Terraforming 101: How To Make Mars A Habitable Planet

Tyler Durden's picture

Before we can journey to the stars, we must first go to Mars.

That’s Elon Musk’s philosophy, anyways – and as Visual Capitalist's Jeff Desjardins reports, just days ago he revealed new details on his ambitions to colonize the Red Planet, including sending two cargo rockets by 2022 and four rockets (two manned, two cargo) by 2024.

In 40 to 100 years, Musk suggested that up to a million people could live there.


As Elton John wisely noted, “Mars ain’t the kind of place to raise your kids”.

Indeed, the average temperature on Mars is −55 °C (−67 °F), dust storms are frequent and potentially deadly, and the planet has extremely low atmospheric pressure (about 1% of Earth). Because of the atmosphere and temperature swings, meaningful occurrences of liquid water on the planet’s surface are almost impossible. And while Mars is thought to have plenty of frozen water at its poles and in underground deposits, the logistics of tapping into these resources could be quite difficult.

In other words, for any meaningful and long-lasting human presence on Mars, we would likely want to alter the planet and its atmosphere to make it more habitable for human life. And while the exact mechanisms we would use to accomplish this are still up for debate, the basics behind what’s needed to achieve Earth-like conditions are actually pretty straightforward.


Today’s infographic comes to us from Futurism, and it details what might need to happen on Mars to make it more accommodating to human life.

Courtesy of: Visual Capitalist

Here are two steps we could take to get Mars into the “Goldilocks Zone”, where water is liquid – and harmful ionizing radiation like x-rays, UV rays, and gamma rays are not problematic.

Greenhouse Gases
One way to ward off harmful ionizing radiation is to add a thicker layer of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere of Mars. Such an atmosphere would also allows less heat to escape, meaning warmer temperatures on the planet.


Magnetic Field
A strong magnetic field on Earth is something else that makes life easier. Earth’s solid inner core, composed primarily of iron, creates this field when the planet spins – and it deflects cosmic rays and other harmful types of radiation.

One interesting solution to solve this problem on Mars would to have a magnetic field generator in front of the planet at all times, deflecting any such rays coming from the sun.


While terraforming is still a mixture of theory and science fiction at this point, we do know some of the major problems that have to be solved for attaining a habitable environment – and it will be interesting to see how plans around Mars develop as the prospect of colonization becomes more real.

You need to live in a dome initially but over time you could terraform Mars to look like Earth and eventually walk around outside without anything on.


… So it’s a fixer-upper of a planet.


– Elon Musk

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Yippie21's picture

Let's start with Puerto Rico... then we'll see about Mars.

Manthong's picture


I would do Houston first.

But, do you have to have green skin and red feet to identify as a Martian?

TBT or not TBT's picture

Terraforming the Middle East seems like a proof of concept. 

Putrid_Scum's picture

I can't wait for the headlines after The Reset ... all the optimistic BS will replaced by:

"Hundreds of Millions Freeze, Drown and Starve"

Common_Law's picture

I wonder if he'll allow AI on Mars? 

I have to respect someone who wants to get away from all the people on earth though. Whatever the reason.

stinkypinky's picture

By the time this project is ready to go forward the human population will be quite content to sit, drooling in front of their Infotainment Terminals with various tubes connected to their bodies: They will have little interest in going to Mars, let alone going outside the house.

evildimensions's picture

Techno-narcissism at its finest.

Lucretius's picture

Whilst this line of thought is a healthy exercise for the brain, using tax dollars to fund Musk's fantasies is wrong!

 This kind of crap is the height of arrogance. We, as a race (human) have yet to learn to share this one planet, peacefully   . I dare say, it would be morally wrong to infect space / other planets with our greedy and avaricious species. Earth, IMHO could be a paradise, if not for the pesky parasites (humans) and their need for gov!.

