As I was looking at another students post about terra-forming Mars, I was inspired to do a little digging about the possibility of artificially creating an atmosphere for the Red Planet. Mars currently does not have a strong magnetosphere, meaning that whatever atmosphere would normally be found around the planet is extremely vulnerable to solar winds. One suggestion to circumvent this problem would be to build a small magnetic field for Mars, so that other terra-forming operations could proceed.
This article discusses a NASA proposition to do exactly that. The project would place a large man-made shield to deflect solar wind which would normally deplete the planet’s atmosphere. The article suggests that theoretically, this device would allow Mars’ surface temperature to rise by about 4 degrees Celsius, which may be enough to free enough of the carbon dioxide held in polar ice caps to thicken the atmosphere. The thicker atmosphere would then begin the greenhouse effect, which would heat the surface even further, potentially making life more sustainable on Mars.