Back in 2012 Dutch company Mars One announced they would “establish a human settlement on Mars in 2023.”
In 2014 NASA said they were developing the capabilities needed to send humans to Mars in 2030.
And three years later, Space X founder, Elon Musk, said he would send people to Mars in 2024.
We apparently missed the window for the shortest distance between Earth and Mars in 2018 when the two planets were separated by only 35m miles. Theoretically, this would have allowed space travelers to make it to Mars in about 200 days - compared to the 250 normal days of travel.
But whether we send someone sooner or later, there’s still that little challenge of producing energy on Mars.
Mars is home to unpredictable tornados and the biggest sandstorms in the universe (that we know of so far, I suppose). I experienced the aftermath of a sandstorm once when I woke up in Greece one morning and found the entire landscape around me covered in red sand. Locals explained it was from a Saharan Desert sandstorm where the sands blow over the Mediterranean Sea and cover other countries. More recently we experienced this phenomenon in June of 2020 when one of the biggest sand storms blew over the U.S.
In a blog published by NASA in 2001, the author discusses how wind turbines much like those that are used to create electricity at the South Pole and in remote areas of Alaska may be used on Mars one day for the same purpose. Alaska experiences 6 months of darkness where scientists must generate electricity in harsh conditions. Comparing it to martian global dust storms that turn the days into nights, they believe wind turbines can be used in the same manner to produce electricity while solar can help produce energy on days when the sunshine is visible.
"Wind power and solar power may complement each other on Mars. When you have a large dust storm blocking the sunlight on Mars, a wind turbine can still generate electricity," said scientist David Bubenheim of NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley.
"Only during dust storms on Mars is there enough wind energy to operate a wind turbine," said Michael Flynn, another NASA Ames scientist.
The turbines could then be used with hydroponics to grow food - think indoor vertical gardens powered by the energy stored from turbines and solar! If this all sounds interesting and you want to truly be a leader in energy...grab your checkbook. For an undisclosed amount you can join the first paying SpaceX passenger, Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa, on the trip of a lifetime.