Date: Year 1, Sur One, Sol 3 (1.1.3)
(Note: All images thanks to NASA ‘s Mars Trek at http://marstrek.jpl.nasa.gov)
Spain’s exploration of the Americas was anchored by colonies. The location of these colonies were usually determined what was convenient for ship access, but not necessarily convenient for inland access. Veracruz, the first port city in what is now Mexico, was surrounded by steep slopes that prevented easy land routes to and from the port.
For the exploration of Mars, we have the advantage of having detailed imagery of the entire planet. We also have robotic explorers that have served as ‘boots-on-the-ground,’ for us as we prepared for human development of the planet. Our goal is to find locations on Mars that provide good access to points of scientific, geologic, and possibly archaeological interest.
In addition we are looking for places that provide the best possible sites for resources and human habitation. The primary factors influencing our site for human occupation are as follows:
The driving questions of this mission are: 1) What is the history of Mars?, 2) How did the surface conditions on Mars develop?, 3) What are the challenges to sustaining human occupation of Mars?
The primary landing zone was selected because of the unusual features in the region. It is hoped that by understanding these feature we will answer key questions about Mars and planetary development.
Many of the features of Mars create barriers to exploring multiple regions. By placing our first Mars base in an area that avoids nearby hazards we can gain maximum access to multiple features.
In addition, landing a spacecraft in an undeveloped area requires a level, uncluttered surface. The final site will be determined as the first craft descends to the surface.
Sites nearest the equator were selected to provide the maximum solar benefit and warmest climate.