Most think humans will reach Mars within their lifetimes. Many expect to make the trip themselves. And rock climbing will be tops among recreational activities. Special addition to this section: A trail map to hiking the Face on Mars!" />
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Rock Climbing on Mars


 

by Unknown

January 06, 2004

1976 Viking 1 image of the Face on MarsMost think humans will reach Mars within their lifetimes. Many expect to make the trip themselves. And rock climbing will be tops among recreational activities. Such are the aspirations of thousands of U.S. schoolchildren.

More than 2,600 youngsters took part in a 2002 online poll, released by the organizers of Space Day, an annual event designed to bolster interest in science, math and space among youths.

"It's exciting and encouraging that the spirit of exploration is alive and that students see it occurring in their lifetime," said Orlando Figueroa, director of NASA's Mars Exploration program. "These may well be the children that make it a reality."

Among the findings of the 2002 survey:
* Seventy percent of respondents thought a manned mission would reach Mars within the next 10 or 20 years.
* Nearly 25 percent plan to visit the red planet personally.
* More than 50 percent anticipated rock climbing as the most fun activity.

After Mars, the next most popular destination planet for the future space explorers was Pluto.


And now, (nearly) exclusively on Camp4, a special section for adventure climbers. Sign up for your adventure grants now, and be sure to report your FA to the AAJ and Camp4. Yes, we'll sponsor any serious attempts at new routes on FOM. For more information on sponsorship, contact us at yeahright@camp4.com.

FOM trailmap by NASAThe Face on Mars Trail Map
by Jim Garvin, Chief Scientist for NASA's Mars Exploration Program

Hike length is approximately 5.5 km or 3.6 miles one way, with a total elevation gain of nearly a thousand feet. Rating.... easy at start and midsection, with some very steep sections. Take plenty of water and oxygen.

"I can imagine myself staring up at this 800-foot-high mass of rock with steep flanks," Garvin says, "the same as Middle Butte in Idaho. An apron of boulders around the base would make the climb difficult [for a robot], but a human could do it well." The start and midsection of the hike are easy, with some steep flanks in between. It should take fit climbers about two hours to reach the summit.

The views from the summit are spectacular. To the south the ground slopes upwards, toward the highlands. To the north the terrain descends toward the plains. Looking around you can see a barren landscape dotted with buttes, mesas, and impact craters, a curious mix of the bizarre and the familiar.

Directions: Starting to the SOUTH, away from the Face (hereafter FOM), the hike begins with a walk to the scree slopes at the south base of the feature, and then moves to the right (east) around the base of the FOM, and then to the NNW up to a breach in the feature about midway through the eastern middle. At this point there is a passage up the east flank of the Gee, it doesn't look like a face to me!feature, and the hike takes this route, passing between the two ridge-like prominences that outline the eastern "battlements" of the FOM... then the hike traverses a smoother patch before it turns and skirts the summit region before finding a circuitous path to the upper reaches of the FOM (where there is a flat, bright circular patch about 100 m in diameter).

Cartoon caption: "Gee, it doesn't look like a face to me!" by artist Duane Hilton.

'News' compiled from NASA and CNN sources.


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