Thursday, January 3, 2013

What would a wet Mars look like?

One of my favorite science fiction series are the Red Mars (then Blue, then Green) from Kim Stanely Robinson. It's a superbly researched and a fascinating look at what it would cost (in more than economic terms) to change the face of the red planet to one that could support life. But I've often wondered, what would it really LOOK like to see Mars as we know and experience the Earth--as a blue/green orb flocked with plant life and steeped in oceans.

Kevin Gill is a software engineer who has wondered the same and he took to making his own renderings, which--even if not completely accurate--are incredible:

A conception view of the Western hemisphere of Mars with oceans and clouds. Olympus Mons is visible on the horizon beyond the Tharsis Montes volcanoes and the Valles Marineris canyons near the center. 

A visualization of an Earth-like Mars, be it ancient or a future of terraforming. Eye position is about 6,600 kilometers (4100 miles) from the surface of the planet and looking at the southern hemisphere (~20° South) and the 180th meridian.

The Western hempisphere looks particularly intriguing with retaining its arid climate. Looks vaguely like the deserts of Spain to me. And the second image makes me think of the Irish countryside (Shire?). Perhaps I have to much hobbit on the brain. Truly inspiring stuff.

What do the images make you think of?


  1. Cool! Are those colors elevation or just fanciful ideas about vegetation?

    I always thought GURPS Mars had a really nice chapter on terraforming Mars and what it would be like afterward.

  2. Trey, I think he did comparisons with Earth elevations. The article at Universe Today sorta makes it seem like he's basing those assumptions on data.