Warming Mars Using Artificial Super-Greenhouse Gases

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M. M. Marinova; C. P. McKay; H. Hashimoto (2000), JBIS, 53, 235-240

Refcode: 2000.53.235

Artificial super-greenhouse gases will be needed in terraforming Mars. They could be used to initiate warming and also to supplement the greenhouse effect of a breathable oxygen/nitrogen atmosphere containing a limited amount of carbon dioxide. The leading super-greenhouse gas candidates are SF6 and perfluorocarbons (PFCs) such as CF4 and C2F6. The transmission spectra of C2F6, CF2Cl2, and CF3Cl were analyzed, and their specific absorption bands quantitatively assessed. A detailed band model was used to accurately calculate and compare the greenhouse warming of Earth and Mars given different temperature profiles and concentrations of the gases. The results show that for the current Mars, 0.1 Pa (10-6 atm) of a single super-greenhouse gas will result in a warming of about 3 K. The synthesis of this amount of gas requires about 1020 J, equivalent to ~ 70 minutes of the total solar energy reaching Mars. Super-greenhouse gases are a viable method for warming up a planet alone and are certainly practical in combination with other methods.


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