Missing magnetosphere on Mars keeps popping up. Most likely caused by Mars core being cold, mantle not bubbly enough. Mars mantle is dormant, core does not move.

What would be good way to get it going? So future martians don't have to spend all the time deep under surface in the tunnels.

My wild guesses (which I don't have to time to evaluate now, and for next week, sadly):

  • Nukes? But it seems to be a lot of nukes, and drilling them deep enough would not be easy. Mantle is thick but not cold.
  • Asteroid bombardment? That would be a lot of asteroids. Hopefully iron ones - and because energy is added from surface, how to warm the core? Would we have to melt the crust completely?
  • Iron/nickel asteroids, melted and accelerated to near-c speed (to add more energy per unit of mass added)? Will they tear Mars apart?
  • Reflected solar energy? Could take a LONG time.
  • Anything even better?

Assume any plausible future technology.

I like to add energy closer to core, so surface has better chance to cool faster. But likely such terraforming would take many millions of years. Any better ideas how to do it?

One reason I prefer not to use electromagnets in orbit: I would like to use planet for experiments with development sapient race. They would be very surprised to see the electromagnets, and would expect gods to take care of any problem. I prefer them to be more self-reliant, and not have to repair magnets every thousand years. I have other planets to terraform for other sapient races. :-)

Also thinking some more, months later: such magnets in orbit will for sure apply electromagnetic force on particles, which might slow the satellites and they will need fuel to keep up in the orbit. And huge (acres) of solar panels will also have some resistance, more fuel need for station-keeping. Looks like orbiting magnets are way too much hassle.

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    $\begingroup$ This seems more like a "what if" scenario about a real world planet, rather than creation. It also invites rampant speculation with no real definitive answer. $\endgroup$ – JohnP Jan 16 '15 at 17:49
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    $\begingroup$ Would appear we are stepping on space exploration's toes with this question. space.stackexchange.com/questions/2423/… $\endgroup$ – Twelfth Jan 16 '15 at 22:27
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    $\begingroup$ @JohnP - there are few questions on this site that do not invite rampant speculation with no real definitive answer... like "How could a mummy come back to life" or "Can two persons have a common consciousness?" Even though the question is about a real-world planet, it's completely beyond our current capabilities, so any "world" that it builds is completely imaginary -- after all, his goal is to build a new race of beings. Sounds like he's looking for a plausible plot device, not a scientifically accurate plan. $\endgroup$ – Johnny Jan 17 '15 at 0:51
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    $\begingroup$ Phil Plait's review of The Core contains a lot of detail about what is plausible (and implausible) about restarting a planet's core. spoiler Nukes aren't going to do it. $\endgroup$ – Schwern Jan 17 '15 at 1:17
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    $\begingroup$ @MartinSchröder: it wasn't explicitly stated. However, the lack of a magnetic field isn't a problem per se, radiation is. This was addressed by staying several meters underground (early on), and rad proof city tents and clothing later on. Also, it seems that cancer is pretty much no longer a dangerous condition in his future setting. "Old timers" have scars from cancers being removed, but IIRC no one dies of it in the whole trilogy. $\endgroup$ – user243 Nov 25 '15 at 3:01

23 Answers 23


Late answer, just found this article: Nasa Proposes Magnetic Shield For Mars

The important bit from the article:

Ask scientists why Mars is cold and dead and they'll usually point to the death of its magnetic field some 4.2 billion years ago. Without that protection, solar winds gradually stripped it of most of its atmosphere. A NASA-led team, however, thinks there's still a chance to protect what's left -- and human explorers in the process. The scientists have proposed a magnetic shield that would sit at the L1 Lagrange Point beyond the planet, creating an artificial magnetosphere that would deflect solar winds and incoming radiation. Simulations even suggest that the atmosphere would get thick enough to melt carbon dioxide ice at Mars' northern pole, sparking a greenhouse gas effect that would melt water ice and restore some of Mars' oceans. Needless to say, that would be much friendlier to any long-term visitors.

Edit: And from this article:

Edit 2:
Link to PDF with more detail: https://www.hou.usra.edu/meetings/V2050/pdf/8250.pdf

enter image description here

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    $\begingroup$ Excellent, thank you! Much better than orbiting magnets. $\endgroup$ – Peter M. - stands for Monica Mar 7 '17 at 18:47
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    $\begingroup$ @PeterMasiar Or any other way of recreating magnetic field. We all kind of forgot that the point was to shield the planet, not to have a magnetic field. Although fundamentally we are still talking about creating a huge artificial magnetic field, so the difference is not really that big from practical point of view. $\endgroup$ – Ville Niemi Mar 7 '17 at 19:52
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    $\begingroup$ @BrooksNelson but the single shield isn't just to protect the atmosphere, it also helps protect the people from radiation. And which is actually cheaper/easier; hundreds of small satalites in complicated orbits, or 1 larger station in a stationary L1 point? It's a bit like saying that 100 cocktail umbrellas work just as good as a big golf umbrella. Even if the combined magnetic fields have the same area, the orbits could allow gaps since each field covers such a small percentage of the planet. $\endgroup$ – AndyD273 Jul 6 '17 at 1:46
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    $\begingroup$ I don't know how big of a field they will need. I'm sure the scientists at NASA that came up with this idea have done some math to see if it's practical or not. $\endgroup$ – AndyD273 Jul 6 '17 at 1:51
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    $\begingroup$ @ZioByte You can get a mostly stable halo orbit around L1, so only periodic corrections will be needed. I'm sure the NASA scientists who know a lot more about this stuff than I do have some kind of plan to keep it in place in their proposal. $\endgroup$ – AndyD273 Jul 13 '17 at 16:08

Electromagnets are far more powerful, pound per pound, than planetary magnetic fields. You can overcome the Earth's field with a little bar magnet. So why bother trying to resculpt the planet at all?

Park huge electromagnets in a system of orbital stations in such a manner to generate a similar magnetic field as a planet would. Add the zillions of solar energy stations to power them and you are off and running.

Sure, it is extremely impractical, but far less so than resculpting the internals of a planet. And the planet would be unaffected by the experimentation.

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    $\begingroup$ Extremely impractical, vs. bombardment? Bombardment would get you a liquid core, and zero maintenance for several billion years. I know of no technology which would come close. Yes, there's that pesky cooldown time. $\endgroup$ – user3082 Jan 16 '15 at 18:08
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    $\begingroup$ Be kind of annoying if you forgot to include enough nickle iron in the mix and it fizzled out anyway. Although bombardment is its own reward. $\endgroup$ – Oldcat Jan 16 '15 at 18:16
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    $\begingroup$ More practical is just putting the electromagnets over every house and city. $\endgroup$ – Oldcat Jan 16 '15 at 18:17
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    $\begingroup$ How about drilling a hole through the planet, inserting a long metal pole, and turning the planet into a giant electromagnet? (bombardment is it's own reward = ha! +1) $\endgroup$ – Twelfth Jan 16 '15 at 18:23
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    $\begingroup$ Current doesn't flow well through hot metal. You'd need to refrigerate it too. Plus the two volcanos you make might interfere with the machinery. $\endgroup$ – Oldcat Jan 16 '15 at 18:26

Option 1:

Move it to orbit Jupiter:


Tidal forces will heat the interior, restarting the core and presumably your magnetic field. Might take a while but is probably faster than some of the other listed options if you get it close enough. You'll need to move it back and let it cool enough enough to let your secondary earthquakes and volcanic activity die down though.

