Life on Mars might be like this. You’d live in giant glass domes, and grow small portions of food inside. And if you happen to go outside, it would be in your big clunky spacesuit, and you wouldn’t be able to stay out for long.
But it doesn’t have to be like this. Mars could end up looking and feeling a lot more like your planet, Earth. But how?
Well, we could nuke it! Wait! What? Would dropping nukes on Mars make it easier to live there?
Believe it or not, this is something scientists have considered for decades. Elon Musk of SpaceX seems to think that nuking Mars might be one of the best and quickest options to make it a place where humans could live.
The idea is that we would explode thermonuclear bombs in the sky over the planet’s two poles. This would heat up the ice caps, and release carbon dioxide and water from the poles.
Then, the greenhouse effect would take place. It would heat up the whole planet, making the surface more habitable.
This sounds super quick and easy! So why haven’t we done this yet?
It’s because there’s a high chance that nuking Mars might not work out the way we want it to. There are many things that could go wrong with this plan.
The first problem is it’s all just theory, and the theory could be wrong. That’s because Mars has been losing its atmosphere for a long time.
Earth’s atmosphere is almost 100 times thicker than Mars’. And if we’re going to live on Mars, it needs a thicker atmosphere.
Some scientists think we could release CO2 from the North and South Poles, and this could make Mars’ atmosphere more like Earth’s. But a 2018 study, published in “Nature Astronomy,” found that even if the nukes are
successful, it would only increase Mars’ atmosphere to 7% of Earth’s.
Even if we create more carbon dioxide in Mars’ atmosphere, it still wouldn’t be nearly enough to heat the planet. And the planet could seriously use more heat, since its current temperature averages around -63°C (-81.4°F).
And it would take decades for the red planet to warm up, even after it gained the extra CO2. So, in theory, this could delay humans from even landing on Mars.
Not only that, but this assumes that dropping thermonuclear bombs on the planet would go perfectly. Keep in mind that these are nukes. You know, the things that can destroy entire cities?
In fact, the bombs we’d use on Mars would be 1,000 times stronger than the ones used in WWII. If a bomb exploded on the planet’s surface, instead of up in the atmosphere, some severe damage would occur.
Not only would it completely destroy parts of the planet’s surface, it would also cause even more radiation. That would also delay us from living on Mars.
It’s also very likely that instead of warming Mars, a bomb could cause a nuclear winter. This could happen from the dust and particles in the atmosphere caused by nuclear explosions.
They’d almost entirely block out the Sun, causing Mars to cool down even more. So, nuking Mars probably isn’t the best idea.
And maybe we should get some humans on the planet in its natural state before we start trying to change it. But what if we nuked another planet, like Venus?
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- “Hydrogen bomb vs atomic bomb: What’s the difference?”. aljazeera.com. Accessed August 23 2019.
- “Elon Musk Floats ‘Nuke Mars’ Idea Again (He Has T-Shirts)”. Wall, Mike. 2019. space.com. Accessed August 23 2019.
- “Elon Musk’s New Idea: Nuke Mars – CNN“. Todd Leopold, CNN. 2019. CNN. Accessed August 23 2019.
- “Inventory Of CO2 Available For Terraforming Mars”. Jakosky, Bruce M., and Christopher S. Edwards. 2018. Nature Astronomy 2 (8): 634-639. Springer Science and Business Media LLC. doi:10.1038/s41550-018-0529-6.
- “Elon Musk Is Once Again On A Quest To ‘Nuke Mars’”. Siegal, Jacob, Chris Smith, and Maren Estrada. 2019. BGR. Accessed August 23 2019.
- “Toxic Mars: Astronauts Must Deal With Perchlorate On The Red Planet”. David, Leonard. 2013. space.com. Accessed August 23 2019.
- “Thermal Decomposition Of Calcium Perchlorate/Iron-Mineral Mixtures: Implications Of The Evolved Oxygen From The Rocknest Eolian Deposit In Gale Crater, Mars”. Bruck, A. M., B. Sutter, D. W. Ming, and P. Mahaffy. 2014. ntrs.nasa.gov. Accessed August 23 2019.