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Elon Musk’s answer to making Mars more like Earth? Just nuke it

It hasn’t even been a week since Stephen Colbert started hosting CBS’ The Late Show, and already, he’s getting his guests to make some pretty spectacular claims. Oprah may have watched Tom Cruise jump on a couch, but Colbert got Elon Musk to advance a decidedly gasp-worthy theory about how best to make Mars a more hospitable environment for human life. “The fast way is to drop nuclear weapons over the poles,” the Tesla, SpaceX, and PayPal founder told Colbert. To which the host responded, “You’re a supervillain!”

Or Ironman, but you know, same difference.

Describing Mars as “a fixer upper of a planet,” Musk noted that the main problem with our red neighbor is that it’s too cold for inhabitation. But, he noted, it can be made to more closely resemble Earth if we just warm it up. “There’s the fast way and the slow way,” Musk said, with the slow way being the gradual release of greenhouse gasses, which are famous on Earth for causing global warming and climate change.

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But the flashier, more exciting way (and let’s face it, the more Elon Musk way), is to drop nuclear bombs on the planet, because nothing screams warmth like thermonuclear weapons. Unfortunately, Musk didn’t get to elaborate much further on how exactly this plan would pan out, but it’s certainly a novel idea. And considering that his last few SpaceX rocket landings have resulted in explosions of their own, maybe Musk can jumpstart this warming process by sending his spacecraft to Mars.

Of course, the viability of such a plan is probably a bit more questionable than say, bringing frozen methane to Mars from neighboring planets or moons, or better yet, bringing cyanobacteria and algae that are capable of producing oxygen to the Red Planet. But then again, many of Musk’s ideas have seemed outlandish at first blush, and he’s only ever proved the haters wrong.

So keep this Late Show prediction in the back of your minds, folks. We may just be exploding nukes on Mars someday. Better there than here.