Option 2:

Move it to orbit Jupiter and leave it inside of Jupiter's magnetic field during your experiments.

This has an obvious advantage that you gain an immediate magnetic shield, so you can start right away. But I don't know enough about Jupiter's magnetic field or orbital mechanics to know if this is practical - maybe it would be too close and would be torn apart, or you'd get too much heating/earthquakes for it to be practical. You may also need some sort of added power to keep it habital - I don't know how much heat Jupiter radiates, and you'll get some from the tidal effects, but probably not enough.

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    $\begingroup$ That's very creative solution! $\endgroup$ – Peter M. - stands for Monica Jan 16 '15 at 22:32
  • $\begingroup$ It's a good answer, though moving planets is on an energy scale we cannot yet conceive. For what it's worth, using the moon already in orbit around Jupiter seems easier. $\endgroup$ – Twelfth Jan 17 '15 at 0:43
  • $\begingroup$ For potential methods of moving the planet, see here. $\endgroup$ – Compro01 Jan 17 '15 at 10:03
  • $\begingroup$ Moving planets shouldn't be quite as bad as all that - people tend to think of moving it directly, and that does take a ton of energy. But I suspect with a good grasp of orbital mechanics you could make relatively small alterations and still get where you want to go. As a greatly simplified example you could push Mars slightly "in" toward the Sun, at such a time as when it swings back out it gets captured by Jupiter's gravity, then adjust from there. $\endgroup$ – Dan Smolinske Jan 20 '15 at 21:42
  • $\begingroup$ Won't the surface be irradiated by Jupiter's magnetic field? Europa's radiation kill humans in hours, at most. $\endgroup$ – Geronimo Apr 15 '19 at 16:33

If you are ONLY considering warming the core, I would stick to the induction furnace Anton Duzenko mentioned. However I would rather set up an artificial superconducting magnet.

Temperature on Mars at the poles can be as low as -153ºC, which is under the current superconductivity record of -132ºC. Therefore, a huge superconducting magnet could be placed under the surface, near the poles. As long as it keeps cool, you can have persistent currents sustaining the field, without the need of a current source. Of course, you should warrant some kind of temperature control or your whole experiment may fail if the electromagnet quenches!

Since everything would be installed underground and in an area too cold for inhabitants to reach, you will be safe about their finding the truth, at least for a long time (by then they could have probably realized already by other means).

  • $\begingroup$ You are right. If I go with magnets, superconducting magnets is the way to go. $\endgroup$ – Peter M. - stands for Monica Feb 9 '15 at 20:02
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    $\begingroup$ each time a particle decelerates or accelerates due to the field, you lose a little bit of power... $\endgroup$ – Jorge Aldo Nov 21 '15 at 20:34
  • $\begingroup$ Lost power in underground magnets is no different than if particles slowed down by magnets in orbit. And it is much simpler to build unobtainium power stations underground than on orbit, I think. $\endgroup$ – Peter M. - stands for Monica Nov 25 '15 at 15:55
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    $\begingroup$ @Jorge An astrophysicist would know better than me, but I guess that most particles are deflected, rather than stopped, due to Lorentz forces on charged particles. Since these forces are orthogonal to particles' velocity, they transfer no work thus no energy should be lost. Am I wrong? $\endgroup$ – Marshall Nov 26 '15 at 3:42
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    $\begingroup$ @JorgeAldo If the acceleration vector is always perpendicular to the velocity vector, speed (modulus of the velocity) remains constant so there is no change in kinetic energy (e.g. uniform circular motion). $\endgroup$ – Marshall Mar 16 '16 at 17:21


Set one underground on the north pole and a second with the same orientation on the south pole, add current, and voilà, you have a planetary magnetic field. And properly sealed the electromagnets should be stable for millions of years. Mars doesn't have plate tectonics, after all. And a massive installation of what would basically be solid metal with some ceramics for insulation and isolation from environment would be quite stable. Although the poles might migrate over time.

Only real question is the source of current. I think you could use the same source that powers the magnetic field on Earth, the internal heat of the mantle. There is a huge difference in the temperature of the surface and the temperature just a few kilometres down. You can tap that temperature differential with thermoelectric power, and you'll have a stable power source for millions of years. Thermoelectric power has no moving parts and involves no chemical reactions. And it will take a long time for the core to cool down so much it will make a difference. And of course, if you want something more compact, you can generate your own heat with long half-life radioisotopes. The point is that it is perfectly possible to create a power plant that produces reliable power for millions of years.

And of course, if you absolutely reject electromagnets, building huge permanent magnets instead would still be easier than starting the dynamo with bombarding the surface. And obviously it would cause less collateral damage. It might be practical to get the necessary rare earths with asteroid mining.

As Oldcat says, iron magnetite or other naturally occurring magnetic minerals should work. You'd just need lots of it. But something that huge would be quite stable and it would kind of look natural.

If camouflage and protection from natives mining themselves to extinction is a concern, it should be possible to diffuse the system over the entire planet. Build thousands, tens of thousands, large magnets more or less evenly spread over the planet carefully aligned so they link up to create the magnetic field you want.

The magnetic field and the magnets would still be distinctly unnatural, but the natives would be so used to seeing them it wouldn't occur them. The natives might genuinely think that their planet just happens to have lots of magnetic material, probably from meteors, and that it self-aligned to give them a magnetic field. Compared to having two major polar anomalies this would be much more discreet. And a system that diffuse would be difficult to damage.

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    $\begingroup$ It wouldn't have to be an exotic material...iron magnetite would do just as well and is probably easier to find/make. $\endgroup$ – Oldcat Jan 16 '15 at 20:56
  • $\begingroup$ No, I do not reject electromagnets per se. I don't like them in the orbit. Too many moving parts. I like your solution. This will do. I am still hoping for something more "natural". Some way to re-melt core and don't worry about it for a million years. $\endgroup$ – Peter M. - stands for Monica Jan 16 '15 at 20:58
  • $\begingroup$ @Oldcat Probably, but from what I understand the "exotics" are much more powerful for their size. But I guess being large would not necessarily be bad if you want it to last millions of years. $\endgroup$ – Ville Niemi Jan 16 '15 at 20:59
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    $\begingroup$ I like the bigger ones. And if you use exotics, Martians might end up mining them for the rare elements, destroying their magnetosphere. If it's big, and not that rare, then they're likely not to be able to do that much damage to it when they dig down to it (there's no money in it). I would definitely bury these. Maybe in an impact crater. :D boom $\endgroup$ – user3082 Jan 16 '15 at 21:15
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    $\begingroup$ Humans have used open-pit mining, and mountain-top removal to get at things we want. I don't see any reason Martians couldn't get like that as well. So, I'd like to hedge the bets, and make them pretty darn big with the least valuable substance that still doesn't require a power-source, nor a lot of energy to create/do. And these sound like they'd fit the bill. Question is, will they work. $\endgroup$ – user3082 Jan 17 '15 at 6:45

I don't know the geology (or areology...) but from what I'm reading you need a liquid metal core, not a melted mantle. If that's true, then you need to deliver a colossal amount of energy into the core, well below the mantle and preferable close to the center - and do it without destroying the surface, and without knocking the planet out of orbit or making unwanted changes to its angular momentum.

