We have tried nuking places on Earth, and the popular feeling is that it has made them less habitable. Of course, they bounce back—Hiroshima, Bikini Atoll, Chernobyl are all considered much better off today than when they were originally blistered with radiation. On Mars, it would be different, Musk says. We would nuke the Martian polar caps so that they would melt and evaporate into the Martian atmosphere, which would start a greenhouse effect, which once again is considered bad on Earth but a stunningly good idea on Mars.
Many scientists spoke up immediately, saying Musk's idea was stupid, because you might start a nuclear winter on Mars, and winters there are cold enough already, with temps dipping down to minus 195 (Fahrenheit, of course, because I am a natural, metric-hating American). That's nippy. You wouldn't want it to get much colder than that, or Mars could turn into a place like Pluto, where you have to get up first thing in the morning and melt some atmosphere before you can breathe.
Still, the idea of nuking Mars is better than the idea of nuking anyplace on Earth, especially Israel. There's a lot of worry in Israel that Iran will get the bomb, now that the Iranians have agreed not to build one. "Say what?" some people say when they hear this, but they are Democrats. Republicans, of which the Prime Minister of Israel seems to be one, are certain that the first step towards getting the bomb is agreeing not to get one, and Iran's letting UN inspectors trample all over their Persian pride by being allowed to check every high school locker in the country for nuclear nuggets is just a ruse, and the first thing they will do with that bomb, once they have it, is nuke Israel.
Of course the Israelis have plenty of bombs themselves, and probably way better ones than the Iranians could cook up, and if Iran decided to cobble together an A-bomb and launch it as Israel, Israel would respond by turning Iran into a place that looked a bit like Mars, complete with only really being safe enough to be visited by robots, just like Mars is.
The bet here is that the Ayatollahs aren't going to do that—they're having way too much fun beating women for not wearing the right kind of Muslim bonnets in public and forbidding people from owning small, yappy dogs.
So if the Iranians get a bomb and really want to use it, they could team up with Elon Musk and drop it on Mars, thereby simultaneously improving that planet and making our planet, especially the Israeli and Republican parts of it, less nervous about them.
Talk about your elegant solutions.