By CCN.com: Elon Musk has leaked more of his plans to make Mars habitable. The SpaceX boss tweeted an alternative idea to warm the red planet’s inhospitable surface via the use of reflective satellites. While the “Nuke Mars” slogan has been attracting a lot of attention, these latest ideas demonstrate just how seriously Musk is taking this project.
The prospect of exploding a nuclear bomb on Mars to create atmosphere-forming greenhouses gases is such an ambitious project that it could only have come from the mind of Elon Musk. Now though, the SpaceX boss is thinking about less spectacular options. If a nuclear reaction isn’t going to be successful (and many believe it wouldn’t be), Musk needs a plan B.
Using reflective satellites is certainly a less sexy option than using intermittent nuclear blasts to create artificial suns, but it might be more straightforward. The danger associated with “Nuke Mars” is creating a nuclear winter, making the planet even less hospitable than it already is. There is also the chance that no atmosphere would form at all; warming satellites wouldn’t be nearly so risky. Contrary to these views, Musk has personally made it clear he doesn’t believe there are serious risks of Mars being drenched in radiation.
Creating satellite constellations is something with which SpaceX has a large amount of experience. The company’s “Starlink” project to develop affordable Wi-Fi is already underway. Add Tesla’s solar panel experience to the mix, and Musk has all the technology he needs to make this project work. Naturally, the biggest issue is that low-orbit satellites around the earth are a lot easier to position than 140 million miles away in Martian orbit.
The SpaceX CEO is not making any final decisions on this complex issue and is still able to see the funny side of his outrageous aspirations.
Musk has had a lot on his plate this week, whether it be reminding us that we don’t yet have any asteroid defense plans or relaunching Tesla Solar. Humankind will, therefore, forgive the Tesla boss for not having decided precisely how he is going to make Mars a lush paradise just yet.
Last modified: June 23, 2020 2:36 PM UTC