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Space & Astronomy

Musk will need 10,000 nukes to terraform Mars

May 19, 2020 | Comment icon 23 comments



Is nuking Mars a viable option for terraforming ? Image Credit: SpaceX
The SpaceX CEO has responded to the claim that his plans to terraform the Red Planet are largely impractical.
While the idea of turning the hostile atmosphere of Mars into a habitable environment for humans - a process known as terraforming - is nothing new, Elon Musk raised eyebrows back in 2015 when he suggested that the most effective way to accomplish such a feat would be to drop thermonuclear weapons at the planet's polar regions in an effort to warm up the atmosphere.

Unsurprisingly, the idea was met with a substantial degree of skepticism, with critics pointing out that such a method would leave Mars saturated in deadly nuclear fallout for thousands of years.

Now Alexander Bloshenko - a senior figure at Roscosmos - has entered the debate by highlighting during a recent interview with Russian news agency TASS just how impractical the idea actually is.

"If briefly analyzed, certain plans put forward by SpaceX simply cannot be implemented taking into account the short-term technological developments," he said.

"For example, for a thermonuclear explosion on Mars' pole, one of the plans of SpaceX, to have tangible results, more than 10,000 launches of missiles that can carry the largest payloads and are being developed now are needed."
Despite this stupefying hurdle however, Musk himself didn't seem too phased.

"No problem," he responded on Twitter.

Could Musk know something we don't or was his response intended to be tongue-in-cheek ?

Either way, it seems that we can safely rule out the option of nuking Mars anytime soon.

Source: Inverse | Comments (23)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #14 Posted by Tatetopa 2 years ago
Being on Mars with a couple of thousand people, 20% of which believe contamination protocols are a hoax and an imposition on their freedom might not go all that well.
Comment icon #15 Posted by DarkHunter 2 years ago
There is no known viable way to generate a thick enough atmosphere within decades or centuries. To put it into perspective the mass of earths atmosphere is approximately 5.1×10^18 kg.  Mars depending on if you want to go by mass or volume is about 11% to 15% the size of Earth.  If you assume you would only need approximately 11% to 15% of Earth's atmosphere on mars given that Mars atmosphere has a mass of approximately 2.5×10^16 kg you would still need to increase the atmosphere on mars by 53.6×10^16 kg and 74×10^16 kg.  To put it another way you would need to increase the total atmosphere of ... [More]
Comment icon #16 Posted by Essan 2 years ago
Someone just needs to tell our cheap wannabe Tony Stark that Total Recall was not a documentary   
Comment icon #17 Posted by Aardvark-DK 2 years ago
That comes from a man, who will call his new son : X AE A-XII  ????
Comment icon #18 Posted by Jarocal 2 years ago
If it is a one way emigration to Mars no exchange occurs. well at least not where I live... I would be content for the settlers to simply transmit back the data on what they find. Of course if any of the transmissions mention "Protomolecule" maybe we should let Musk have his 10,000 nukes.
Comment icon #19 Posted by Piney 2 years ago
How many of you Morlocks plan on leaving your caves and moving to Mars with no Eloi co-eds living there? I'm saying the settlers bring something with them that wipes out the indigenous buggies. Sorta 'Martian Chronicles' but on a microscopic scale. 
Comment icon #20 Posted by Jarocal 2 years ago
Not this one, he is perfectly content with his current cave. Would not be the first time human exploration has had a detrimental effect on previously uncontacted ecosystems. But we still have not quite yet managed to wipe out all of the indigenous inhabitants of them in the last half millennia. Some of those indigenous organisms have even expanded their sway globally (maize, tomatoes, tequila).
Comment icon #21 Posted by Piney 2 years ago
Tobacco, peyote, cocaine. 
Comment icon #22 Posted by micahc 2 years ago
Mars is flat.
Comment icon #23 Posted by third_eye 2 years ago
Oblong actually... with a soft nougat and a great tasting caramel centre... ~


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