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Date: Year 1, Sur One, Sol 10 (1.1.10)

Alpha Landing Sites

The Alpha Landing Sites near Noctis Labyrinthus (Image credit: Mars Trek/NASA)

A few days ago we announced the four possible landing zones on Mars. Today we are looking at the primary zone (Alpha) and the four possible landing sites within that zone. These for sites will have to be eliminated by the crew before they would consider landing at any of the three other sites.

The Alpha sites are located in a transition region between the Tharsis Volcanic Plateau and Noctis Labyrinthus. The first Mars landing site will likely become a major hub for exploring the features in a 2,000 kilometer radius around it. Access to and from the site will be important, and the Alpha sites have been selected with that in mind.

In addition, a community as large as 500 scientists may be living at the Alpha landing site within eight years, so a roughly level area with room to expand is vital to the first ‘city’ on Mars.

Alpha Site 1A and 1B are located near a small impact crater west of Noctis Labyrinthus. This crater has been designated as Cráter de Tormenta or Storm Crater. The 200 meter deep crater will give scientists immediate access to areologic (geologic) information about the area. The crater may also play a role in development of the colony by providing sloped areas with good exposure to the Sun for solar panels and the botanical structures.

The details of each site are as follows:

    Site           Elevation   Longitude  Latitude  Distance from 1A

Alpha 1A       6,483 m      -108.58°       -4.61°

Alpha 1B       6,504 m      -108.66°       -4.54°                 6.4 km

Alpha 1C       6,513 m      -108.34°       -5.06°                34.0 km

Alpha 1D      6,496 m      -108.37°       -4.72°                13.5 km