This artist's concept depicts a possible scene when the first human travelers might walk on the surface of Mars. The artwork was part of a NASA new initiatives study that surveyed possible future human planetary expeditions. The area depicted is Noctis Labyrinthus in the Valles Marineris system of enormous canyons. The scene is just after sunrise, and on the canyon floor four miles below, early morning clouds can be seen. The frost on the surface will melt very quickly as the Sun climbs higher in the Martian sky. The astronaut depicted on the left might be a planetary geologist seeking to get a closer look at the stratigraphic details of the canyon walls. On the right, the geologist's companion is setting up a weather station to monitor Martian climatology. In the far right frame is a six-wheeled articulated rover, which transported the pair of astronauts here from their landing site. The vehicle is unpressurized. This artwork is strictly speculative and does not represent any definitely planned or budgeted projects.
Image Credit: NASA/JSC
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