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Imagine Being Dustbound On Mars, Settler


This global map of Mars shows a growing dust storm as of June 6, 2018. The map was produced by the Mars Color Imager (MARCI) camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft. The blue dot indicates the approximate location of Opportunity.
Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS — caption verbatim from NASA for the sake of accuracy.

NASA recently reported that the global dust storm on Mars, which has lasted a month, is starting to die down but may take weeks or months to completely disperse.

Imagine being a resident in a Martian settlement through that.

Sure, the settlement will almost certainly be underground, as long-term human residents will need shelter from the radiation that penetrates the feeble atmosphere and magnetosphere of the Red Planet.

But surely there will be periscopes, surface observation domes, and surface excursions.

Not during a dust storm.

Solar power will be difficult to come by during one of these storms, too. Sure, it could be generated in orbit and beamed down. But what will the dust do to the microwave laser that would do that?

Mars will need nuclear or fusion power to weather dust storms.

And I wonder, will being stuck under a skyful of dust bring on cabin fever in people already confined to tunnels and domes?

Something to think about.