Here's one idea: Beam subatomic particles into the planet, with speed and density calculated to deliver energy into the core. Particle Therapy for a planet, basically. I'm not sure what would work best - neutrinos seem to have too low a cross-section. Maybe kaons, or maybe just neutrons - I don't know enough. You might just dig a hole (or many holes) and shoot (truly enormous amounts of) energetic particles down the holes. Note that the holes don't have to be empty space - they can be filled with anything that is sufficiently transparent to your particle beam. Maybe you could place hyperdense targets (neutronium?) at depth, to stop and absorb a beam of particles that would otherwise not be well absorbed, like neutrinos.

Another idea: Program nanomachines to burrow down into the core (replicating as needed) and then construct machinery that concentrates unstable and/or fissionable isotopes, constructing crude fission reactors (like these Natural nuclear fission reactors). A few would do nothing, but - a billion might generate quite a bit of heat, enough to liquify at least a layer and get things 'going'.

  • $\begingroup$ You are right, I need to melt whole thing below crust, mantle and core. I am pretty sure than nanomachines will not be able to find enough fission material in core, and energy/matter has to be added from the outside. $\endgroup$ – Peter M. - stands for Monica Jan 16 '15 at 20:53
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    $\begingroup$ We don't have natural reactors anymore, because all the fissionables have decayed. Same applies to Mars. You would need to mine, refine, and import more in order to get that to work. I'd just put that much energy into making antimatter. $\endgroup$ – user3082 Jan 16 '15 at 21:05
  • $\begingroup$ I get the impression (from some quick googling) that Earth still has lots of long-life unstables generating heat (phys.org/news62952904.html) but it makes sense that Mars probably doesn't, hence the solid core. I like the idea of making antimatter ;-) $\endgroup$ – Spike0xff Jan 20 '15 at 22:21

It may be more entertaining and impossible to just slam Mercury into Mars at such an angle resulting in rotational acceleration. In addition, a resulting ring of debris falling back into the planet would speed up rotation because of some law I don't remember. It's like a person spinning on skates and tucking their arms in, they speed up!

It's a great method! Minus, messing up and hitting Earth, missing and losing a planet, not getting the angle right and destroying Mars, altering Mars's orbit in a concerning fashion, hiring enough interns to make it economically feasible to move a planet out of orbit.!

While you wait for inspiration on how to move a planet into another planet, we might as well detonate a bunch of nuclear ordinance on the surface to keep the public on their toes and interested. Because interest usually helps with funding I'm told.

If all goes well, Mars will gain some mass, be pretty molten, probably spinning a bit. Maybe, you'll have some magnetic fields getting juiced up. And if not, we always have other moons and rocks, do it again! The kids love explosions!

You might also want to bombard the surface with icy moons, comets, things with water. Water has a great overlooked ability, because it's heat capacity is so high! The more you strike the surface, the more dust particulate in the air you have, combine that with a growing sea of water, and you'll have a nice sludge ocean, dark in color, with the magnificent head capacity granted by water. This will reduce the albedo of the planet, further heating the planet. Not to mention salt water may assist in the amplification of the magnetosphere.

Once you have enough water going, say an global ocean of 25 meters deep or so, blast it with nuclear ordinance! The H2O vapor will increase the greenhouse effect, while allowing electrolytically separated oxygen to rise high into the atmosphere. In this excited state, ozone is more likely to form.

So at the end of all this, you have a world with all the things you need. Except it's radioactive as all hell. You have oceans! Sludge ridden, radioactive, likely smelly, but pretty warm!

You have Mars spinning, assisting the magnetosphere, making day night cycles a little nicer.

You have an atmosphere, rich in ammonia, oxygen, water vapor, nitrogen, and dangerous radioactive elements. But you'll have a nice ozone layer to keep the sun from making it more toxic!

The impact from Mercury will likely heat the hell out of the core, but if the trajectory is highly accurate, the planet will heat up just above enough.

Ah what a sight to behold, the pristine iron red, now a radioactive grey sludge pit. You know what time it is? Dump a whole heap of a specialized breed of Deinococcus radiodurans bacteria into the oceans, with quicker reproductive cycles and shorter life span. If that that works out, you'll have something that can fair the radiation, while fixing Carbon Dioxide into breathable oxygen. After a bunch of generations of this bacteria dead, they will decompose and release methane gas, which will accelerate global warming.

Plant some soya beans all over the place, because they have the genes to make proteins capable of fixing heavy metals in a manor that mitigates damage to plants. Just seed the living hell out of the planet where ever possible. Fix oxygen like crazy, introduce as much radiation resistant flora, bacteria, algae as possible.

Let it is sit for a century or 20. I have no time frame for ya. Who knows, one day some lucky people might get to experience two blue marbles.

I hope you all enjoyed my wild half plan!

  • $\begingroup$ This would work well, if you had the patience of a (million year old) saint. $\endgroup$ – kingledion Mar 7 '17 at 18:25

Nudge a dwarf planet like Ceres or Vesta into orbit around Mars. It may take a longish time to tidally heat the interior but once convection currents are established, a magnetic field comes for free.

This option is more in the realm of "possibility" compared to moving Mars into Jupiter orbit or making huge orbiting electromagnets are a bit over the top, relatively speaking. Bombarding the planet only heats the outside and is not a lasting solution.

The problem is that I do not know if moving a dwarf planet from the inner system or the outer system is more feasible. If moving something from the outer system is cheaper then Pluto is the ideal candidate.

UPDATE 7 Mar 17: Adding an artifical magnetosphere has been discussed by NASA and is apparently feasible! See this article


Build some kind of an induction oven around the planet and turn it on. It will heat the metal in the mantle and eventually melt it. You can disassemble the oven, transport it to the next planet, and repeat this infinitely.

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    $\begingroup$ that was going to be my idea too. here is a video of the process on a much smaller scale: geek.com/science/… $\endgroup$ – katzenhut Feb 1 '16 at 2:24
  • $\begingroup$ @katzenhut OMG I love that video. So, we just scale that up, right? Just a lot of really big conductors laid out across the deserts of Mars. From Earth, maybe they could look like a network of canals. $\endgroup$ – Spike0xff Jun 14 '16 at 18:57

I thought bombardment was the way to go - however, I'm liking Ville's natural (no power supply needed) magnets - assuming the science is correct.

I don't buy thermoelectric powerplants lasting for millions of years. OTOH, if they're miles below the surface, Martians are unlikely to run into the robots need for irregular maintenance, etc. But natural magnets would be superior, even if they're a much larger engineering project.

You're going to have a significant cooldown period. But you're planning on evolving races anyways, so you're going to be waiting around a long time anyways.

Plus side? You can get the spin up to where you want, and axial-tilt with judicious bombardment. As well as add water. Possibly oxygen if you disassociate the water, and migrate out the hydrogen. You can also monkey with gravity with a sufficient amount of mass added (non-trivial).

It's probably going to take a significant amount/number of precisely timed strikes to get what you want going on done. Which is going to be computer guided, possibly machine constructed engines, and a fair amount of delta-V (but, over long enough time periods this isn't all super-hard - and given a longer timeframe, you're definitely going to use gravity-assisted slingshots; perhaps even lengthening Jupiter's rotational period by stealing energy from it).

