Elon Musk apparently still wants to nuke Mars

The SpaceX founder wants to speed up Red Planet warming for colonists.

Rae Hodge Former senior editor
Rae Hodge was a senior editor at CNET. She led CNET's coverage of privacy and cybersecurity tools from July 2019 to January 2023. As a data-driven investigative journalist on the software and services team, she reviewed VPNs, password managers, antivirus software, anti-surveillance methods and ethics in tech. Prior to joining CNET in 2019, Rae spent nearly a decade covering politics and protests for the AP, NPR, the BBC and other local and international outlets.
Rae Hodge

Elon Musk, billionaire SpaceX founder and interplanetary nuclear aspirant. 

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No, Elon Musk can't nuke Mars. At least, not that we know of. Yet. But that didn't stop the billionaire SpaceX founder and CEO from tweeting "Nuke Mars" on Thursday evening, followed by "T-shirt soon." 

It's not the first time he's suggested using thermonuclear technology on the Red Planet. During a 2015 appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Musk laid out the idea behind nuking Mars: To make the planet habitable for colonists, he'd have to unleash as much greenhouse gas as possible to warm the planet.

"The fast way is to drop thermonuclear weapons over the poles," he said. (Disclosure: "The Late Show" appears on CBS, which is also the parent company of CNET.) 

NASA-backed 2018 research, however, is skeptical of the possibility. It concludes there just aren't enough greenhouse gases on Mars to get the job done. 

"As a result, terraforming Mars is not possible using present-day technology," said the lead researcher. 

SpaceX didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.