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Where will the first colony on Mars be located?

written by Alex Moore on August 15, 2000 | author profile | forum profile | contact me
number of views: 77188 |   printable version (text) (PDF)

Location. It's the most important part of Martian colonization. A misplaced city or settlement could mean disaster for all who live there.

The first colony's location is vitally important to the development of the Martian community. As with any settlements, lower elevation sites would eventually benefit from the higher air pressure, but could be swallowed up by rising water levels. On the other hand, if cities are built too far above the datum, terraforming will have little affect on them.

But the first colony sets the precedent for future settlements on the red planet. For instance, life-support systems, raw material processing factories, and even architecture will be duplicated. The altitude of Colony I will become somewhat of a guideline for future cities, and a center for all terraforming efforts thereafter.

When choosing a landing site, we will have to take into account everything that is to be accomplished in Colony I. Geologists in particular would like to see the colony built in a region such as a crater, valley, or other land-cut. Unfortunatley these are the hardest areas to navigate a ship for landing.

Another factor when choosing the landing site, would be the availability of water and other important resources. The colony must of course be self-sufficient, and therefore cannot rely on shipments from Earth. Even factories must not be over-used to produce water from regolith. Location is everything.

The following is a list of possible landing sites where Colony I could be located:

Dao Vallis (Outfow Channel)
Gusev Crater (Impact Crater)
Hebes Chasma (Outfow Channel)
Mare Tyrrenum (Lava Flow Plains)
North Pole (Polar Ice Cap)
Parana Valles (Cratered Land)

NASA has not yet announced a landing site for the first manned mission to Mars. To read more about these landing sites, please refer to the Official NASA Site.

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