‘We Should Nuke Mars,’ Says Elon Musk, Electric Car Entrepreneur

Elon Musk, founder of Tesla, SpaceX, SolarCity, and PayPal, has suggested that we could explode nuclear weapons on Mars to prepare it for a future human colony.

“All it takes is the Mars equivalent of global warming or, if you’re in a hurry, nuclear bombs.”

The suggestion might seem dramatic, but the planet Mars has only 1/100th the atmosphere of Earth, which means it cannot retain heat from the Sun. This means that global warming, which would upset Earth’s delicate climate, is something that would be good for a planet like Mars that is thin on atmosphere.

The short of it is that the more carbon dioxide gas put into the air, the warmer the air.

Mars is full of frozen carbon dioxide gas (CO2). CO2 is abundant on the poles of Mars and distributed just below the rusty brown soil throughout, as various Mars rovers have discovered. In fact, a “whole atmosphere” of dry ice exists at the Mars South Pole alone. It is a one step process that involves simply getting the temperature high enough to convert frozen carbon dioxide to a gas. unlike H2O (water), CO2 converts directly from frozen to gas. This is what drives fog machines on stage — dry ice (frozen carbon dioxide) — is placed in water, which warms the ice to a gas.

Dropping a thermonuclear bomb on the South Pole of Mars would, in a matter of minutes, release enough atmosphere to begin trapping the heat from the sun and, in turn, fast track the planet to support a future colony of Earthians seeking an escape from the runaway greenhouse effect at home, i.e. global warming. Musk said in an interview that Mars can be jump started “the fast way.”

“The slow way is to release greenhouse gases, the same process being blamed for global warming on Earth. The fast way is to drop nuclear weapons over Mars’ poles.”

Why is colonizing Mars even being considered? Elon Musk has bet his future on sustainable technologies and is vocal in his criticism of fossil fuel dependence.

Moreover, Elon Musk owns his own rocket firm, SpaceX, which will privately contract with NASA and other space agencies to ferry astronauts to and from the International Space Station (ISS), so Musk’s space enterprises might, in the future, involve such objectives as terraforming Mars.

Musk is not the first to suggest this radical idea. Michio Kaku, a celebrity physicist, describes the process in a YouTube video.

And so, Elon Musk’s suggestion of nuking Mars might be the only way if we cannot get Earth to stop heating. What do you think of Musk’s suggestion of nuking Mars? Feel free to comment below.

[Image courtesy of National Atomic Testing Museum /Las Vegas]