News & Opinion | July 31, 2018 11:43 am

Mars Cannot Be Terraformed With Current Technology, Says NASA

We won't turn the red planet into Earth II anytime soon.

mars
The Mars helicopter (NASA / JPL-CALTECH)

In a The Late Show with Stephen Colbert appearance two years ago, Elon Musk said he wanted to nuke Mars. The idea was to create two “pulsing suns” over the poles with fusion bombs, explains Mashable, which would release trapped carbon dioxide to thicken the atmosphere and therefore warm the planet. People could then take a spaceship to Mars and start living on a more habitable planet.

This is called terraforming, writes Mashable — altering a planet to make it more like Earth.

But a NASA-sponsored study published in Nature Astronomy said that this plan won’t actually work because there is not enough carbon dioxide trapped on Mars to make it work.

Study leader Bruce Jakosky of the University of Colorado, Boulder said that “terraforming Mars is not possible using present-day technology.” That doesn’t mean terraforming Mars is impossible, just that it can’t be done with current technology.