International Conference Competition Topic 2020

Topic Descriptor--Terraforming

Terraforming is the process of altering the ecosystem of a region on Earth, Moon, or another planet to make it habitable for people. This may include altering the atmosphere, temperature, surface, or environment.

The Moon, Mars, and Venus have all been considered as candidates for terraforming. What modifications would be needed to make such places suitable for humans? The “worldhouse concept” involves enclosing areas on Earth or even entire planetary bodies under domes. Scientists theorize of geo-engineering the Sahara desert into a lush forest. What unforeseen effects and consequences might these actions create? What other areas might be considered for terraforming?

Many questions surround the logistical, financial, political, and technological process of terraforming. Some people debate the reasons, benefits, and justifications of terraforming. Still, others consider ethical questions surrounding the practice of terraforming. What is the future of designing new habitats for humans? How will humanity redesign environments to make them more hospitable?

Attention Coaches!

Please preview all videos in this Smore to ensure they are acceptable for use with your age students. It is important that you ensure all content qualifies for your school/district's Acceptable Use Policy.

Example: The video below does mention one questionable word around the 2:10 minute mark. The rest of the information included is informative and interesting, so you may just want to block out this word.

Which Planet Should We Terraform First? | Unveiled

Book series by Kim Stanley Robinson

Check out this three-book series on terraforming Mars!

The Mars trilogy is a series of science fiction novels by Kim Stanley Robinson that tells the story of the settlement and terraforming of the planet Mars through personal and creative viewpoints of many characters spanning almost two centuries. Although the series is older (published in the 1990's) the books have won several awards and could give you many ideas for possible challenges, solutions, and understanding the topic! These are also enjoyable reading!

How Close Are We to Terraforming Mars?

Should we terraform Mars, or is there a better location to terraform for future life?

Pretend you have two Future Scenes:

1. The first FS is set in a terraformed area on Mars in the year 2050.

2. The second FS is set in a terraformed area on Venus in the year 2050.

Write 4 challenges for each of the two FS. How would the challenges differ for each location? What similarities might there be for each location?


Use one of the following vocabulary words in each of your original challenges. Demonstrate your understanding of the word by using it correctly in context. Don't forget to be flexible by addressing a different category in each challenge! Use a vocabulary word only once!


habitable, extant, ecosystem, pantropy, overcrowding, adaptation, artificial,

biodome, atmosphere, insulate, compatible, synthetic, organism, environment

Is There A Better Planet Out There For Us?


Writing a good solution can earn your team a great deal of points and demonstrate to the evaluators your creativity and research knowledge. Practice writing solutions with your team by first doing the attached Morphological Matrix. Then, select one idea from each column to write four creative and researched based solutions. Remember a good solution contains at least 3 of the W's. But, an even better solution uses this "secret formula:"

WHO + will do WHAT + HOW + WHY

This formula allows you to create well elaborated solutions. Good luck!

Titan Colonization: Could Saturn's Moon Be A New Earth?

How do we decide WHERE is the BEST location to terraform a new world?

Several places have been identified in this Smore as potential places to terraform. Use your best Step 4 Criteria to determine which location might be best.

Use Justified Criteria to earn the maximum points in your Step 4.

  • Justified Criteria use facts from the future scene to justify a specific criteria.
  • The format includes the fact in a beginning dependent clause and the criterion in a following independent clause.
  • Begin each justified criterion with "Since" or "Because."

Write /create 5 Justified Criteria to evaluate which location is the best potential place for future terraforming. Discuss your ideas with your team mates! If you like, rank your ideas on a Step 5 Grid!

Big picture

Do you struggle with remembering all that goes into your Step 6 Action Plan?

Try using this TIPS page!

Terraforming...is this the BEST way to save our future world?