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What kind of disaster could be large enough to wipe out an entire planets life and leave it like a complete wasteland, similar environment to what Mars is?

Nuclear warfare or meteors are what I have in mind but would be great to get other ideas!

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closed as too broad by dot_Sp0T, kingledion, L.Dutch - Reinstate Monica Aug 21 '18 at 11:06

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    $\begingroup$ Welcome to worldbuilding. Please read the tour and visit the help center, you will notice that we prefer to provide solution to well defined problem. Your question looks more like you are asking us to compile a list for you, without giving any sharp criteria to decide what is good and what is not. Can you better specify your problem? $\endgroup$ – L.Dutch - Reinstate Monica Aug 21 '18 at 11:02
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Already Happened to Mars

A cessation of a planet's geological activity would remove the planet's magnetic field and over time it's atmosphere would begin being stripped away by solar wind. This could take thousands or even a few million years but the increased solar radiation would make life on the planet much harder long before the atmosphere left. Its how mars lost its atmosphere and liquid water. Not all disasters have to be cataclysmic explosions, some of them take a lot of time.

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