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If Mars were coated in a dark substance that absorbs sunlight (including infrared light), would this heat up Mars? I am envisioning a fine dust that is dispersed into the atmosphere, but possibly settles on Mars's surface all around. If we were able to change the albedo, possibly down to as low as 1%, would that make Mars habitable (temperature wise)? If the albedo were changed all the way to 1%, could this even make Mars too hot?

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Whatever dark, fine dust you drop on Mars will have to compete with the massive quantity of, presumably lighter, fine dust that is already there. – Wayfaring Stranger Jul 10 '14 at 14:50
One of the hopes is that a slight boost in temperature would vaporize frozen CO2 and trigger a runaway greenhouse effect. In my opinion this is unlikely. See… – HopDavid Jul 11 '14 at 18:48
Mars surface area is about 145 million square kilometers. Covering this would take a massive amount of black stuff. And once covered, winds would mix it with martian dust. It would take a astronomically massive amount. – HopDavid Jul 11 '14 at 18:53
up vote 2 down vote accepted

Of course! Actually this is one of the possible ways we have in order to make Mars friendlier to humans. This technique is called Terraformation and it inludes the altering of the Mars surface's albedo. However, the feasibility of this plan is yet questionable and there are maybe better ways to achieve this increase in the temperature like CO$_2$ emissions. Here is a nice article discussing exactly this subject.

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Asphalt roads do a great job at heating up cities! Mars can actually get up to 80F, so part of the challenge is preventing losing that heat in the low pressure atmosphere.

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