Bombard the [heck] out of it, add iron, melt with that added impact energy, rotate to get a spin going. Then wait to cooldown. Maybe take out hydrogen while you don't have a lot of liquid running around. Seed (since you don't want to wait) with some stuff, depending on how virgin you want your evolution - you could skip the hard parts that took us billions of years, and get right to business. By giving them chloroplasts, mitochondria, and multi-cellular life. More, if you want more. But too much, and you might as well be bioengineering them instead of 'evolving' them.

I'd want some math geeks to chime in with how long it'd take to cool, and other things. You might (unlikely) be able to get it cooled down in 1000s of years. But I think hundreds of thousands, or millions might be more reasonable; ie: WAGing here.

Also bombarding with really fast asteroid can change Mars orbit.

This is why I said you're going to need a number of different impacts. You'll also (most likely) want to distribute the heat and energy to melt things more evenly.

Also, you'll want to avoid shearing off a hunk of Mars creating a major moon, like the Moon.

How many? That's a good question. Faster they are going, the fewer you'll need. But the fewer you have, the less you'll increase gravity by. A non-trivial amount, for sure. We need Math for that answer.

WAG: Mars == 1/10th of Earth's mass.

7.04377e20 short tons. If I'm not screwing up my exponents: 704,377,000,000,000,000,000 tons.

Let's WAG it at minimum of 1/1,000,000,000th of that. :)

The other option is generate a lot of power (A LOT); probably fusion or matter/antimatter, inside the core(well, more likely the mantle: drilling deep enough is also a non-trivial matter, also requiring a lot of power - but perhaps you can just run plasma-beams to gasify all matter in your way until you get to where you want to go), and then induce a spin in it with electromagnets in space (which will also require A LOT of power). And that's assuming there's enough iron in there to make things happy. You'd need to lower water (maybe small enough chunks will melt in the near-nonexistent atmosphere on re-entry; making that many small chunks of ice is another exercise left to the reader) if you don't want an Arrakis. Frankly, that's a lot of machinery and power you're going to have to generate, merely to attempt to shave off a few hundred thousand to millions of years of cooldown from a molten state. Might be cheaper energy-wise to space-elevator in some refrigerators to pump heat into orbit to make your cooldown from a molten state quicker, if you're that concerned about the time it might take.

Water: 1,260,000,000,000,000,000,000 liters of water in Earth's ocean. Assume 1/10th of that for a mass 1/10th of Earth (although is probably less than that).

Assume you can get 1 liter of water to vaporize in the atmosphere (I think that may be too large) upon re-entry. That's... a few chunks that you've got to separate and get into the atmosphere. Probably need to build an auto-melter that makes snowballs from a larger chunk, and drops them down the gravity well.

On the plus side, if you're going for Molten-Mars, these ice chunks can be bigger, and (perhaps? impact adds heat... but how much?) used as a (very minor) part of cooling down the planet.

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks. Any rough estimate how many asteroids to use? How much difference it would be if I melted them before impact - I guess I can, I have the time. But still it is LOTS of energy to melt core. $\endgroup$ – Peter M. - stands for Monica Jan 16 '15 at 20:18
  • $\begingroup$ Also bombarding with really fast asteroid can change Mars orbit. I guess solution is to bombard from two sides. $\endgroup$ – Peter M. - stands for Monica Jan 16 '15 at 20:19
  • $\begingroup$ You should split your answer into two: bombardment, and electromagnets. Two different solutions, twice the points :-) $\endgroup$ – Peter M. - stands for Monica Jan 16 '15 at 21:41
  • $\begingroup$ Electromagnets is not my answer :D I'm just commenting on someone else's answer (in longer form). $\endgroup$ – user3082 Jan 17 '15 at 6:43

Moving Mars into an orbit around Jupiter would mean moving it out of the goldilocks zone which is not desirable. Why not cut up the smaller of Mars's moons into asteroid sized pieces and bombard the Olympus Mons volcano with it to re-melt its maga. Then move Mars largest moon into a lower orbit to stir the tides. That at least is do-able and should melt the permafrost and restore the sea to its former level. Re-melting the magma should create a magnetic field and assist in retaining a life sustaining atmosphere gleaned from gases issuing from Olympus Mons's eruption events which are not likely to be radio active.

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    $\begingroup$ Mars' two moons already are asteroid-sized. You'd run out fairly quickly! $\endgroup$ – HDE 226868 Jan 17 '15 at 1:23
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    $\begingroup$ Both Mars' moon's are so close tides are maximum already. The closer one orbits in less than a day! $\endgroup$ – Oldcat Jan 17 '15 at 1:42
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    $\begingroup$ What if we used our bombardment asteroids as tidal-stirrers instead? $\endgroup$ – user3082 Jan 17 '15 at 6:59

Due to radon outgassing on planet Earth it is theorized there is a 5 mile diameter ball of reacting uranium at Earth's core of which helps maintain the core's heat. Save for the radon, Mar's mantle would shield the surface from a reacting mass of uranium should it be placed there. Simply start a reacting mass on the surface and let it melt it's way to the core. Continuous additions would fuel the "fire." The breeder reaction approach would be the way to go to maximize energy generation.

  • $\begingroup$ And how do you propose that we get a 5 mile wide ball of uranium for use to do this? $\endgroup$ – Jarred Allen Dec 16 '16 at 15:15
  • $\begingroup$ @JarredAllen Take it from the core of Earth! New WorldBuilding question: "How do we extract a planet's core?" (A: "Just use a large blob of uranium to melt your way down to extract the core." Which came first, the reaction or the extraction?) $\endgroup$ – Loduwijk Apr 10 '17 at 18:26

Since you're going to need more planetary mass to hold whatever atmosphere you install after the magnetic field reboots, why not consider the current entirety of the planet to be the core of your future world. Melt it where it stands, saving you the trouble of trying to melt only the core while leaving its surface solid.

While the cooks are heating up the planet, scavenge every available meteor and unused moon within range and construct two enormous hollow half-spheres. Bring those half-spheres together to surround your now molten mars and weld their seams tight. Instant Earth 2!

  • $\begingroup$ why construct half spheres? Just dump the material. With the amount we're talking here, gravity will make sure to create a shperoid from the sheer mass. $\endgroup$ – Burki Feb 20 '17 at 9:43
  • $\begingroup$ @Burki, we construct the half spheres because we don't gravity to handle the rearrangement of material into a sphere. We are trying to avoid the friction heat which would be produced as the materials rearrange themselves under gravity's call. If we let gravity do the job, we end up with a molten surface which takes millions of years to cool. Using the half spheres, we can move in tomorrow (except around the seam) $\endgroup$ – Henry Taylor Feb 20 '17 at 17:55
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    $\begingroup$ And how do you disable gravity for this construction? Your half-Spheres will have enough mass each to collapse into spheroids all by themselves. $\endgroup$ – Burki Feb 21 '17 at 8:47
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    $\begingroup$ @Burki, Good Point! I hadn't thought of that. I guess the cover needs to be installed in melon-sliced or hexagon sections, each thin enough in all dimensions, that they don't collapse under their own weight, yet all installed together so that they support each other from falling into the planet's molten core. Great Catch! I wrote this answer 2 years ago and you're the first (including me) to realize its fatal flaw. $\endgroup$ – Henry Taylor Feb 21 '17 at 13:45

If you want play the greatest game of pool ever played, take Io, the innermost most moon of Jupiter, and give it a little nudge on a path that sends it out in a gravity-assisted slingshot just barely leaving Jupiter's orbit on a path towards Mars where it can be picked up as a moon. Io should then begin tugging on the mantle of Mars, tidal heating it in the process to begin melting. Given that Io is actually bigger than the moon, and that Mars is much smaller than Earth, you should see a lot of tidal action, quick in perhaps geological terms, maybe not so in human ones.

