Friday, June 10, 2005

Terraforming Is Nothing To Sneeze At.

Life exists on this planet in ways that are unimaginable. This article at the Live Science website (click here for story) explains that "giant snot balls" created by a kind of sea worm provide an important food source for life at the bottom of the sea. Apparently these sea worms create floating houses out of their own mucus, which when abandonded, sink to the bottom of the sea carrying trapped food sources along the way. The things life does to survive in this world.

The story gives new relevance to W.C. Fields' remark that he wouldn't drink water because fish swim in it.

It's also a humbling lesson for would-be terraformers about the immense complexity involved in creating new ecosystems on other planets.

To cite one example, it's gonna take a lot more than melting the ice caps and planting some hardy vegetation to make a living planet out of Mars. If the theory that Mars started out warm and wet and wonderful is true then God was the first terraformer of Mars. Looking at the results today, it's hard to judge that he did a very good job of it. I wonder how much better a job we can do. I mean, who'd have thought there'd be a need in the life-cycle for giant floating snot balls?

-tdr

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