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Here’s why Elon Musk wants to ‘nuke Mars’

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Elon Musk took to Twitter last week, first tweeting just two words, “Nuke Mars” followed by another tweet that announced, “T-shirt soon.”

A few hours after that, Musk shared a mock-up of a T-shirt with the phrase ‘NUKE MARS’ on the front. Another version of the shirt showed Mars’ gradual transformation into an Earth-like planet.

You can buy the T-shirt from the shop section on Space X, no jokes. They sell for $25, but we doubt the funds from selling shirts will actually go towards nuking Mars.

Why Elon Musk wants to nuke Mars…

Hold on, there might be method Musk’s madness. Back in 2015, Musk shared in an interview his strategy for making the red planet livable again. And that plan involves detonating nuclear bombs of Mars’ poles.

“There’s a fast way and a slow way. The fast way is drop thermonuclear weapons over the poles.”

At the time, Stephen Colbert likened him to “a real Tony Stark”, and later referred to him as either a “superhero or a supervillain”. Musk simply responded that he tries to “do good things.”

Musk postulates that the thermonuclear explosions would vaporise chunks of ice from the caps, “liberating enough water vapour and carbon dioxide to warm up the planet.”

He believes that it would then create a greenhouse effect and a version of climate change to create conditions similar to what we experience on Earth. In short, it’s a terraforming concept, but it’s not without flaws.

… but it might not work

Apart from his sceptics pointing out the plan wouldn’t work – a study concluded that Mars doesn’t have enough CO2 – there’s also the ethical dilemma that comes from terraforming a planet.

Do we have the right to terraform a planet for our own purposes? It may be time that we begin to take that question more seriously.

The study, published in Nature Astronomy, highlights that fact that we don’t have the technology yet to terraform mars. In addition, detonating nuclear weapons over the planet’s poles could bring about what is known as a ‘nuclear winter.’

“Recent observations have been made of the loss of Mars’s atmosphere to space by the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution Mission probe and the Mars Express spacecraft, along with analyses of the abundance of carbon-bearing minerals and the occurrence of CO2 in polar ice from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and the Mars Odyssey spacecraft.”

The race for Mars

Nevertheless, Musk is determined to put humans on Mars, sooner rather than later. Space X is currently working on the Starship program, with Starhopper vehicles being built in Texas and Florida as we speak.

The 100-passenger spaceship and the Super Heavy rocket could potentially start launching satellites as early as 2021 and people by 2023, if Musk gets his way.

(Source: The South African)


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