Nuke Mars T-Shirts

Elon Musk has tweeted out a picture of his Nuke Mars t-shirt.

Nextbigfuture reviewed the option of using nuclear options for getting most of the ice carbon dioxide into the Mars atmosphere to accelerate a greenhouse effect.

It would be easier and simpler to construct a very large mirror and use the right bacteria for Mars terraforming. Initial large scale habitation would be with greenhouse structures.

Constructing extremely large mirrors in space and placing a small 2-tesla magnet satellite about 1 million miles from Mars to protect erosion of atmosphere from the solar wind would be relatively easy.

53 thoughts on “Nuke Mars T-Shirts”

  1. It’s not just the distance. A moon orbits around your target, whereas a distant object has an unrelated orbit, which can much more easily intersect your target. Especially comets, which have very eccentric orbits.

  2. In another thread, someone has pointed out that newer H-bombs have an additional neutron reflector stage from U238. In a gigaton-class bomb you might have several such fission->fusion->fission layers.

    That extra uranium would add some fallout, but likely still little relative to the yield. And the other arguments still apply.

  3. To some extent, yes. But some of the radioactive fragments from those bombs will embed themselves in Phobos and irradiate nearby material, especially if you detonate them inside a hole to produce a more shaped blast with more ejecta (more thrust). That radioactive material will crash together with Phobos, and would still produce some fallout. Although successive bombs will blow most of the previous bombs’ radioactivity out into space so you’d mostly get the stuff from the last one. Which is an orders of magnitude reduction compared to detonating all those bombs on Mars – I’ll grant you that.

    But as others have pointed out, the fallout from large hydrogen bombs is small, because most of the energy comes from the fusion fuel, while most of the fallout comes from the much smaller fission trigger. Well, I suppose that’s not entirely accurate if you detonate near dense material, since you get neutron flux from the fusion reaction, which can irradiate the surroundings. More yield means more neutrons, and more surrounding material irradiated and displaced. But if much of that material is ice, the neutrons wouldn’t produce much radioactive isotopes.

    Anyway, the highly radioactive dangerous stuff has short half-lives, so it’ll quickly decay into less dangerous stuff. And finally, Mars is already irradiated naturally, likely to a far higher degree than you’d get by spreading that fallout over a large area. So fallout was never a problem on Mars to begin with.

  4. It is not counterintuitive. If you give a billard
    ball a little nudge, after two thousand miles it will have deviated a lot. But I like to bounce ideas
    here without thinking too much, I always learn
    something from the answers. The idea of slowing
    down the moon came to me while thinking about
    Orion megaships.

  5. So what good would orbital reflectors do for areas at the poles that get dust storms. Next to zero. Try to heat the planet that way get dust storms and voila didnt work. Large tethered reflective balloons at the poles. If placed at the right elevation any light getting by or through should then be reflected to the surface. Closer is better, as light at a distance dissipated to farther area and throught more particles in the atmosphere.

  6. The amount of work required to stop a moon in orbit is much, much greater than the amount required to change the orbit of some distant solar orbiting rock so that it eventually hits Mars.

    It’s counter intuitive but in terms of delta V it’s much easier to go from a cometary orbit to Mars impact than a moon orbit to Mars impact.

    And once you’ve got a settled Mars you’ll want some huge masses in orbit anyway (for all the various useful orbital projects), so you’ll need to replace the moons you just dropped.

  7. No I am framing it a little better to discuss (ie opposite of monologue) what the best problem statement really is.

    Planetary protection as argued in the OP is very arguable.

  8. It seems to me instead that you contested him
    the right to say that E=mc2, on the basis of him
    being a nobody ( which is by no means certain).
    That is, it seemed to me a deliberate attempt to
    humiliate him, when he said that finding life
    on another planet would be one of the most
    important discoveries of all time. Who could contest that? Richard Nixon ordered the Viking
    probes in the convinction that finding life on Mars would be a propaganda coup equivalent
    to the Moon landing.

  9. That would confuse the dysfunctions of peer review and the rest of the scientific institution etc, with the “platonic” restrictions of text-based discussion on a science-oriented article’s comment section.

    2+2 isn’t 5 if enough commenters say so, nevermind blindly appealing to the numbers and authority of absent “scientists” who are taken for granted to agree.

  10. Thanks for doing the calculations for me. I was
    tired. I said repeat as needed. With thousands
    such bombs KE can be nullified, and it will fall down like a rotten apple.

  11. You cannot make statistics based ona single point. Maybe
    extreme cooperation and curiosity are even more important innovation drivers. The more probable hypothesis is
    that we are neither the most violent nor the most cooperative,
    of course.

  12. I would argue that interstellar species are likely to be competitive, since competition drives innovation. But high competitiveness has the side effect of violence. Therefore, it’s unlikely that our violent nature is exceptional.

    Furthermore, technological species are likely to be predatory, since they need depth perception to make tech. Non-predatory species tend to favor peripheral vision to guard against predators.

  13. The total energy of Phobos, which will be released upon impact, equals its kinetic energy plus its gravitational energy. Mars mass is 6.4e23 kg, Phobos is 1e16 kg, its average orbital radius is ~9400 km, and its average orbital speed is 2.1 km/s.