There are several other tricks you can do with this too, including sending Io on a "close call" shot to slow the Martian orbital period down to send it closer to the sun, warming it up a little bit. Mars's distance from Sol dictates that if you plan on plonking oceans down by sending comets or a small moon like Enceladus or Miranda down, your going to have very large glaciers that will further cool the planet down as ice forms and reflects light away. Forests and grassland might still be possible around the equators however. The downside, or possible upside to this depending on salt's possible effects on magnetic fields, is that depending on the salinity content of Enceladus, or whatever celestial body you chose, combined with much of the water turning into glaciers, is you might get an ocean with an extreme salt content. It could be like Earth's oceans, or it might be a massive "dead" sea.

If done in a a very precise manner, you could get most of the water and ice from say, Enceladus falling down to the planet in large chunks by a close fly by in-and-out without the rocky core itself crashing into the planet and ejecting much of the new "ocean" back into space...probably anyway. Also, if you plan on building coastal cities or settlements, I'd highly not recommend anything permanent. The decreased mass of Mars combined with the mass of Io means that oceanic tidal waves will be rather...big.

Close flybys should also create some heat in the process from the friction, but unless you get your calculations spot on, which is very rare when considering all the factors that go into this, Io shouldn't be tidally locked to Mars. If Io is spinning much faster than what is necessary for tidal locking, the slowing of Io should transfer heat as well.

Unfortunately for this plan, this requires moving some very large orbs. Luckily for us, going with gravity and sending things towards objects is much easier than trying to brute force them out, but even so, moving large objects is still a major task, and it requires sapient people that are willing to take the risk of the pool game ending very badly.

Depending on the timescale of this plan, you might want to accelerate the growth of life by creating a few temporary orbital space stations with artificial magnetic fields around the planet, or perhaps just one big one at the L1 Lagrange point, to keep the first life sent down safe to get things started. The satellites could dismantle themselves afterward, be sent on a collision course somewhere else, or moved on where they are needed elsewhere, perhaps as magnetic shields for the (remaining) Jovian moons. You could also run with the electromagnetic plan, either at the poles all over the place.

By giving life some breathing room where it can get to work without getting zapped by solar flares or galactic cosmic rays, moss and lichen can start the soil formation process in primary ecological succession. Given it enough time, and voila! Traces of soil! Throw some microbes down there, send a few animals, follow it with a bunch of dirt seeds, and soon you can start planting forests. Ocean life if you have a "dead" sea is a bit trickier, but bio-engineering could be done. Once the satellites go poof are venture off to another places, you got Earth 2.0

How you move Io is another problem in of itself. You could try bombarding it with asteroids, or possibly playing the same trick with a tiny asteroid into one of the tiny asteroid-like moons of Jupiter, though I suspect even that might take a lot of energy, and a lot of rocks. You could use mirrors connected to a massive tether, and then paint Io in silver and then deflect light at it, or possibly use a bunch of fusion reactors to power massive flashlights aimed at the surface. Or could you could try the mirror tether trick, and instead of using sunlight, you tap into the magnetic field of Io with all those ions sent from Jupiter, and then shoot light at it to deflect the photons away and thus push the moon. Another option is guns. A lot of guns. Massive Gauss cannon arrays shooting material out into space, thought that would take a lot of time, energy, and well...guns. On the flip side, you could plonk targets down and make Io into the largest man-made shooting range. Maybe make into a stellar academy for whatever futuristic navies are out there, and make a lot of money in the process...or just a lot of fun shooting things.

On a side note, an icy cold glacier world might be a good thing for Mars in the long run. Martian low gravity means that retaining water vapor is difficult, and coupled with higher temperatures atmosphere retention becomes more difficult. This is because at super high altitudes Earth can get extremely hot, but the density is so low you will still freeze to death. (Assuming you don't die of the lack of oxygen first, that is) At high temperatures, those atoms are zipping around very fast, and couple that with solar radiation and some atmosphere loss is going to happen. Water Vapor is especially prone to this, and can actually create rivers of ions into the upper atmosphere to be stripped away. The colder a planet, the less atmosphere loss you have. On the plus side, if the equator is warm enough for forests, one could possibly enjoy a nice walk in a Conifer-forested Mariner Valley.

We at Allen Inc. wish you good luck in your terraforming project sir!

  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to Worldbuilding.SE! We're glad you could join us! When you have a moment, please click here to learn more about our culture and take our tour. I've got nothing to complain about this, your first post! +1 & Thanks! $\endgroup$ – JBH Apr 14 '19 at 22:36
  • $\begingroup$ Excellent, "at super high altitudes Earth can get extremely hot" - yes. +1 $\endgroup$ – BLT-Bub Apr 14 '19 at 23:22
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks. I might not need to remelt the core after all, if I go with a magnet in L1. But all that water will be handy. Maybe not for seas, but for hydroponic farming. I read some sci-fi about humans making a struggling outpost on Mars, but Earthling not being able to handle long space flights because of claustrophobia. Human Martians, who grew up in enclosed spaces, had no such limitation - and they went out to populate the galaxy. $\endgroup$ – Peter M. - stands for Monica Apr 15 '19 at 15:40

Electromagnets! But not to generate the field....lets try using them to restart the core spinning which should generate heat. I have no idea if the energy required to do this is even feasible, but it should make for a fun idea. It'll work best if there is still a layer of liquid iron core or magma separating the two. I have seen theory that the Earths core actually rotates in the opposite direction of the rest of the planet, which causes a great deal of friction and in part responsible for the internal heat...I don't know the validity of the theory for earth, but maybe can be used here

Put up a string of electromagnets in a circle around the entirety of the planet. Turn them on and begin rotating the string of magnets around the planet in the reverse direction of the planets rotation...hopefully the iron and nickel rich core are more affected by the magnets and adopt the spin of the electromagnets, changing their rotation in relation to the rest of the planet. A reverse spinning iron core would cause much friction and heat, hopefully giving the mantle the liquid feel you would want here and bringing the rotation needed to cause a magnetic field.

I really have no idea if this is anyway feasible, but kinda sounds like a fun experiment...please criticize away. Thoughts?

edit to add:

I figured I should be able to do a calculation to come up with a 'how much energy required' for this to work...but it's quite difficult to obtain the numbers I would require. First thing is Mar's core size is estimated at anywhere between 6% and 25%...unfortunately that appears to be the extent of our knowledge there. and introduces a margin of error higher than the answer I could give.

