Friday, January 4, 2008

New Worlds To Radically Alter (1981)

The 1981 book Out into Space (World of Tomorrow) by Neil Ardley features this image of Venus, "bombarded with containers of plants that will begin to change its atmosphere into oxygen, which people can breathe."

An excerpt from the children's book appears below.
Plans have been proposed to change Mars and Venus, the nearest planets, into worlds like Earth - even though Venus is so hot that lead melts there, and Mars is so cold that its air freezes in winter and falls as snow. To alter whole worlds, we would employ the tiniest of living things - minute plans called algae. Special new kinds of algae would be bred to be resistant to the conditions on Venus and Mars. Huge quantities would then be sent to the planets. On Venus the algae would convert the atmosphere of carbon dioxide into oxygen. Water could come from ice-bearing comets diverted to Venus. The temperature would fall until it was cool enough for people to land and begin making a new home there. On Mars the temperature would need to be raised by using the planets to darken and warm the white ice caps. The ice would melt and moisten the soil, releasing oxygen into the thin atmosphere. As the air thickened, it would get even warmer.

See also:
Space Colony Pirates (1981)
Mars and Beyond (1957)
The Future of Real Estate (1953)
Vacations of the Future (1981)
Space Spiders (1979)


Anonymous said...

Wow! Humanity shall be saved by using a cross between a Peugeot Boxer and an Imperia Tie Bomber...
Who would've thunk?

BLTP said...

Love your blog it will provide many hours of hopeful surfing, proof that the futures is what we make it. Keep up the xcellent work. :)

Anonymous said...

I have this entire series of books, there are about 7 or 8 of them in all...the illustrations are fantastic.

The text here is actually not that absurd, it is the basic concept of terraforming a planet, which will probably happen sometime over the next few hundred years (not the next century as people predicted).

Matt said...

This is still a plausible idea, isn't it?
Doing anything with Venus might be a stretch, but I'm sure I heard something about terraforming Mars recently.
It appears this was a major idea at the time, though. The Wrath of Khan came out only a year later.

Chris said...

I'll take these wild implausible visions over today's tepid futurism any time. Somehow I just can't get as excited as I'm supposed to over the prospect that the electric toothbrushes of tomorrow will have the processing power of 1000 human minds

J.D. said...

Dancing space potatos? You bet!

Stacia said...

Like anonymous above, I believe I had this book as part of a set of children's science books. If it wasn't part of the set I owned, it may have also been a book I checked out repeatedly from the library, I can't remember now.

The set was terrific, and I liked this particular book quite a bit, although I note that it never occurred to me that humanity should stop trying to meddle with nature on such an epic scale. Hey, I was 9, I think I can be excused.

Anonymous said...

You primitive humans with your puny terraforming plans.

Try wrapping your tiny little brains around THIS concept - restructuring a solar system into a habitat 1.2 light years across at its outermost shell, with 30 million shells inside it.

This will give the equivalent land area of 200 billion trillion Earths.

And you think giving some air to Mars is a big deal.

Anonymous said...

And don't tell these talking monkeys with car keys about the idea of a Dyson Galaxy.