If just any guy off the street advised Stephen Colbert that we should give serious consideration to nuking Mars you’d immediately assume it was a bit from the new Late Night host’s stint as a Daily Show correspondent. The genius of Elon Musk is that when he says it your brain responds: “Go on.”
“It is a fixer-upper of a planet,” Musk mused last night on Colbert. “But eventually you could transform Mars into an Earth-like planet.”
The trick is an inverse of what we’ve inadvertently done to Earth: Introduce enough carbon dioxide into the red planet’s atmosphere, melt the frozen stores of carbon dioxide, and after a while it becomes a self-sustaining loop. Your grandpa’s way would be setting up a lot of pumps and generators. Snooze. Or we could Musk this sucker up by detonating a few well-placed thermonuclear devices at the planet’s poles. We blow a mushroom cloud worth of humanity in Mother Nature’s face and all she can do is sit there grooving on it. Boom, instant climate change.
Colbert could only call Musk’s ideas the ramblings of a super villain, which, considering his SpaceX rockets would be primed to deliver the payload, is not an unreasonable assumption.