Could Climate Change Make Mars Suitable for Human Life? - NYTimes.com
Chris McKay, a Mars expert at the NASA Ames Research Center, theorizes that engineers would first have to encourage the kind of global warming they want to avoid on Earth. This could be done by releasing greenhouse gases, like chlorofluorocarbons or perfluorocarbons, into the atmosphere. The goal would be to increase the surface temperature of Mars by a total of about 7.2 degrees Fahrenheit.
The gases would be produced on the planet by processing chemicals from its atmosphere and soil in giant factories. Each factory would require as much power as would be produced by a large nuclear plant. With the rise in temperature, heat-trapping carbon dioxide would eventually be released from the planet’s south polar ice cap, producing a further average temperature rise of even greater magnitude, perhaps as much as 70 degrees Celsius, or 126 degrees Fahrenheit.
These high temperatures would melt ice to produce the water needed for living things. Only then would trees be planted to absorb carbon dioxide and produce enough oxygen for humans.