As an extension of China’s $16 billion plan to combat air pollution in its cities, today the China National Space Administration (CNSA) announced an ambitious plan to export the nation’s emissions to Mars. China is currently the world’s largest producer of greenhouse gases – its annual emissions total 8.9 billion tons. The unprecedented plan would greatly reduce emissions on Earth while warming the climate on Mars, causing the planet’s polar ice caps to melt and eventually creating an atmosphere capable of sustaining life.

china, greenhouse gas, beijing air pollution, air pollution, carbon emissions, mars, terraforming, geoengineering, sustainable design, green design, ghg emissions, china air pollution

Throughout the 20th century, companies around the world outsourced their manufacturing operations to China in search of cheaper labor – and although the increase in production drove the nation’s economy, it wrecked havoc on its environment. China’s new plan marks a pivotal shift in its environmental agenda – starting in 2015, industrial greenhouse gases will be collected and exported to Mars, where they could actually do good by helping to terraform the planet.

Mars holds vast reserves of water, which are currently frozen due to the planet’s cold surface temperature and distance from the sun. Scientists believe that the introduction of additional greenhouse gases could warm the planet, resulting in the release of water and frozen CO2 reserves and the formation of an atmosphere with a pressure comparable to that of Mount Everest. The soil and atmosphere of mars already contain many of the elements needed for life – the addition of liquid water and an earth-like atmosphere could theoretically enable humans to colonize the planet.

The China National Space Administration plans to transport greenhouse gases to Mars using solar sails – small, lightweight crafts that can travel extreme distances using only the power of the sun. The CNSA is also developing plans for martian factory bases that would generate additional greenhouse gasses while 3D printing tools and building materials from the planet’s soil. In keeping with China’s copycat architecture trend, these buildings would be modeled after some of the world’s most famous factories and coal plants – including London’s Battersea Power Station and Foxconn’s HQ.

Speaking about the development, a CNSA representative said: “China is focused on the future, and the Red Planet is a natural next step for the People’s Republic of China. By turning China’s environmental problems into an opportunity for future development, we will secure a home for our expanding population in the far reaches of the Solar System.”

+ China National Space Administration

Photos by Aurelien Guichard and NASA.