An anonymous reader writes "Related to the future of Mars, NASA released the transcript of an expert panel which debated terraforming the red planet. Planetary scientists including NASA's Planetary Protection Officer, John Rummel, and science fiction writers (Kim Robinson, Arthur C. Clarke, and Greg Bear) chimed in. When asked if Mars should be transformed to a place where humans could walk without life support suits ("naked"), Sir Clarke responded, "Perhaps we should ask the Martians first." Can it be done quickly-- or at all? Is terraforming ethical? If humans colonize, are the colonists on a one-way trip akin to exile?" Read on for a bit more.
"A consensus seemed to be that like waking a sleeping giant, planet building seems possible if oxygen is not a requirement and some microbial life is dormant underground. But the question of making a planet suitable for plants alone seems to span tens of thousands of years. The remaining science fiction notion was terraforming humans, instead of planets, and making us survive on what is now a very alien world."