Jose Canseco Shares Plan To Nuke Mars You Have To See To Not Quite Believe

“If we could get ammonia to Mars we could make an atmosphere.” And thus began a series of tweets by Jose Canseco that left many a Twitter user scratching their heads.

On Thursday, Canseco tweeted out his plan for making Mars suitable for human life as quickly as possible.

To be entirely fair to Canseco, the idea to “nuke” Mars didn’t exactly start with the former Major League Baseball player. According to CNet, the suggestion that humans launch a nuclear strike on the red planet came from Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk.

During an appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Musk suggested humans nuke Mars to bring about rapid climate change. CNet was quick to point out that this “plan” was indicative of someone rushing results, rather advocating the “slow way.”

Elon certainly seemed to have made a believer out of Jose, who took to the internet to elaborate on how best to make Mars a place humanity could thrive, “according to his calculations.”

Before going any further, one has to stop and ask what “ammonia” has to do with anything. Why suggest ammonia? Well, believe it or not, Jose seems to have a valid reason to bring the substance up — assuming that nitrification is what the ex-baller had in mind. Nitrification is just one part of the nitrogen cycle, an important cycle for the development of an atmosphere that would make life sustainable.

You can get a look at the process in the chart below.

Nitrogen cycle key words: nitrifying bacteria; nitrogen fixing bacteria, denitrifying bacteria. #reviseB1

— Mrs M Wiggins (@MrsMWiggins) May 17, 2013

Poor Jose Canseco was close, but no Cuban cigars. You see, the nitrification process doesn’t exactly involve transporting ammonia itself. The ammonia that’s created as part of the cycle is produced by way of decomposing bacteria. This process is followed by denitrification, a process also involving bacteria. According to Science Learning, these bacteria rely on nitrate rather than oxygen for energy, releasing nitrogen gas into the atmosphere.

Nothing researched for this article suggests that simply introducing ammonia itself to Mars without the necessary catalysts will produce the desired effect. On to the next Jose Canseco tweet.

As previously mentioned, the idea to detonate nuclear explosives on Mars didn’t start with Jose. So let’s look at his estimation of water on Mars. The search for water on the red planet is an ongoing and very challenging process. Space writes that water on the planet as we know it isn’t something that’s been seen on Mars in billions of years.

NASA did announce the discovery of liquid water on Mars back in September.

“We found the hydrated salts only when the seasonal features were widest, which suggests that either the dark streaks themselves or a process that forms them is the source of the hydration. In either case, the detection of hydrated salts on these slopes means that water plays a vital role in the formation of these streaks.”

Nothing in the enthusiastic announcement by NASA verified how much water remains on the barren planet. It would be interesting to learn by what method Jose Canseco was able to determine not only the amount of water present on Mars, but also how deep the oceans would be after successfully terraforming it.

This may be the point where we veer into “not sure if serious” territory. First, Triton isn’t a moon of Saturn. It’s actually a moon belonging to Neptune. Triton is also one of the few geologically active moons in our solar system. What he likely meant was Titan.

Even if we somehow rapidly developed the technology to free Titan from Saturn’s gravitational pull, nothing good could come from then sending it hurling through the asteroid belt with the hope of it hitting Mars — instead of Earth. Even if it hits its intended target, we are entirely too close to Mars (and all the huge chunks of flying space rocks resulting from this process) for that plan to do anything but ultimately end all life as we know it.

Is Jose Canseco bothered by the possibility that his plans would do more harm than good? Apparently not, since Jose follows up these creative tweets with assurances he has not forgotten about the “missing magnetic field.”

Although his Mars suggestions seem to be ground more in fantasy than fact, Canseco provided some uniquely entertaining insight into hopes to one day populate our crimson neighbor.

[Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images]