Elon Musk Wants To Terraform Mars Using Satellites, Instead Of Nuking It

Elon Musk, the SpaceX and Tesla CEO, shocked the public earlier this week when he tweeted his idea to warm Mars using nuclear bombs. However, it appears he changed his mind as he proposes a new idea: to terraform Mars using satellites. He has always shared his excitement about colonizing the red planet, although the idea of using satellites to warm it hasn’t come up before.

Musk took his idea to Twitter, where he wrote that instead of using nuclear weapons, he’d use “thousands of solar reflector satellites,” which would help warm Mars, enabling it to sustain life as we know it on Earth.

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Earlier this week, he tweeted about the idea of melting the ice caps on the polar halves on Mars, which would in turn release vast amounts of carbon dioxide into Mars’ thin atmosphere. The gathering carbon dioxide would then trap the warmth in the planet’s thin atmosphere through the greenhouse effect.

It was unclear whether his proposal was real, especially since this is not the first time he has spoken about using nuclear weapons on the red planet, but he also tweeted about the upcoming T-shirt merchandise which would say “Nuke Mars!” According to him, nuking Mars would prepare it for human arrival.

However, in a follow-up tweet regarding his idea to terraform Mars using satellites, Musk justified that the idea for “Nuke Mars” referred to a system which would provide a continuous stream of very small nuclear fusion explosions above the atmosphere which would generate artificial suns, causing the planet to warm up faster, adding that this approach wouldn’t cause any unwanted effects for potential human visitors or cause Mars to become radioactive.

Musk’s followers were quick to react to his ideas. One follower asked him via Twitter if there are any risks to the idea he is proposing. However, Musk responded saying that this approach is not risky, and that it can be adjusted for the Martian conditions, as well as improved over time.

As mentioned above, this is not the first time Musk has proposed odd or unconventional ideas. In an interview with Stephen Colbert during his television show in 2015, he spoke about his idea to terraform Mars by inserting greenhouse gases. He said that the best way to make the planet habitable and suitable for upcoming colonists is to drop nuclear bombs to melt its frozen poles. Earlier this week, he proposed a similar idea.

However, as NASA-led research from 2018 concluded, current technology may not suffice in sustaining life on Mars, so Musk’s idea to terraform Mars using satellites may not be the best idea either.

“Transforming the inhospitable Martian environment into a place astronauts could explore without life support is not possible without technology well beyond today’s capabilities,” the space agency said in a release.