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Elon Musk on Nuking Mars, Greenhouse Effect and CO2

Tesla CEO Elon Musk knows how to terraform Mars.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk knows how to terraform Mars.

Right now on Earth, the greenhouse effect is seen as a bad thing, but it’s easy to see why it’s important when looking at Mars. The red planet has no atmosphere and is therefore too cold for humans to inhabit anytime soon.

This is partly because there is no greenhouse effect. It’s important to trap at least some heat. That’s why, if we ever want to live on the planet as Tesla CEO Elon Musk hopes, we need to learn how to terraform Mars.

Musk has a novel idea to use nuclear bombs to warm up the planet. That makes him sound like a supervillain, but the explosions would be too small to actually blow the planet up.

The bombs would go off far above the surface of Mars so that they would be similar to the Earth’s sun. At its core, the reactions that cause heat to radiate from the sun are basically the same as the ones happening in a nuclear reactor, known as fission reactions.

The bombs would be sent up in a series, one after another, as each exploded above the atmosphere and dissipated. There would be two explosions at a time, one over each pole. Eventually, that would “gasify frozen carbon dioxide, thicken the atmosphere and warm up the water and all of that would have a greenhouse effect. Have a cascading effect to continue warming up the planet”, explained Musk.

On Friday, Musk detailed his plan at SolarCity’s solar panel launch event in New York as reported by Mashable’s Lance Ulanoff.

Colonizing another planet is so close to science fiction that it may seem implausible. However, it could help us solve two  of the world’s major problems: climate change and overpopulation.

Image (c) Mashable/Lance Ulanoff

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