SpaceRef.com, a site for the latest news and views on space exploration, recently posted a detailed and interesting article entitled “Mountaineering and Climbing On Mars which attempts to make a very serious and scientific look at what will be needed in order for humans to explore, and climb on the Martian surface.
The article is written in a very straight forward, matter-of-fact way that takes a serious look at the issues that man will face when we eventually travel to Mars. A whole host of logistics are examined, including issues with shelter and food, first aid, and more. There are sections that examine gear, which include items that we would use for climbing here on Earth as well, but some additional items such as an environmental suite and modified boots and gloves as well. The author even discusses which mountains to climb.
The premise is that much of the surface of the Red Planet is dry and barren with large geological upheavals. Explorers will likely be faced with having to go over some of those obstacles rather than around them. The writer even makes a case for climbing the mountains “because they’re there”.
It’s an interesting article that is one part speculation, one part scientific examination, and a healthy dose of a climber looking to for a new challenge as well. Author Keith Cowing mentions scaling Mt. Olympus, deemed the tallest mountain in the solar system, although that’s likely still open to debate. The massive mountain does stand more than 16 miles in height, clocking in at roughly 88,600 feet, compared to Everest’s 29,035. You begin to get a sense of the scale we’re talking about here. Cowing does note however that the mountain is more of a slow gentle rise to the summit and not a very big technical challenge. Easy to say when you’re on Earth huh? 😉
By the way, there has been no word if the Chinese would be looking to shut down the North Side of Mt. Olympus, but considering it’s name, I’m sure they’d like to run the Torch up there as well.
Thanks to Outdoor Ed for this one.
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