If all goes according to plan and humans become an interplanetary species, Mars will — in all likelihood — become the first planet to be colonized. It may even become a bustling tourist destination for curious space travelers seeking the new and unusual, which the Red Planet holds in spades.
Mars is a planet of extremes, home to vast volcanoes, craters, and stunning canyons, all of which may one day be suitable for space tourists to explore. And as Space notes, while it is unknown if this planet actually holds any kind of useful running water, it could nevertheless become the perfect spot for intrepid explorers to roam.
The 16-mile tall Olympus Mons, which can be found along the Tharsis volcanic region of Mars, is so large that the entire state of Arizona could almost fit inside of it. It can also serve as a potential tourist destination in the far future. Because it’s a gigantic shield volcano, it may also be relatively simple to climb, with the vast majority of its slopes coming in at an angle of around 5 percent.
While the Grand Canyon is always a nice spot to visit on Earth, on Mars, tourists could head to the canyon known as Valles Marineris, which meanders for close to 1,850 miles, making it four times the size of the Grand Canyon. While scientists are uncertain as to how this massive canyon first formed, potential tourists will have plenty of time to consider its origins as they traverse its enormous length.
A trip to Mars would not be complete without visiting Gale Crater and Mount Sharp, which have been explored at length by the Curiosity Rover. It is now known that the Red Planet’s Gale Crater once held a rather hefty supply of water after Curiosity spotted the bed of a stream along it. While space tourists won’t be able to picnic alongside a running stream today, the question remains as to what lurks beneath the surface of this crater, or nearby Mount Sharp.
Medusae Fossae, which is incredibly eerie looking, is another perfect spot for space tourists to explore. While conspiracy theories have suggested that it may hold proof of UFO crashes on the planet, its strange appearance is a result of it being covered over with a large amount of volcanic deposits. Over time, the wind has created some strange swirling formations from these deposits, making for an incredibly majestic (potential) tourist spot.
Besides all of these sites, space tourists heading to Mars in the future will also want to visit the Red Planet’s north and south poles, its Tharsis volcanoes, and the wild-looking ghost dunes that have been discovered along the planet’s Noctis Labyrinthus and Hellas basin.