Elon Musk reiterates call to 'nuke Mars'

SpaceX boss wants to terraform the Red Planet with nuclear weapons

Anthony Cuthbertson
Monday 19 August 2019 16:01 BST
Elon Musk reccommends warming Mars by dropping nuclear weapons

Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk has once again called for Mars to be blasted with nuclear weapons in order to make the planet habitable for humans.

The SpaceX boss first shared his idea to terraform Mars in 2014, claiming that by detonating nuclear bombs at its poles the ice caps would melt and the planet would heat up enough for humans to comfortably live on it.

"It is a fixer upper of a planet," he told US TV host Stephen Colbert. "Eventually you can transform Mars into an Earth-like planet. You'd warm it up.

"There's a fast way and a slow way. The fast way is drop thermonuclear weapons over the poles."

Despite being called a super villain by Colbert, five years later Mr Musk has reiterated his intention through a series of tweets and a new t-shirt being sold by SpaceX.

Mr Musk even changed his Twitter profile picture to an image displaying the t-shirt's slogan: "Nuke Mars."

Part of the plan involves the nuclear bombs freeing up carbon dioxide into the atmosphere so that humans can breath the air.

But a recent study in Nature Astronomy concluded that "terraforming Mars is not possible using present-day technology".

One concern is that the nuclear weapons would throw up massive clouds that would block out the sunlight and instead cause the planet to cool down even further.

It is not the first time Mr Musk has used merchandise to fund his companies. In 2018, The Boring Company sold $5 million-worth of flamethrowers in just 48 hours to help finance the tunnel-digging venture.

SpaceX hopes to one day transport humans to Mars, and Mr Musk has previously stated that colonising the red planet is imperative for the survival of the human species.

He has also said that he wants to "die on Mars, not just on impact".

Any profits from the $25 t-shirt on SpaceX's website are unlikely to go towards actually carrying out the plan. Instead, more near-term launch projects will likely be prioritised. The Independent has reached out to SpaceX for comment.

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