Today I will talk about eight "symbolic" places on Mars that may be of interest to future space tourists.
As soon as the first Martian colony settles on the Red Planet, Mars promises to reveal its potential as one of the most interesting space tourism destinations in the solar system.
The tallest volcano in the solar system. The area of the planet's equatorial volcano is approximately equal to the area of the US state of Arizona (according to NASA data, more than 256 thousand square kilometers). Its height is 26 km, which makes it almost three times higher than the highest mountain on earth - Everest, which is about 8.8 km above sea level. Olympus is a shield volcano.
Due to the overlapping of consecutive volcanic flows, it has a low circular structure similar to a shield.) This material is formed as a result of a mass of lava masses from the planet whose slopes are Composed. For the future colonists of Mars, this volcano is a very attractive target for mountaineering, because its slope is not more than 5%. At the top of the volcano there is a huge depression that is about 85 km wide and up to 3 km deep.
When climbing Olympus, it is good to look around and reflect on some of the other volcanoes. There are a total of 12 giant volcanoes in an area of about 30 million square kilometers. Like Mount Olympus, these volcanoes are much taller in all respects than volcanoes on Earth - all of which are reduced by gravity, which allows them to rise upward. According to scientists, the last time these volcanoes erupted was about 2 billion years ago, about half of the entire history of Mars at the time.
Mars is home to not only the largest volcanoes in the solar system but also the largest valleys. According to NASA, the Mariner Valley stretches more than 4,000 kilometers above the surface of Mars.
It is about four times the length of the Grand Canyon in the United States, which is about 800 kilometers long. Scientists are not entirely sure how the Mariner Valley came to be, but there are various hypotheses about this advantage; Thus, according to the most popular, the valleys could have appeared after the formation of the Tharsis volcanic zone.
Over time, as the planet began to cool, the solidified lava began to split, eventually forming valleys.
North and South Poles of Mars
Mars also has a pole. Mars has two ice poles, which differ slightly in composition. Arctic exploration (pictured above) was performed using the Phoenix probe, Antarctica was only discovered by the same IAEA orbiters. According to NASA, during the winter, the temperature in the north and south poles of the planet decreases so much that carbon dioxide condenses from its atmosphere and lands on its surface in the form of ice.
In the summer, when carbon dioxide is returned to the atmosphere, everything changes. At the same time, carbon dioxide in the Northern Hemisphere disappears completely, leaving behind frozen caps. Some carbon dioxide remains in the southern hemisphere. All these movements of ice masses seriously affect the climate of Mars and cause wind and other atmospheric effects.
Gale Crater and Mount Sharp
The Gale Crater, which became famous with the Curiosity rover landing in the region in 2012, is a vast potential source of evidence of past water on the Red Planet. Just weeks after landing, the rover discovered the bed of an ancient dried-up Martian river. After months of traveling down the Gale Crater, the rover has found more evidence for Mars' "raw" history. The rover is currently located near the central summit of Mount Sharp's Gil Crater, named after geologist Robert Sharp. One of the most important discoveries for the rover was the discovery of traces of complex organic molecules. A study published in 2018 reported that the rover discovered organic particles inside a 3.5 billion-year-old rock. At the same time as announcing the discovery of organic matter, scientists announced that seasonal curiosity had confirmed the concentration of methane in the planet's atmosphere. Methane found on Mars may indicate both the presence of a primitive biosphere on the Red Planet and the presence of geological processes. The future rover that goes to Mars to replace Curiosity will probably be able to discover it.
Medusae cavities are one of the most interesting geological structures on Mars. There is a common belief among theorists that this structure is evidence of the collapse of a giant UFO on the Red Planet. However, the most probable explanation for the strange geological feature is the volcanic eruptions that occurred here more than 3 billion years ago. Scientists speculate that Medusae cavities are a volcanic source. The largest volcanic deposit in the solar system. It is located near the equator of the Red Planet and extends over about eight thousand kilometers. According to the findings of a study conducted in 2018, an ancient catastrophe could lead to the emergence of fluid reservoirs suitable for early life forms.
Strange lines on the slopes of Hills
Some slopes of Martian craters have what are called "repetitive elongated structures" - dark lines that appear in warm seasons. Scientists have not yet decided exactly what these lines are. In 2015, NASA scientists said that Earth spectroscopy showed signs of salt here, which may be an indication of liquid water. However, subsequent studies of "repetition of elongated structures" have shown that the surface structures of crater slopes may be created by atmospheric water or the movement of dry sand masses. To get to the true nature of these lines that appear and disappear, we will most likely have to approach them. But there is a problem. If foreign microbes live in these lines, there is a risk of infection when visiting this area. While NASA is trying to figure out how to explore these lines up close, while not disrupting the safety channels of the planets located on them, visitors and future Martian colonies may be able to use them using the same remote hunting cameras.
"Sand dunes" from the night labyrinth and the plains of Hellas Planitia
Because the planet's atmosphere is much thinner than before and water has evaporated from its surface, the current shape of Mars is largely formed by wind. There are still geological features on the planet that may indicate a "raw" history of Mars. For example, find the so-called "sand dunes" near an area called the Night Labyrinth (a huge collection of intersecting valleys) as well as the plains of Hellas. According to researchers, in these areas there were sand dunes up to several tens of meters high.
Later, their peaks were either swept or washed away by liquid water as a result of volcanic activity on the planet or by the movement of lava masses. According to scientists, such ancient sand dunes perfectly illustrate how the movement of air currents occurred on ancient Mars. Thanks to this, climate experts can understand what the Red Planet environment has been like in the past. Another interesting thing about "sand dunes" is that microbes can still hide at the base, protect them from radiation and wind, otherwise they can easily spread from the planet's surface. But these are just assumptions.
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Thank you for writing this. I loved it. Sometimes Mars makes me appreciate Earth more though!!😅