Is "programmable biosphere" a good (albeit more technical) way to describe terraforming, or does the phrase imply something different? If something different, what would the difference be?


closed as primarily opinion-based by Aify, Vincent, L.Dutch, Amadeus, sphennings Aug 11 '17 at 11:45

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    $\begingroup$ to me, it seems like programmable biosphere is a physical thing (like a bubble) and terraforming is changing the planet. $\endgroup$ – A. C. A. C. Aug 10 '17 at 23:04
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    $\begingroup$ To me, a "programmable biosphere" is one where, if I don't like the weather, I can issue new instructions to make it rain or shine. $\endgroup$ – Cort Ammon Aug 10 '17 at 23:11

No. Building a fully programmable biosphere and then programming it appropriately for your needs, to replicate an Earthlike environment, could be one Clarketech style method for achieving terraforming, but neither implies the other. If you broaden the definition of "terraforming" to include altering the environment on a planetary body to any particular specifications, not just so as to replicate an Earthlike environment, then building a programmable biosphere may indeed constitute one method of terraforming, but plenty of other, much more plausible, and certainly much easier, methods still remain.

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    $\begingroup$ Yours is a good answer. A programmable biospher can be used to achieve terraforming, but terraforming need not be accomplished through a programmable biosphere. $\endgroup$ – JBH Aug 10 '17 at 23:50
  • $\begingroup$ +1 for differentiating the terms, but given recursive programming techniques and viral distribution techniques, I'm not sure that other terraforming methods are either more plausible or easier. A planet encompassing nanite swarm which can transform gases at the sub-molecular level and which accept commands through a standardized programming interface... that seems pretty easy. Maybe not easy to create, but certainly easy to use. $\endgroup$ – Henry Taylor Aug 11 '17 at 3:51
  • $\begingroup$ @HenryTaylor The problem is building such a thing in the first place. Sure, if you've already got the Clarketech for it, then the fact that it is easier to use that than other terraforming methods is practically a tautology. But from where we stand right now, without such magical technology, building such a nanite swarm when it does not already exist seems far, far harder and much less plausible than other terraforming methods. $\endgroup$ – Logan R. Kearsley Aug 11 '17 at 4:15
  • $\begingroup$ A programmable biosphere doesn't necessary require a nanite swarm to implement it. This could be accomplished with sufficiently advanced genetic engineering. It depends whether you install direct control systems to manipulate its functions and actions. Much more feasible than the usual brute force physical techniques proposed for terraforming. Plus one. $\endgroup$ – a4android Aug 11 '17 at 6:40
  • $\begingroup$ @a4android Nanite swarm, advanced genetic engineering, or whatever, it's a thing we have no frickin' clue how to do right now. It is a prime example of magictech or Clarketech. Ergo, I have to disagree with your feasibility assessment- things we sorta know how to do, if only we had the resources, are automatically more feasible than things we don't know how to do. $\endgroup$ – Logan R. Kearsley Aug 11 '17 at 15:12

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