These jackasses think they can/could "manage" another planet, how well are they doing here??? Why are the forests in the western US and Canada burning down every year? We've endured 100+ years of "forest management" by our .guvs! Why are "they putting sodium fluoride in water and tooth paste? Why are "they" doing nano particle aerial injection of aluminum and other metals? Do YOU really buy .gov's official story on the HAARP Array?

WTF, why can differing religions, cultures and regions not live peaceably? Perhaps cleaning up our own shitty nest FIRST, before shitting up the entire f'kn solar system / neighborhood might ought be a priority.

 These same "big brain" types are also thinking up future governments for space,FFS! Let that sink in for a moment... even if you had the resources ($) to leave this mess behind and go be a "space mountain man / pioneer", you'd need a mother may I from your gub/UN, read; Exit tax!

 Personally, I feel all of NASA'a budget ought to be spent on OUR terrestrial problems. Don't get me wrong, I greatly enjoy science, and astronomy, but I feel there are greater priorities.

Peace, L.

Overfed's picture

After all of that, a moon base to launch from would make sense. But hey, let's spend a few more trillion on useless wars to prop up the petrodollar.

TBT or not TBT's picture

Have you hugged a fracker today?

Motasaurus's picture

We can't make 90% of Australia liveable, yet we're supposed to be able to do it to Mars?

MillionDollarBonus_'s picture

We need to do this fast. The population of people of color is growing at a tremendous rate, and white priviledged scientists need to find places to house and feed them ASAP! It's our RESPONSIBILITY to house, clothe and feed the infinitely expanding population of people of color!

Zero Hedge’s Tyler Durden Outed as a Russian Agent
Sanity Bear's picture

How To Make Mars A Habitable Planet:

Step 1 - get rid of the Muslims

Secret Weapon's picture

I was in the Walmart up in Conroe over the weekend (don't ask).  The obesity is stunning.  These people are so fat they will probably knock the earth off of its axis if they fall down. 

Blue Steel 309's picture

How to keep Mars habitable? Keep capitalists and socialists off it.

Saucy-Jack's picture

Lol...another bullshit program to suck tax payers dry.

Earth is flat.

The sun is a few thousand miles away.

Musk is a deep state puppet.

HRClinton's picture

The Litmus test is if the US can fix Baghdad and other places like it. 

Hell, we can't even fix Detroit or Chicago. 

At this rate though, I can see the real motive for Mars: it'll be the only place for Global-Lusts to escape to, when the Great Retribution comes.

donhuangenaro's picture

lol, no mention of perchlorates, toxic microscopic dust, a global Mars phenomenon that can quickly destroy your thyroid gland with a miniscule amount... https://www.space.com/37402-mars-life-soil-toxic-perchlorates-radiation....

Umunhum's picture

This is Complete Bullshit

Mars, like the Moon, is a Luminous Body

It is not Terra Firma

You can't land on it

1.21 jigawatts's picture

Habitable = no Jews.

Blue Steel 309's picture

I said the same thing above, but your version is more succinct.

HRClinton's picture

Nah, Israel 2.0. As is. All Sales are final.

markl's picture

To call this article a crock of shit is to do a grave disservice to decent honest crocks of shit the world over.

This would bankrupt our planet and that still wouldn't be enough.

Dun_Dulind's picture

Every lib with starry eyes would then say, "But if we stopped all of our military spending and taxed the rich 50000%, and shat gold out of our asses, we could make it possible to DREAAAAAAMMMMMM!!!!!!!!"

Blue Steel 309's picture

Every starry eye libertarian would say "But if we only allowed poor people to die and taxed the rich 0%, all the survivors would live in a utopia!!!!!!". (extra exclamation points to indicate an unsound mind).

All of you ideologues are wrong.

tmosley's picture

Seems like we would develop Antarctica before Mars, but whatever.

HRClinton's picture

Try Detroit, Chicago...

D503's picture

It will take a thousand slaves on earth to fail to keep a single person on Mars alive.

Anteater's picture

325,000 thousand, to be exact.

