JUKEBOX

Housewarming on Mars

JUKEBOX

Mars needs to be heated up to allow human life to survive. So, how do you do that? The fast way is to employ the good ol' nuke, says Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk. On The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Musk, also the owner of rocket company SpaceX, dropped a bomb about dropping a bomb.

He said the Red Planet is currently a “fixer-upper”, but could be made habitable by dropping “thermonuclear weapons over the poles”.

Ludicrous, said some; theoretically possible, echoed others.

Malcolm Macdonald, a scientist at the UK Space Agency, said people should not be too hasty to dismiss Musk as he probably thought his idea through. “I have sanity-checked things Elon Musk has said in the past and they do tend to be possible in theory,” he said.

But, even if such a “housewarming” is possible, there are other risks. Nukes could lead to long-term radiation, which would affect the humans crazy enough to stay there. The blasts could also wipe out any form of life on the planet, a subject scientists are still divided on. Plus, transporting the weapons is another dicey task.

Aware that he had sparked a heated debate, Musk later sent out a tweet that read: “Btw, not saying we should nuke Mars—just layin' out a few options”.

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The Week

Topics : #offbeat | #space

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