the environment in a way we couldn´t exactly foresee, but everything went well, and I guess most people are happy with it now.
One problem was the time frame. It would have taken centuries to explore the entire planet Mars. But I already told you about the financial aspect and as we all know, money rules the world and after the idea of holding the soccer tournament on Mars came up there wasn´t a possibiltiy left to stop the economical use of Mars. To be honest with you I think it is very pity that we didn´t have the possibility to discover Mars´ secrets, yet I´m glad we did it that way because now I´m still alive and I can see what mankind could create out of this freezing hell.
Could you give as a short conclusion?
Well, as I said, the idea of terraforming was born in the minds of science fiction writers already more than four hundred years ago. No one believed back at this time that this venture might come true, but just some decades later the first scientists, as for example Robert Zubrin, Martyn J. Fogg, Christopher McKay or Paul Birch, published their first terraforming concepts.
In 2019 John Boone sat his foot on Mars and in 2027 the “First Hundred“ landed to trigger of the terraforming process. After less than three hundred years the habitable terraforming process could be completed because of the already mentioned methods and the aid of genetic engineering. Now, in 2329 Mars is viable for humans and ready to hold the soccer championship.
My last question Mr. Kämper, what do you predict for our future on Mars and in general?
First of all I hope we won´t repeat the mistakes made in history on Earth. I hope we have created an utopian place. After the soccer tournament Mars will be opened to everyone. Anyone who wants will get the opportunity to live there. Well, it is going to take several decades before we will have a stable economy up on Mars, but it will happen.
There is only one major problem left and it will be hard to solve it: There will be the most different cultures living on Mars. And they all will be confronted with each other, my only hope is that people at this point of time will be grown up and willing to live together in harmony.
Our future in general is going to change our lives dramatically, let´s say about ten thousand years from now most of the planets and moons in our solar system will be colonized. This is absolutly necessary because we will have more than a million times more humans. The first planet to be colonized is going to be Venus, already a century ago scientists started to develop an detailed concept for its terraforming. I guess less than a thousand years from now the first soccer tournament is going to be held on Venus.
Thanks a lot for your time Dr. Kämper
It was a great pleasure to me.
1. “Terraforming Mars Quickly“ by Paul Birch
2. “How to terraform MARS“ uploaded by Ed Reber
3. “Terraforming Mars: A Review Of Research“ by Martyn J. Fogg
4. “Die Terraformung des Mars - Der Weg zu einer zweiten Erde“ by Christoph Kulmann
5. “Bringing Life to Mars“ by Christopher McKay
6. “Red Mars“ and “Green Mars“ by Kim S. Robinson
7. “Der Mensch auf dem Weg zu den Sternen? Gedanken zu Technik und Kultur der Zukunft“ lecture by Peter R. Sahm
8. E-Mail contacts
Special thanks to: Paul Birch, Martyn J. Fogg, Christopher McKay, Kim S. Robinson and Robert Zubrin.