Despite its romantic appeal, Mars is a very hostile planet–at least “weather wise.” Although known for harboring dust storms upon its surface, the red planet seems to throw up a tantrum every three Martian years by coating the entire planet with “crimson soil.”
Massive regional storms have been whipping up dust on the red planet since late June. Now, they’ve combined to create a “planet-encircling veil of dust,” according to a statement from Malin Space Science Systems (MSSS), which operates a camera on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter for NASA.
“The dust raised by these individual storms has obscured most of the planet over the past few weeks,” the release stated.
Of all the space trials our species will face in the future, weather by far will be the most difficult. Humans (at best) can adapt to the climate of hostile regions, but have thus far been unable to manipulate it to our desires.
Just like our ancestors before us on Earth, future colonists will be at the mercy of the red planet’s emotional weather patterns, and may have to settle for constructing cities below the surface, as well as above.
(Video: Dust storms from the view of the Opportunity Rover on Mars. Credit: NASA)