7

After Quaid starts the reactor and Mars gains an atmosphere, would the temperature be comfortable enough for human habitation?

9

According to the film's official novelisation, the temperature (post-event) was chilly but not intemperate.

They recovered some of their strength and sat up. They became aware of the chill of the air. It had burst from the mountain warm, but as it expanded it cooled. Snowflakes were falling on them. But the ground itself was warming now, as the heat of the nuclear reactor spread out, so they were merely cold, not freezing.

Elsewhere on the planet might be rather colder but since everyone on Mars seems to live on or near the mountain, it doesn't matter that much and given that Mars now has an atmosphere (to absorb sunlight) it will undoubtedly warm the surface beyond the reach of the reactor's warmth.

  • There is evidence that back in the early days of the Solar System, when Mars still had a thick atmosphere, there was liquid water - even an ocean on the northern hemisphere. This suggests that the temperature was above freezing at least part of the year, and adding a new atmosphere would provide the same result. As a side note, since Mars' gravity is one-third of Earth's, three times the mass of air would be required to provide earthlike pressure on the surface. That's a helluva lot of air spurting out in a few minutes! – Klaus Æ. Mogensen Mar 19 '18 at 8:57

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