There is an initiative out there called Mars One (based in Netherlands) which aims to establish a first Martian colony by 2025. For that, they have already selected about a thousands of people to be the first settlers.
If this plan will happen remains to be discussed, as there are many technical, financial and other challenges the project faces.
But if you want to experience Mars, at least the landscape, you don’t have to go that far.
We have here, on Earth, places which pretty much resemble Mars and those can be visited for a fraction of a fraction of the cost of a mission to Mars.
Bonus, you can even get out alive… which is no small feat considering that some say the people of that Mars colony could be all dead in a matter of months after setting foot on the Martian soil.
Jason Major — who blogs about all things space at Lights in the Dark, Discovery and UniverseToday — assembled the panoramic images of Mars below (you can find more examples on his Flickr page).
Let’s see where on Earth (pun intended) can we spend our time and feel like on Mars.
1) The Atacama Desert in South America is the world’s driest non-polar desert and that makes it a great place to test out future Mars rovers.
In the picture above you can see one of Curiosity’s epic selfies and below is the European Space Agency’s prototype of their 2018 ExoMars mission rovering in the Atacama Desert.
5) We do have other places in the world which could pose as a Martian landscape.
Petrified Wood, Crystal Forest, Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona
Painted Desert, Petrified Forest National Park, Near Holbrook, Arizona
Devon Island, Canada
Around Meteor Crater, Arizona