Artist's impression visualising the ExoMars 2016 Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO), with its thrusters firing, beginning its entry into Mars orbit on 19 October 2016.
Artist's impression visualising the ExoMars 2016 Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO), with its thrusters firing, beginning its entry into Mars orbit on 19 October 2016. ESA/ATG medialab

As we all know, SpaceX boss Elon Musk has always been enthusiastic about colonizing the Red Planet Mars despite all odds about its hostile atmosphere to make life just possible. But, Musk had a solution that he revealed in "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert" that he hopes to nuke the planet in order to make it habitable.

Elon Musk wanted to make use of the thermonuclear explosions to kick-start a life-supporting Martian atmosphere's creation. However, it appears that this is not much of a solution. A new research, backed by NASA, has recently concluded that even nuking Mars won't be able to turn into another Earth.

The big idea behind terraforming, which means making the Red Planet habitable, is to release the trapped carbon dioxide in the surface of the planet in order to thicken the planet's atmosphere, which will then heat up the planet enough to keep its water in a liquid state. Actually, it's the same greenhouse effect, which is currently causing the climate change on Earth.

"Carbon dioxide (CO2) and water vapor (H2O) are the only greenhouse gases that are likely to be present on Mars in sufficient abundance to provide any significant greenhouse warming," Bruce Jakosky from the University of Colorado stated in a press release.

The new study, published in Nature Astronomy, says that Mars' surface doesn't enough amounts of those gases trapped inside that can accomplish the desired outcome.

Even if Elon Musk goes for the polar ice caps and melts them with powerful nuclear technology, according to the new research, it would release only enough carbon dioxide to make Mars' atmospheric pressure to 1.2% of Earth's, which is now less than 1% of that of Earth's.

"In addition, most of the CO2 gas is not accessible and could not be readily mobilized. As a result, terraforming Mars is not possible using present-day technology," said Jakosky, the lead author of the study.

Even if the earthlings become too ambitious and go through an energy-intensive process of extracting CO2 from the planet's dust, soils as well as minerals; then also it will get the atmosphere to about 5% of what's needed to support life, concludes the new study.

However, this doesn't necessarily mean that the dream of colonizing the Red Planet is completely crushed. It just means that humans will need spacesuits constantly if they are to live up there until they come with a better solution.

Terraforming Mars cannot be done with currently available technology. Any such efforts have to be very far into the future. NASA Image
Terraforming Mars cannot be done with currently available technology. Any such efforts have to be very far into the future. NASA Image NASA