In an appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, SpaceX and Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk suggested the idea of nuking Mars.

No, Musk does not want to declare war on the currently uninhabitable planet. Musk just thinks that detonating nukes in Mars is an option to make the planet more hospitable to the human race.

The average temperature on the planet is similar to what can be experienced on Antarctica during winter. According to Musk, there are two ways to transform Mars into a livable place by warming up the planet's temperature. The first option is the slower way of releasing greenhouse gas into the planet, which is the same process that is now being blamed for the issue of global warming here on Earth.

The faster, second option is to detonate thermonuclear bombs at the poles of Mars. This prompted a reaction from Colbert to label Musk a supervillain.

"Superman doesn't say we'll drop thermonuclear bombs, that's Lex Luthor, man," Colbert said.

While terraforming Mars into a habitat for humans has long been under consideration due to the possibility of the Earth one day becoming uninhabitable, would nuking the Red Planet be the best method to do so?

Mars, while currently looking like a dead and dry planet, has polar ice caps that contain equal parts carbon dioxide and water. If nukes were to be detonated to vaporize the ice caps, the materials would be released into the planet's atmosphere.

Once the atmosphere of Mars becomes thick enough, the greenhouse effect could come into play. The sun's energy would be absorbed by Mars then trapped within its atmosphere, which would continue to heat up the planet. This would lead to the formation of more carbon dioxide, and eventually, the surface pressure of the planet would be high enough to allow for the existence of liquid water and the growth of plants to produce oxygen.

"You could start turning Mars from a red planet into a green planet," said Michael Shara, curator of the American Museum of Natural History's astrophysics department.

However, not all experts are sold on Musk's idea.

"It seems possible to make it earth-like, but there's a lot of barriers to overcome," said University of Colorado, Boulder professor Brian Toon, adding that detonating bombs might not be a good idea.

While thermonuclear bombs could possibly warm up Mars, they would not be able to increase the planet's temperature to levels seen on Earth, according to University of Washington affiliate associate professor Joshua Bandfield. In addition, setting off bombs could alter the planet's terrain, making it difficult for experts to understand Mars fully.

While experts are divided on Musk's proposal, users have taken to Twitter to express their thoughts on the idea to detonate nukes on Mars.

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Tags: Elon Musk Mars