Why NASA Disagrees With Elon Musk’s Plan To Nuke-Mars

Why NASA Disagrees With Elon Musk's Plan To Nuke-Mars

NASA opposes Elon Musk’s ambitions to “nuke” Mars because the concept is untested and unproven. For those who are unaware, Elon Musk plans to deploy nuclear bombs above the mars poles to create artificial pulsating suns, which can melt the ice caps and release icy carbon dioxide and water into the Martian atmosphere, resulting in a global climate change on Mars.

While I think this is an excellent concept because there isn’t a better plan for terraforming Mars, we have no clue how much ice there is at Mars’ poles.

If the Martian poles melt, it may raise atmospheric pressure by 2x to 20x, equivalent to 1.2% to 12% of the thickness of the Earth’s atmosphere. Let us suppose that it will raise the Martian atmosphere to approximately 6.6% the thickness of the Earth. That is enough to have liquid water on the Martian surface and possibly start the planet’s global warming process.

However, even if there is enough ice, there would also have to be enough uranium to construct the nukes that would destroy the pole, which is a lot of uranium. Overall, NASA opposes “nuking” Mars because it will be challenging and unlikely to succeed.

Fortunately, Musk has now clarified what he meant. He intends to explode nuclear weapons on Mars’ poles, vaporizing the planet’s ice caps and releasing massive amounts of water vapour and CO2 into the Martian atmosphere, which will result in an uncontrollable greenhouse effect. As the planet’s temperature increases owing to the greenhouse gasses produced by the explosions, the Martian rocks heat up and emit more CO2, which warms the Earth even more, releasing still more CO2, and so on.


It would result in a planet with a comparable temperature to Earth but a considerably thicker atmosphere with liquid water. All we’d need to do to finish the transition is get a few plants to pump out some oxygen, and we’re good! We’ve moved to a new world. So Musk’s goal is to “nuke” Mars and turn it into a genuine Paradise for Musk to control over.

Okay, maybe leave out the governing bit, but you get the idea. Use nuclear bombs to liberate resources on Mars that can perform all of the terraforming for humanity! Doesn’t it sound fantastic? We’ll launch a couple of thousand bombs to Mars, and then you’ll have a second Earth. Musk, on the other hand, may have rushed into this one without considering it through. What a surprise! This terraforming scheme of his has several problems.

To begin with, the number of nuclear devices required is enormous. According to estimates, such a manoeuvre would need the use of nearly 10,000 of the biggest nuclear weapons. Given that the globe only possesses around 13,000 of these nukes, Musk may have a tough time getting hands on them, much alone transporting them to Mars. However. It may unintentionally bring mutually assured destruction to an end.

When a large number of nuclear weapons are detonated, the danger of a nuclear winter increases. Dust and debris would be sent into the atmosphere as a result of the explosion. Mars’ tremendous wind speed will hold it there for years, blotting off the Sun, just like extinction. As a result, the temperature on the surface plummets! As all of the water freezes, the emitted greenhouse gases are reabsorbed, possibly leaving Mars colder than when we began. Also, there is radiation. A magnetic field and an ozone layer are both absent on Mars. It implies that the surface is exposed to the Sun’s lethal radiation. Despite Mars’ frigid temperature, the UV and cosmic radiation levels there are much higher than on Earth, necessitating the use of some fairly potent sunscreen.

If you then nuked it, the radiation levels flying around the globe would be dangerously high. Radioactive fallout would essentially contaminate the land, water, and air, preventing any life from surviving. It is particularly troubling given that the surface already possesses radiation levels considered hazardous for human settlement. So, if you want to live in a place, don’t start by blowing it up with nuclear bombs. So, I believe you’d agree that exacerbating the radiation is a terrible idea.


Finally, there is a significant issue with Musk’s proposal. According to recent research, there isn’t enough CO2 in the poles to produce the substantial climatic change required to start the runaway effect. Furthermore, all of the water vapour produced as a greenhouse gas and the seeds for future Mars seas would either be lost to space or condense out of the atmosphere quickly after the explosions. In summary, Mars lacks the resources to terraform itself; we must provide the minerals required to the planet.

Humanity is not yet strong enough to even contemplate altering the world to meet our wants. Elon is missing the mark here. To transform Mars into anything even slightly like Earth, much more than just warming it up is required. Decrease the toxicity of the atmosphere; introduce oxygen; raise the amount of H2O; reduce the toxicity of the soil; reduce cosmic radiation levels, and prevent the new denser atmosphere from being blown away by solar winds. no one can address any of these problems with a “big-old bomb!”


There’s also a chance that Mars contains a population of native creatures. We could wipe them out if we detonated even one nuclear weapon, much alone 10,000. Is it ethically acceptable to kill off perhaps the universe’s only other aliens to create a new home for us? Even if the aliens are just single-celled life.

There’s also a chance that Mars contains a population of native creatures. We could wipe them out if we detonated even one nuclear weapon, much alone 10,000. Is it ethically acceptable to kill off perhaps the universe’s only other aliens to create a new home for us? Even if the aliens are just single-celled life.

Musk has said that his next rocket, StarShip, would transport humans to Mars and establish a permanent base. His concept art for this project contains biodomes, which are required for such a mission. But, if you already have a permanent base on Mars, why would you bomb it to oblivion?

So, no, Musk was not correct when he said that we should detonate nuclear weapons on Mars; it just would not work. But it did get us talking about his Mars ambitions. And Musk is one of the only individuals who genuinely want to see humanity become an interplanetary species.

That is where the real thrill resides; we haven’t found a great answer to repair Mars all at once, but we live in a period when people are prepared to explore the planet that has tormented us for millennia. As a result, this is one of the most thrilling periods to be alive! So, continue fantasizing about Mars, but be grateful that it will be biospheres and bases rather than a nuclear apocalypse.



While individuals have differing opinions, NASA is skeptical about Elon Musk’s proposal to nuke Mars. The agency thinks that changing Mars with current technology is not feasible. Anyone in the proper state of mind would argue with such an idea since it’s a stupid idea and indicates that we aren’t thinking hard enough. The pressure of the atmosphere on Mars is less than 1% of the stress in Earth’s atmosphere. Any water vapour on the surface would evaporate or freeze very fast. Carbon dioxide (CO2) and water vapour (H2O) are the only greenhouse gases expected to be abundant enough on Mars to cause substantial greenhouse warming.