Some expedition advocates would favor to terraform Mars, making it an less complicated place for humans to live.(Image credit: NASA/J. Bell (Cornell U.) and also M. Wolff (SSI))

Four year ago, the lasignoralaura.comX founder and also CEO go on "The Late present With Stephen Colbert" and discussed a strategy because that making the Red Planet an ext livable: detonating nuclear bombs over its poles. The explosions would vaporize a fair chunk the Mars" ice cream caps, liberating sufficient water vapor and also carbon dioxide — both potent greenhouse gases — to heat up the planet substantially, the idea goes.

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This terraforming concept is apparently still bouncing around in Musk"s head, due to the fact that on Thursday (Aug. 15), the tweeted, seemingly unprompted, "Nuke Mars!" A few hours later, he followed up with another tweet: "T-shirt soon."

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If Musk is serious about nuking the Red planet —and it"s possible that he"s not — he"ll need to overcome significant skepticism. Because that starters, plenty of scientists and also exploration advocates have actually concerns about any terraforming effort: do we have the ideal to basically transform another world — particularly one that might host its own uniquely adjusted life also today — for our own purposes?

In addition, the strategy can not even work. A 2018 study published in the prestigious journal Nature Astronomy concluded that Mars doesn"t harbor sufficient CO2 this day to achieve far-ranging warming also if all the stuff to be liberated right into the atmosphere. "As a result, we conclude the terraforming Mars is not feasible using contemporary technology," the researcher wrote.

(The examine team additionally explained why the did not take into consideration water together a warming agent. "Previous models that atmospheric warming have demonstrated the water cannot provide significant warming by itself; temperatures execute not enable enough water to persist as vapor without first having significant warming through CO2," the team members wrote.)

But the nuke principle could it is in worse than ineffectual, some scientists have said. Namely, it can backfire, introducing a "phenomenon recognized as "nuclear winter" (akin come the asteroid impact that eliminated off the dinosaurs), inside you generate so much dust and particles the they literally block the end a significant portion of the just arrive sunlight, cooling down the planet," climate scientist Michael Mann of pen State college told U.S. News and also World Report via email in 2015.

Transforming frigid, dry and also radiation-blasted Mars into a much more clement world aligns v Musk"s long-term goals. He wants to aid humanity colonize the Red Planet, and also he"s structure a lasignoralaura.comflight device to help make it take place —a 100-passenger lasignoralaura.comship referred to as Starship and also a vast rocket well-known as at sight Heavy. The reusable duo could start launching satellites as at an early stage as 2021 and also people by 2023, lasignoralaura.comX representatives have said.

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Mike Wall"s book around the search for extraterrestrial life, "Out There" (Grand main Publishing, 2018; depicted by Karl Tate), is the end now. Follow him ~ above Twitter

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* an elderly WRITER — Michael has been creating for since 2010. His book around the search for extraterrestrial life, "Out There," was published on Nov. 13, 2018. Before becoming a science writer, Michael worked as a herpetologist and also wildlife biologist. He has a Ph.D. In evolutionary biology from the college of Sydney, Australia, a bachelor"s level from the university of Arizona, and also a graduate certificate in scientific research writing native the college of California, Santa Cruz. To uncover out what his latest job is, you can follow Michael onTwitter.