Elon Musk talked about colonizing Mars with Colbert on Wednesday’s “The Late Show.”
When asked what he suggests be done to make Mars livable, Musk simply replied, “Drop thermonuclear weapons over the poles.”
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The average temperature on Mars is similar to that of Antarctica in the winter, said Brian Toon, professor of atmospheric and oceanic sciences at the University of Colorado, Boulder, who co-wrote a paper in 1991 about making the Red Planet habitable.
“It seems possible to make it earthlike, but there’s a lot of barriers to overcome,” Toon said. “Blowing up bombs is not a good one.”
Thermonuclear weapons could be used to warm the planet, but that might not be enough to warm it to “earthlike” levels, said Joshua Bandfield, an affiliate associate professor of earth and space sciences at the University of Washington and a senior research scientist at the Boulder-based Space Science Institute.