Second is I have no idea on the state of the Mars core. It is assumed that it is solid, however this is assumption and the extent it has solidified is unknown. If there is a liquid barrier between the core and the mantle (either liquid core or liquid mantle...or both) this would be a bit easier. If it's completely solid and attached, then there would be an initial energy input required to tear the core separate from the mantle.

Third...I've got no idea on the sun's potential when it comes to solar energy on Mars, both from sun output and a filtered out from the remaining atmosphere.

With all these unknowns, it's really tough to give any form of estimate on the volume of energy we would need nor the volume of energy that could be harvested to fuel this. If it's for a story, large scale fusion might be a better alternative as it can provide an extreme amount of energy and you really wouldn't care about the size of the fusion reactor (or if it's cold fusion for that matter) since it can be dismantled after the desired result is achieved.

Maybe you can get a more physics oriented person to answer this with actual numbers

  • $\begingroup$ That's something along my thinking! No bombardment necessary! How much energy we would need for this - would few hundred years of solar be enough? $\endgroup$ – Peter M. - stands for Monica Jan 16 '15 at 21:39
  • $\begingroup$ @PeterMasiar - had to edit in an answer to your question as it's too long to include in a comment. Short form...I have no clue. $\endgroup$ – Twelfth Jan 16 '15 at 22:15
  • $\begingroup$ You can't make a core spin without it being surrounded by a liquid core. I don't think Mars has one. Even so, the coupling needed to spin a planetary core with magnets from 2-3000 miles away is massively larger than using those same magnets to generate the much lesser magnetosphere field. $\endgroup$ – Oldcat Jan 17 '15 at 1:41
  • $\begingroup$ Peter; A mere hundred years of solar will get you plenty of power: 3.9e26 watts * 3.15569e9 seconds - whatever amount you leave for the Earth to harvest (or: 90 billion H-bombs a second); assuming you get a Dyson sphere for solar energy capture. So, the real question is; how much solar do you want to capture? $\endgroup$ – user3082 Jan 17 '15 at 6:57

Interesting but we are still speculating what the Martian core is made of. Certainly Mars needs a decent 'outrigger' like a moon to maintain a tidal effect on the core and keep it molted like a cosmic Kenwood. I think that a realistic but dangerous solution is the nano tech approach. A cold iron liquid conversion scheme might just get the outer-outer solid core moving again.

Depending on the lifetime and penetration of the nanotech, a nano asset could be introduced to convert the solid surface part of the outer-outer core at least. Just pure speculation as to what the penetration might be before the assets are melted. Given that the devices are not made of some exotic fantastical material like neutronium they would only withstand a limited amount of abuse.

The project would introduce them at simultaneous points around the Martian globe and then they would be administered in waves to the core. This might be quicker than one might imagine bearing in mind that the assets are to be self-replicating. The simplicity of this plan is the tiny amount of assets that need to be introduced the core. The assets can be introduced via a larger self guiding nano-asset that is built around a payload of replicating core deliquesce devices (CDDs).

Stage 2 is simpler. If the outer core is liquid (at least 300 miles deep as an unsubstantiated guess with no math to back it up...yet) then the rotation of the planet should do the rest of the work much like when you turn a cup of cappuccino quickly and the cup moves but the liquid does not. Initially the momentum of the planet would keep the core at a relative rotational speed to the planet.

The introduction of the CDDs should be in a wave form deliberately to cancel the momentum of the planet. Waves can then be cancelled by introducing equal or opposite waves from the same volume of CDDs to phase in the opposite direction. A wave effect could be used to start the core but it would be better to use it to stop the outer liquid and let the rest of Mars do the heavy lifting as far as rotating the planet around the liquid core. Friction should then heat up the 'cold' liquid iron and friction should heat it up to a reasonable working temperature that would result in the loss of all the asset CDDs but hopefully they would have completed their mission by this point. The duration of this mission would be purely speculative but under the right circumstances would be substantially less than millions of years or physically moving the planet or slamming asteroids into the surface of the planet. Depending on the success of chain-reaction replication Mars core radius is approx 1700 km therefore

V ≈ 2.06×10(tenth power)

The design of the CDD has three directives:-

  1. Swim as instructed
  2. Deliquesce the outer outer core.
  3. Replication from the raw materials as a consequence and by-product of deliquesance.

Once the core was flowing statically in comparison to the planet we could view this as a static commutator model. The inner core would still be moving at the relative surface velocity. With any luck this would re-start the magnetosphere.

One would imagine the next team will guide a couple of comets to the surface. A matched velocity collision would do the least damage to the integrity of the motion of the now moving (relatively) outer core. One would assume that the rotation would also stabilize procession and affect day, and season length.

In an ideal universe the introduction of a moon equitable to Earths' in relation to Mars' size would stabilize and create enough pull on the planet to maintain liquidity of the outer core and enough fluidity to cause a moving mantle. The downside of this might mean extra tectonic movements and volcanic/earthquakes. (yes we still call them Earthquakes on Mars. It would be pretentious to call them Marsquakes) To recap what we get out of this is

  1. Magnetosphere
  2. Surface life
  3. Life period reproduction cycle regulation of a moon.

What we dont get is the cleanup of some of the chlorinated hydrocarbon perchlorates. If we added water extraneously from comets and the suchlike most likely would also contain some toxins that would need to be treated in some way. Some believe that a high velocity impact would liquify and distil the water from a comet but how long it would take to condense onto the planets surface in the form of an ocean is anyone's guess and would need extensive modelling before it was executed.

CDD impact on the core would be easier to model based on controllable, programmable variables. The pros outweigh the cons and the main con is losing contact and control of the CDDs or them being used inappropriately which could be disastrous in a habitable environment. Thus a self disassembly code would be a fail safe in such contingencies.


Three solutions come to mind, in order of horrendous difficulty:

The easiest way to heat a planet is tidal warping, which "only" requires that you park a small planetary mass next to it that is sufficiently large and close to create Roche Tides that flex the fabric of the world and create frictional heating. They believe this is what heats Io's sulfur core and keeps Europa's sub-ice ocean liquid, if so, it's effective but you'd have to move a worldlet, or several, without breaking it up and then put it into an orbit that is constantly on the verge of breaking it up without it actually falling apart. You might be able to start by altering the orbits of Phobos and Deimos, assuming you have a lot of experience with manipulating those kinds of orbital masses.

Theoretically you could introduce enough radioactive isotopes into a planet that the heat of decay would cause the kind of melting you want and it could have the advantage of long-term sustained heat input if you use something with a long half-life, high emissions, and lots of radioactive radiogenic isotopes in it's decay sequence. I can think of no feasible delivery system, also no source of the volume of radioactive isotopes that would be required.

You could also use magnetic induction to heat a planet but that requires building a high power rotating magnetic field around a planet I'm not sure but I think you could build a planet, or something similar, a bit easier than an induction coil for one. If one used large highly magnetic masses, free orbiting, one might be able to combine a Roche Tide heating with localised, rather than planet-wide, magnetic induction. That's a big maybe, I'm not sure if you can create "localised induction" on any scale (my experience of induction is that completely within a magnetic field used to heat metal objects for case hardening) let alone with a planet.