EternalAnusocracy's picture

Stranger in a Strange Land.   

afronaut's picture

No one is going to Mars in our life times. And when they do, leave the dindus behind. Let them figure out how to get there on their own.

LetThemEatRand's picture

Pro tip one.  When they talk about terraforming other planets, it is code for how they are going to drive us out of our lands and take over the husk they leave.  Pro tip two. Don't accept any electric blankets from Musk.

Conax's picture

Placing a magnetic field generator between Mars and the Sun would not protect Mars from cosmic rays. Only a planetary magnetic field enveloping the planet could do that. 

We have millions of square miles of desert and rocky, arid terrain right here. Terraform that.

LetThemEatRand's picture

Deserts are hard.  They want to "terraform" Detroit, Akron, Cleveland, Erie, etc.

Byte Me's picture

I hear that terraforming 'alpha-rollouts" in Bradford, Luton, Charleroi and parts of Paris and Brussel have been hailed as successes.

Just need to build some post-industrial infrastructure to balance it up. Petfood facs, incinerators, 'woodchipping' plants, and such..

toady's picture

Yeah.... "place a magnetic field generator".... sounds so easy!

Lucretius's picture

Ya, I liked that part too, just pull one of those planetary sized generators out of your ass and place it on a nail in space, a bit to the left, perfect, and you're in business!

 Also, when did the leftoids decide that the earth's core was solid, I've been told all my life that it was "magma", melted iron and rock...not solid... I was however educated long before common core, so I am most likely wrong.

Bigern's picture

Cosmic Rays. T

That is one reason they have put so much effort into CERN.

They aren't worried about shielding Mars, but parts of Earth. Time is coming when the natural field collapses.

Atomizer's picture

120 day life cycle. Who's going to generate oxygen sustainability? Musk with his Telsa batteries? Let's round up all the liberals. Send them to Mars.

Crackling phone line. We can't hear you. We will call you in 250 days after your dead from oxygen depletion. See how your doing. Have a good day. Your delivery of Tang is 45 days away. 

LetThemEatRand's picture

"Your delivery of Tang is 45 days away"

I understand that those words spoken by his "connection" are what finally drove Harvey Weinstein to madness.

Atomizer's picture

I try without getting Tyler having to get hit by Marxist liberals. I prefer emails. It's his site. These people are getting raunchy. Have to be careful for Zerohedge site. Just email Tyler. Easier. He decides what to publish. 


Atomizer's picture

Have to bit tongue. You sit back and wait for public to catch up. Information overload never works. Small bits and pieces. Their head will explode if told them everything at once. 

Father ¢hristmas's picture

Goddamn, ZH done shitted on Elon in three different articles tonight lol

Also: Lol@ white folks fucking up the planet consuming all the resources and now they want to nuke everyone and escape to Mars.

Hopefully greys and reptilians will offer them diseased blankets and trinkets in exchange for all their fuel and oxygen.  Then enslave them and force their progeny to survive on alien welfare and substandard Martian education.

Dirty motherfuckers.

Eyes Opened's picture

Have u sold the movie rights to that post yet ??   :-)

Bernardo Gui's picture

I'm sure if you throw enough money at terraforming Mars it might work some day. The western welfare states are old and in debt. China is an economic house of cards. The US will be lucky to afford an occasional probe in a few decades. Social Security, Medicare, welfare, and interest on the debt will suck up all the federal spending.

Anteater's picture

The Pentagon and interest on the debt will suck up all the federal spending.

Social Security and Medicare will slowly evaporate, like tears in the desert.

Global Douche's picture

Actually, Social Insecurity has been paying the bills. What Trust Fund do we have? I doubt there's shit in it. Useless IOU's which themselves carry no monetary value in a notebook, er likely notebooks now. When will Uncle Sam lose his fucking credit card? Dammit Janet has yet to take away the Punch Bowl. Pathetic weasel she is!

Atomizer's picture

I wasn't born yet. One year after. It's a hilarious comercial. 

Tang Commercial (1966) - YouTube