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If humans want to live on Mars we'll need to nuke it first; Pioneer Elon Musk's plan to heat up planet.

Byline: jeff parsons reporters@dailyrecord.co.uk

IF HUMANS want to settle on Mars, we're going to have to bomb it first.

That's the view of SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk, who claimed that a nuclear strike on Mars' poles would help heat up the planet.

The billionaire said: "It's a fixer-upper of a planet." According to Musk, Mars needs to be warmed up before humans can hope to settle there. Apparently, there's a fast and a slow way of doing that.

The slow way would involve gradually building up greenhouse gases inside the Martian atmosphere.

During an appearance on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert in the US, Musk said: "The fast way is drop thermonuclear weapons over the poles."

The Red Planet has been the focus of his attention for some time and he admitted he would like to go there.

However, Mars' average temperature is -62C and the atmosphere is less than one per cent oxygen - meaning a spacesuit would have to be worn constantly.

Around 40 per cent of the energy released from a nuclear bomb is heat - so there would be plenty to warm up the desolate planet.

While dropping nukes on Mars is probably ill-advised, the planet does suffer from explosive meteor impacts.

Back in March, Mars-watchers spotted what looked like a nuclear mushroom cloud on the surface - something that could have been caused by one of these impacts.

Peter Muller, head of the Imaging Group at the Mullard Space Science Laboratory, said: "Mushroom clouds can form naturally from impact craters or volcanic explosions.

"There is no known volcanic activity on Mars so it is most likely the result of a meteoritic impact.

"Twenty of these smack into Mars every year but usually meteorites are only a few tens of centimetres in size."

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MARS ATTACK Elon Musk wants to visit the red planet

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Sep 12, 2015
Words:312
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