Even if you have the tech and resources for any method there's a problem with heating something the size of Mars, it's too small to stay hot. That is to say the "Cubed/Squared Law" is against you when it comes to heat retention, Mars has a relatively small heat retaining volume compared to it's radiating surface area so any amount of heat you care to pump in pours out really fast, fast in geological terms, a few millions of years to bleed away the heat it was born with (and all the heat radioactive decay can currently give it) compared to Earth which is still hot Billions of years later.

As a side note if you want to read some thoughts on planetary engineering on this scale I suggest the works of Larry Niven he's an engineer turned science fiction writer, in particular Building Harlequin's Moon in which they make a planet in orbit of a gas giant. Also the essay Bigger Than Worlds which explores non-planetary living spaces.


Assume any plausible future technology.

Okay, I'm going to posit one handwavium technology and try to do everything with that.


A technology is perfected that allows opening wormholes of reasonable size at a distance. The "portals" are exactly that, portals in space - they do not connect points faster than light (rather the opposite). But given sufficient energy to make things balance out and prevent a perpetual motion machine from being set up, it becomes possible to connect Mars' core with a region somewhere inside the Sun.

Obvious weapon applications aside, this would easily supply all the heat necessary to re-melt the core. Restarting the geodynamo is more complicated, but transferring momentum and charge from the same source should do the trick.

  • $\begingroup$ Bonus plot device for sequal: seeing how the center of Earth has an assumed temperature in the same order of magnitude as the surface of Sol, it is reasonable to guess in this scenario that Earth's own molten core is due to this very same technique set up before recorded history. The Solians use this technology as their primary means of space travel. $\endgroup$ – Loduwijk Apr 10 '17 at 18:37

No adequate terraforming of Mars or its magnetic field jump start will ever be possible without the presence of advanced nanotechnology as many stated in here, altogether with the development of He-3 fusion reactors for space propulsion, that would make a round-trip to Saturn possible in just a months period.

Only when that time comes - in about only 50 yrs from now, more or less if we don't get to f**k things terribly down here in forms of a nuclear holocaust - that we will finally come to develop these super advanced nanomachines, able of being self sustainable like super viruses or microbial life and performing a vast number of things from 3D printing , to matter transmutation, to super heavy matter synthesis, that will set us free of any limitations and promote our civilization to the next level. This would render our efforts on Mars terraforming more possible than ever before.

Today, in several labs, there have been advances in nanotechnology the likes of which were never met before. There are lab nanomachines today that are capable of chemical transmutation of matter, and that means everything in the case of terraforming a planet to match our ecosystem.

  • Means that we could find a way to control abundant quantities of CO2 at the precise levels required to generate a greenhouse effect more efficiently than any microbial life does here on earth, and, actually, in a jiffy.

  • Means that we can create huge quantities of ferrous materials transmutating the martian bedrock many hundreds of miles deep, kilometers wide, to make artificial super magnets embedded deep inside the martian mantle or even

  • inject to the core huge quantities of artificial super condensed matter, not available today but quite achievable under the use of extreme nanotechnology, thus, increasing the martian planetary mass / and in so doing, boosting the gravity field Mars is so much missing today due to its small size. Eg. If we can double the martian gravity, that's gonna rise over 60% that of the Earth, close to Venusian levels, rendering the planet capable of holding all the necessary volatiles to form a more Earthly-like atmosphere in the end.

  • Also, it means that, advanced nanomachines will be continually balancing the presence of the gases in the atmosphere, or even boost the creation of the ozone layer, to protect martian life from the intense solar UV radiation.So: No more need for bacteria or plate tectonics for any of this.

One thing though very serious as already mentioned is that, salt water all along with metal ions is essential into sustaining or even increasing the magnetic field effect BIG TIME, due to the manipulation of all those free electrons produced by the solar wind itself, as it happens here on Earth, so this excessive current is positively fed back to the planetary dynamo, to effectively increase the magnetic field intensity.

It's theorized that, the main reason that the magnetic field on Mars failed completely, was because Mars slowly lost its atmosphere and liquid water due to the low gravity, besides solar ripping, so no more salty oceans means no more water currents, no more positive feedback of any telluric electric activity too.

So how to remedy the water shortage situation?

  • Well, literally millions of huge ice boulders the size of one miles each, will be carried from Saturnian rings or the Jovian satellites and will be used to bombard Mars,thus, enriching the atmosphere with all the water needed to flood the planet, as its estimated there are over 10,000 times(!) the amount of water existing here on Earth, that's trapped in Saturn's ring system, quite huge quantities of it indeed.

  • Advanced spacecrafts, equipped with He-3 powered ion boosters can be used for transferring all this material to a collision course to Mars, thus, increasing the thermal load on a planetary level too, indeed a very useful byproduct.

During this process:

  • Millions of the spacecrafts could be constructed by the sheer use of nanotechnology from scratch, and even without the slightest human intervention.

  • Millions of tons of high grade radioactive material will be collected by nanomachines from Jovian moons and asteroids , and sent on Mars to be used for ejecting them into the planetary core by using thousands plasma-drills, that will lead huge payloads of this radioactive stuff right to the heart of the martian core!

  • If we get to inject a mass of half a mile radius of radioactive material into the martian core, then it's gonna be hot enough to last for billions of years of its own, without any other additional aiding mechanisms, such as tidal stressing etc.

  • The mantle will start to melt also, causing huge marsquakes & volcanic activity in the process, but that's an inevitable side effect we just crave for , as it will also help jump-starting the martian plate tectonics that are now inactive.

  • All along with this, huge amounts of super dense, artificially constructed "exotic" matter will be injected to the core. The source materials will be obtained by trillions of mining nanobots from the asteroid belt, and initially it will be dropped in designated areas to also aid in adding more thermal load to the planet, and then in the process it will be collected by trillions of specialized nanomachines and reshaped into huge cubes, ready to be used for the production of this super heavy material.

Also, the planetoid Ceres will be carefully driven by billions of ion thrusters, on a very close martian orbit, rotating twice or more a day around the planet in the beginning. this will help :

  • To jump start an intense tidal friction effect on a planetary level and help remelting the martian core .

  • To provide a stabilizing mechanism for mars and prevent the polar regions from wobbling around as is the case today!

To achieve this, the orbit will be set just above the Roche limit, and Ceres will become the new martian moon, that will be slowly rotating away from mars by a few inches a year exactly the way our own moon does , but, boosting on remelting of the martian core in the process and slightly reducing the martian daily rotation by a few nanoseconds per year, which is now about 24.4+ hours.

  • The new martian moon will be escorting mars till the End of Days of our solar system and Mars will be completely terraformed, having obtained about 60% the gravity of Earth, covered by immense salty oceans with a 2+ psi of atmospheric pressure and a thriving biosphere , identical to ours and with minimum genetic interference.

  • Due to mutual tidal friction, perhaps the huge internal water deposits of the Cerian moon will also slowly liquefy if not already,forming underground oceans, and its core will also start heating up as well. We've seen this happening to all Jovian moons, and elsewhere too .

  • The new pairing will probably turn to a twin planetary system, as Ceres would be capable of supporting Life underground and act as an excellent generation ship for Mankind and our evolutionary offspring , should we ever decide to leave this solar system or move further than Jupiter, if the sun gets too red to devour even mars! Of course, many other planetoids of the asteroid belt would be internally "terraformed" by our nanomachines to be used likewise, but that's another story all by its own.

