[Excerpt from an article on the colonization of Mars, by Dan Ousley]

...but the costs of these Mars installations and their continued maintenance is staggering - and their spartan shells are a far cry from the idyllic colonies pictured by turn of the century inspirational tourism posters.

All that might be about to change. In a rare interview, TranStar president Alex Yu reveals his vision of a Mars where families in short sleeves can picnic in a grassy field, then pick out the point of light that is Earth after the sun sets.

Enabling this vision requires terraforming Mars, the most challenging engineering problem the Human race has ever faced.

Yu presents an innocuous gray moss to me. An extremophile organism designed specifically for that purpose. Dubbed Takakia Catherine, the simple looking plant is actually a fantastically efficient organic machine that, given enough centuries, will convert the Martian atmosphere into something that very much resembles our own.

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