Finding signs of extraterrestrial life on other planets was one of the most important tasks of researchers and scientists. However, not much has been achieved so far. But the scientists are not giving up their search and seem determined to unravel the secrets of our solar system. Promisingly trying to answer the most puzzling questions ever: are we alone in this world and there are or have been more extraterrestrial species? Whether other planets are or were viable? In a recent interview, Jim Green spoke about his CoLD scale and explained how we can terraform Mars to make it habitable for humans.
Green joined NASA in 1980 and has since played key roles in several space agency missions and experiments. He has helped NASA carry out various complex missions, including understanding the Earth’s magnetic field and finding life on Mars. After spending four decades at NASA, of which he headed the Planetary Research Department for twelve years, Green retired from the agency at the turn of the year. The “Confidence of Life Detection” or CoLD scale is one of his notable proposals. Green has suggested that humans could one day live on Mars if we create a huge magnetic field on the Red Planet to prevent the Sun from removing the atmosphere there and raising the temperature on the Martian surface.
Mars is rough and cold as its thin atmosphere is 95 percent carbon dioxide. The average temperature on the barren planet is around minus 60 degrees Celsius. In winter, the temperature near the poles can drop to minus 125 degrees Celsius.
Against this background, how well does Green’s scale work? When asked about it in an interview with the New York Times, Green said the possibility of life is measured on his CoLD scale from one to seven, where seven means life. Explaining its significance, he said a few years ago some scientists said they found phosphine on Venus. For them it was huge, but on the CoLD scale it was “one”. They later found their signal was tainted, and what many found wasn’t even phosphine.
Much methane has been detected on Mars. “(But) we are only on a CoLD level 3.”
Is he surprised that we haven’t found life on the red planet yet, even though NASA has been researching Mars since 1976? “Yes and no,” said Green. He said scientists have made great strides since the beginning. For example, we now know that Venus was once a blue planet with a significant ocean. “She could actually have had life,” he added. Mars was also once a blue planet.
About his proposal to create a giant magnetic shield between Mars and the sun that would allow the red planet to trap more heat and get warmer, he said, “It can be done.” Mars will terraform itself as pressure and temperature rise, he added. The higher temperature and pressure allow us to start growing plants in the soil.
He said he was trying to “bring out a paper” that he had been working on for two years. However, he added that it will not be well received by the planetary community, which “does not like the idea of terraforming”. But Green said he was confident that we could also change Venus with a physical shield.