You are here:

Astrophysics/How many % of the mass of Mars is iron?


Hi! I was thinking of colonization of the solar system and it struck me that a good theoretical (don't know about practicality) plan would be to break Mars apart and use the iron of Mars to build space habitats. The mass of Mars is 6.41693 1023 kilograms so how much of that mass is iron? A Stanford torus capable of supporting ten thousand people would have a mass of 10 million tons. So how many Stanford toruses would we be able to build from the iron in Mars? And is there any theoretical (and if there is a practical) way to break a planet like Mars to pieces to use it to build space habitats?

Mars rock is still largely calcium and carbon and sulfur.  Until we do a sample return mission, no one can do anything but speculate about the core.  Even if a Stanford torus (a ridiculous idea, btw) only weighed 10 million tons and Mars was onle 0.01% iron, obviously you can do the math.  That's still billions of toruses, actually 6 billion. Equal to one for every person on the planet...but how would you get them into space?  The fuel required is ridiculous in comparison.  That's the first of a looooong list of problems here.


All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Dr. Stephen O. Nelson


Fusion, solar flares, cosmic rays, radiation in space, and stellar physics questions. Generally, nuclear-related astrophysics, but I can usually point you in the right direction if it's not nuclear-related or if it's nuclear but not astrophysics.


Just moved from being a physics professor at the University of Texas of the Permian Basin into government work. Doctoral dissertation was on a reaction in CNO-cycle fusion, worked in gamma-ray astronomy in the space science division of the naval research laboratory in the high-energy space environment branch.

Government work as a physical scientist with a nuclear focus.

Ph.D. in physics, research was on nuclear fusion reactions important in stellar fusion, further work on space telescope technology.

©2016 All rights reserved.