So You Think the Weather’s Bad?

We all complain about the weather sometimes.  It’s too hot, too cold, too rainy, not rainy enough.  Then you read Dune.  In Dune, the weather is always hot, it never rains, and they get these ridiculous sand storms with winds over 800 kilometers per hour (500 miles per hour).  At that speed, the sand will tear apart metal and strip the skin off your bones.

On Earth, we have many different types of climate, from arid deserts to tropical rainforests.  Arrakis, the fictional planet where most of Dune takes place, has only one climate (two if you count the polar ice caps).  It is pure, uninterrupted desert.  This creates a whole lot of dangers, including those ridiculous sand storms I mentioned.

But Dune’s a science fiction novel, and the whole thing is made up.  That’s reassuring, but there’s a real planet not too far from here that at times has Arrakis-like weather.  Below are two pictures of Mars.  One is on a clear, sunny day; the other is a day back in 2001 when a sandstorm blanketed the entire planet.

A Global Dust Storm on Mars
Source: Hubblesite.org
Mars, like Arrakis, has only one climate (again, not counting the ice caps).  Therefore, there’s nothing to stop a sandstorm from spreading.  It can grow and grow as much as it wants, sweeping over everything, leaving no place to hide.

As much as I want to live on Mars, there are some things about it that are really scary.  This is one of them.  Let’s all be thankful Earth has the proper balance to make life not only possible but relatively comfortable.

Click here for more info on 2001’s global sand storm on Mars.

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