Could an asteroid orbiting round Mars make it a more hospitable planet?

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Offline thedoc

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Greg  asked the Naked Scientists:
   Hello there dear underpaid minion of the mighty, powerful and all-knowing Doctor they have come to call Smith, I have a question.Say that the good Doctor, myself and two almost reasonably minded cohorts headed off in the Naked Scientists' Orion, yes I know you have one hidden under the studio desk, and captured ourselves a very (very very) large asteroid that we then brought back and established in an effective orbit around Mars so that it generated tidal forces that began to rewarm the planet's core and slowly restarted the uniform polar magnetic field so that solar radiation was deflected enough to maintain a high pressure and friendly atmosphere for our summer holiday together hiking the forested foothills of Olympus Mons. So I guess my science question is - would this be damn cool or what? P.S. I may very well have mismanaged my point masses somewhat!

What do you think?
« Last Edit: 31/03/2016 15:50:02 by _system »


Offline evan_au

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Mars already has two (suspected) captured asteroids in orbit around it - but they are too small to do any tidal heating.

I think you would need to move a Jupiter-sized object into Mars orbit, and put Mars into an elliptical orbit around it in order to get much tidal heating. And it will take a very long time to make a noticeable difference.

While you are doing this, you may as well move it into a warmer orbit, to make your hiking trips more comfortable.

But all of this won't restore a comfortable oxygen (+optional nitrogen) atmosphere with which we are all familiar....

Terraforming is such hard work! (Read the Red Mars trilogy for one take on how it could be done...)