    Gravitational energy U = -GmM/r. Neglecting the sign:
    U = 6.7e-11 [m^3/kg*s^2] * 6.4e23 kg * 1e16 kg / 9.4e6 m = ~4.6e22 J

    Kinetic energy Ek = 0.5mv^2 = 0.5 * 1e16 kg * (2100 m/s)^2 = ~2.2e22 J

    Total = ~6.8e22 J = ~16 million megaton, aka ~16 teraton TNT.

    – – –

    BUT notice that the kinetic energy is close to a third of its energy, about 5 teratons. A few gigatons may not be enough to destabilize its orbit. They may just make it a tiny bit more elliptic. Even if it does destabilize, it could still take it thousands or maybe millions of years to crash into Mars.

  14. Maybe the reason of Fermi paradox is instead that Earth is universally
    known as the World Of Violence, visitable only after taking extreme precautions.

  15. That’s the idea. Dig a deep hole and insert a few gigaton H-bomb. The ejecta of the explosion become the reaction mass
    that slows down the moon. Repeat as needed.

  16. After giving it some thought, I’d like to point out that importing enough water or gases to build a planet’s hydrosphere or atmosphere from scratch is a Kardashev 1 level megaproject. Just a few comets would be several orders of mangnitude too little.

  17. I suspect that it would be much easier to grab an asteroid or comet than one of the Martian moons.

    delta V is not proportional to distance.

    A distant comet in particular that is moving in and out of the inner solar system can be nudged here and nudged there to come a little bit closer to this planet that puts it on a collision course to eventually hit Mars.

    While the moons are in orbit around Mars. You’d need to physically slow them down (= vast, vast amounts of energy) before they would “drop”.

  18. Want a lot of energy, in the order of teratons? Drop Phobos or
    Deimos. They are clearly there to be used.

  19. The point is, it’s a big enough important enough question to give ourselves time to find out. We can always terraform Mars later. It’ll even be easier with future technology. But we can’t undo the damage to the biological record.

  20. Dropping a nuke from orbit to scatter regolith on the caps is far easier and cheaper than any other idea, logistically speaking. From the papers I have read, it would require 4, 1 megaton nukes to start the process. The fallout would be minimal a couple months after, compared to the cosmic rays, and would be concentrated at the poles.

  21. I cannot reconcile the hazard posed to any future Mars colonization scheme with the quick fix of nuking the planet. That said, you gotta love the shirt! Where can I get one?

  22. I doubt it. If found, it would probably be related to life here on earth. If it did not in any way resemble life on earth, then maybe. Otherwise, it likely came from the same source.

    That possibility is not enough reason to stop the only known life from diversifying.

  23. Nuking Mars to create a pseudo Earth would be like damming the Straight of Gibraltar to evaporate the Mediterranean Sea in order to using Atlantic waters to create massive amounts hydroelectricity. The Mediterranean is beautiful the way it is.

    And Mars is beautiful– the way it is!

  24. .. few bacteria? If may exist life on Mars (also in terms of simple organisms) would be a “copernican” revolution! it would mean that life in the universe is a common phenomenon (it would happen in two planet of the same system) , so it would be an immense opportunity to study it, without alter or destroy it (ask NASA about it..)

  25. This is ridiculous. Surely, you can’t mean for these savages to wallow in their naturally evolved, heathen bacterial state forever. If there are organisms on Mars, it is our sacred duty to improve upon their conditions so as to facilitate the upbringing of right and proper eukaryotic lifeforms. We must show them the virtuous winding of heterochromatic DNA, the sublime righteousness of the mitochondrion, the chivalrous ministration of the chloroplast, the civilized faith of the nucleolus. When such a state of their reform has progressed in due course, only then are we to impart upon them the lessons of multicellularity, strict though this love may be, that they too may join us in the kingdom of heaven.

    Moreover, take heed that the unthinkable may occur, and we are to discover such pagan blasphemy as non carbon-based life, whether in a hellish volcanic vent of Mars, the abyssal depths of Enceladus, or the gelid upper atmosphere of Neptune. Should such sad abominations be discovered we must launch a campaign to convert these craven, savage, heretical animalcules, not even worthy of being called among God’s creatures, to the light of our lord in carbon. For plainly it is God’s plan that life shall be a cathedral formed brick upon brick of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen, sculpted in soaring proteins and glittering nucleic acids under a vaulted lipid membrane roof, on a moral foundation of entropic gradients and love.

    Peace be unto the cells of our Father!

  26. I think this kind of environmentalism can be taken too far. Sure if there is life study it, but I would not let a few bacteria stop the colonization of world. Much grander forms of life would have space to grow and flourish.

  27. Any life on Mars as it currently exists has no future.

    Adding atmosphere would if anything help any life there.

  28. Carbonaceous chondrite type asteroids are pretty black, from the carbon compounds. Just grind them up and sprinkle them on the poles, turning them black. Much less violent.

  29. Lots of nukes = lots of fallout.

    Find some asteroids and drop them on the poles. Way more energy and no fallout.

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