Is this what it would look like "if Mars had ski slopes?"
A massive storm has carried Sahara desert dust all the way from Africa to the Sierra Nevada ski resort in Granada, Spain — and the videos look like they were taken on Mars.
The videos, widely circulated on social media, show a thick layer of orange dust blanketing the resort’s snow-covered slopes, while an ominous orange glow emanates from the sky above.
Skiers can be seen, revealing pristine white snow beneath the dust while going down the slope.
In other words, it’s the kind of conditions you’d expect to find on the Martian surface — not sunny southern Spain. In fact, when asked if this is what it would look like “if Mars had ski slopes,” SpaceX CEO Elon Musk replied with a tongue-in-cheek “yeah.”
Dust from the Sahara covered this Spanish ski resort yesterday, a visual of North Africa’s importance to the rest of the world
The most emptiest and parched area of the world supplies vital nutrients through this dust for rain forests and ocean life 1/ pic.twitter.com/HYD2ZAoUOk
— Science girl (@gunsnrosesgirl3) March 17, 2022
The situation got bad enough to force operators of the resort to shut down several ski lifts earlier this week, according to local news.
Storm Celia has caused havoc across much of central Europe, leading to dramatic skies and terrible air quality. Meteorologists in Spain warned of “extremely unfavorable” conditions.
It’s still unclear if climate change was directly responsible for the massive dust storm, but previous research has linked climate change to increasingly turbulent weather patterns and even the expansion of the Sahara desert.
“There are many concerns regarding the impact that climate change is having on the patterns of the frequency and intensity of the storms that favor the arrival of dust to our country,” Rubén del Campo, a spokesman for Spain’s weather service, told the Toronto Star.
Is this what a holiday on Mars will eventually look like? It’ll certainly take some time — and plenty of geoengineering — to ever find out if it’s even a possibility.