I don't know how much greenhouse gases are on our planet but what would happen to Mars if we could contain the gases on Earth somehow and transfer it to the surface of Mars?

Ignoring the fact that solar winds would strip away progress made if any, would all the greenhouse gases on Earth be enough to warm Mars considerably? I've look around google but no questions of mine have been asked apparently...

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    $\begingroup$ First effect would be a horrible extinction of all plant species (which thrive on carbon dioxide) shortly followed by extinction of majority of life on Earth. We NEED CO2 in air, just not in the current excessive amounts! $\endgroup$
    – SF.
    Commented Dec 26, 2016 at 1:40

1 Answer 1


The total mass of Earth's atmosphere is about $5.1480 \times 10^{18}$ kg. The carbon dioxide portion of that is about 0.058% by mass. Of that, about 40% is "excess" carbon dioxide, above the pre-industrial average. So that all comes to be about 1.2 trillion metric tons ($1.2 \times 10^{15}$ kg), which getting that to Mars would represent a significant challenge in and of itself.

The atmosphere of Mars is about 25 trillion metric tons ($2.5 \times 10^{16}$ kg), so in fact that would increase the atmospheric pressure of Mars by about 5%, which isn't that signficant. I'm not an expert in the math, but I believe that would be not be enough to trigger a "Runaway greenhouse effect" that would melt a large part of the Martian polar ice caps, which would in turn cause more running away of the temperatures.

Note there are much cheaper ways both to get rid of carbon dioxide on Earth and to bring greenhouse gases to Mars. See this article, which proposes manufacturing greenhouse gasses on Mars which are much more potent than Carbon Dioxide.

  • $\begingroup$ You forgot to mention that while Earth's atmosphere's CO$_2$ content is about 0.058% by mass, Mars' atmosphere's CO$_2$ content is about 95.9% by mass. :-) $\endgroup$
    – user
    Commented Dec 23, 2016 at 13:31
  • $\begingroup$ Related: space.stackexchange.com/questions/12556/… $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 23, 2016 at 14:25
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    $\begingroup$ +1 Nice answer to a rather nonsense question. Merry Xmas. $\endgroup$
    – Ginasius
    Commented Dec 23, 2016 at 18:52
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    $\begingroup$ I switched to metric tons along the way, which drops 3 zeros. $\endgroup$
    – PearsonArtPhoto
    Commented Dec 24, 2016 at 11:10
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    $\begingroup$ I added specific numbers for the metric tonnage to hopefully reduce the confusion. Hopefully I got the exponents right. $\endgroup$
    – user
    Commented Dec 24, 2016 at 19:41

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