Of course , what I'm now describing is yet, within the realm of magic, but just think of what the level of our technology was only 50 yrs back and you'll see that its quite feasible if we don't mess things up in the process. It's quite possible under this perspective, that, Mars would fully transform to an earth-like planet in just a few generations, not thousands, not millions of years ahead. All we need is to get down our asses and find out how to make nanomachines just a few hundred molecules wide in size, many times smaller than the smallest viruses, capable of performing nothing more than sheer wonders/ under our contemporary perspective. It's gonna be quite a challenge, but not an impossible one. And then, those wondrous super machines will make all the dirty work for us, and we'll just have to sit down and watch the show.

EDIT: And for those rude enough to even make themselves more ridicule in the process / an i mean you Mr.Masiar, by all means, here's my answer that im not able to post as a reply to your personal insults that you call a "reply" ,because its considered too damn long by the authoring system.

Here goes :

"Quite the contrary: Matter chemical transmutation / as already quoted by me is a real fact. I'd read an article a decade ago that a micromachine was constructed to leave a trail of pure copper behind it while moving forward on a substance that was not copper at all. Made a huge impression to me back then. i don't remember any more details on that article, but the fact that it was published a decade ago is a very good reason for me to theorize that the outcome of more advance nanomachines will be viable in a period of at least 50 yrs from now.Already in a decade or so, we're gonna see the first real fully functional Micro-machinery, working within the human tissue- and that's no exaggerating at all.Of course these machines will be controlled by a huge neural network as each of them will be a part of a certain substructure within the network, specialized and capable of changing roles within the structure.So no references for any "sentient" matter, here. And im sure enough that , in fifty years from now, the level of our knowledge of understanding will be so VASTLY different from today's , that the capabilities of that technological Era will resemble to contemporary "us", exactly as you characterized it, and exactly as i DID refer to it : PURE MAGIC. No mambo jumbo though , as you so rudely suggested, for may i state that Arthur C. Clarke's projections about space satellites, or even heavier than air flight machines and landing on the moon , were also considered "mambo jambo" science from the "brilliant" minds of those eras back then.So, No mambo jambo stuff, sir. Just pure 21st/end century SCIENCE, that still, today, is totally uncomprehending to any of us / albeit a small number of experts, both on top of the tops of advance research & as deep in the underground military labs as it gets."

  • $\begingroup$ Matter transmutation by nano-machines? How they will add or remove protons and/or neutrons from atom's nucleus? Virus is as small as things can be (just few molecules). What you are proposing are sentient atoms. What you describe is PURE magic, with addition of some scientifically sounding mumbo-jumbo. You cannot terraform planetoids: not enough gravity: even Mars has gravity too weak to hold its own atmosphere. $\endgroup$ – Peter M. - stands for Monica Feb 20 '17 at 14:00

The 30 holes with 1,500 warheads sounds plausible except that we barely have technology to reach the bottom of Earth's crust, nevermind a planet's core. A network of solar powered EM satellites seems the best route for the next hundred or thousand years with maintenance, but the surface of Mars will never be like that of Earth because its mass is 1/10th our planet and it could not hold onto water vapor at a comfortable temperature. The most likely scenario is a rich CO2 atmosphere blanketing a frozen tundra, though with free oxygen at >10%( by an educated guess). This is very habitable by human standards, but it would take millennia for life to develop( aside from what we engineer) and the chance of healthy native intelligence is low. You have to think like the big boys if you want to play God.

p.s. the satellites could also be used for planetwide WiFi... just saying.


Combination drilling deep into the mantle, nuclear waste and other heavy/nuclear material, nuclear weapons, and a tangential drilling angle.

So drill multiple holes down into the mantle, near to the border of the mantle and core. Make sure they are at a tangential angle, all aimed to increase the rotation rate of the core/planet. Next dump all our nuclear waste, as well as dense metals, and metals that will react favorably to a nuclear explosion (in a giving off heat kind a way) into the bottom of the holes. Lastly take all 15,000 current nuclear weapons on Earth, divide them equally between all holes, and with as great a velocity as you can ram them into the holes and at impact with your material simultaneously detonate them all.

This could increase the rotation of the core/planet, increase the temperature of the mantle at the core border, possibly sink more heavy/fissile material deeper into the core, and kick start the dynamo with newly hot liquified mantle at the cores border.

Bonus, all nuclear waste and weapons are gone, the biggest hurdle is the drilling all the rest can be done today.

  • $\begingroup$ Detonating all those nuclear weapons to increase rotation (BTW increasing rotation is not a goal) would have to eject huge amounts of material. Most of it will NOT go to orbit (and if did, orbit would be unusable for space flight for millennia). It will drop on the Mars surface, polluting it with radioactive waste. Less than optimal. $\endgroup$ – Peter M. - stands for Monica Jul 6 '17 at 16:28
  • $\begingroup$ They all would detonate deep within the planet, near the border of the mantle/core, not sure why it would eject much material at all, if any. We detonated nukes under water and essentialy nothing came up. I expect all that energy will go towards heating up all the nuclear material and mantle around it. An increased rotation of the core or the planet will increase the likelihood the core/mantle dynamo will be reactivated and increase the magnetic moment. See here: iopscience.iop/article/10.1086/309891/fulltext/5296.text.html $\endgroup$ – Brooks Nelson Jul 6 '17 at 18:09
  • $\begingroup$ If they detonate in the mantle without ejecting any material, how they will have any effect on rotation? (Again, changing rotation was not requirement) And how and why would core increase rotation? I do agree that they will add some heat to the mantle and melt some core, but how much? Give me some numbers. $\endgroup$ – Peter M. - stands for Monica Jul 6 '17 at 18:56
  • $\begingroup$ The ejection of material does not effect whether rotation is affected. So the holes drilled are all at an angle to the core, not straight to the center of the planet but aimed as a glancing 45 degree angle to the core's surface. Similar to holding up a spinning bicycle wheel and hitting it with a glancing blow to speed it up. Except it's 30 holes with 500 warheads each moving with great speed down the shafts, simultaneously. 100 million C, per warhead, plus the hot waste. $\endgroup$ – Brooks Nelson Jul 7 '17 at 0:55

There are some initial designs for an artificial magnetic field for Earth. The reason is that Earth's magnetic field goes through a cycle of reversals of polarity and these Japanese scientists hypothesized that the weaker magnetic field during the period of transition would cause technological chaos and increased radiation exposure and so an artifical magnetic field would be needed:


They propose 12 superconducting rings around the Earth. Mars is of course half the radius of the Earth, and would need fewer rings and each ring would be much shorter. Mars is also geologically stable (compared to Earth), has no severe storms, no huge bodies of water, so it is much more practical to build such a system on Mars.


Frame challenge: there is no reason to due this.

  1. Increasing the mass of the atmosphere would provide sufficient radiation shielding for anyone on the surface. Mar's current atmosphere already provides enough protection that someone on the surface would receive less radiation than astronauts on the ISS.

  2. Atmospheric loss due to solar winds takes place on geologic timescales (And some say that it's not a significant factor at all). If you can build an atmosphere there in the first place, topping it off every few million years is trivial. There is also evidence that loss due to solar winds is significantly caused by the Sun's ultraviolet radiation. A magnetic field would do nothing to stop these photons.


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