Many kids all around the world have the dream of the planetary escape known as the occupation of an astronaut. While many people grow out of this dream, many of us still have a general intrigue about what is out in space. The closest we are getting to exploring outer space at the moment is the exploration on the planet of Mars. Many rovers have been sent to Mars to explore the surface, and while it is still a bit away before we see a human set foot on Mars there are other ways we can experience the barren surface of the planet.
There are many places on Earth that resemble the surface of Mars. Some of these places are large flat deserts where NASA has done official testing to resemble the surface of Mars to test rovers and other equipment. There are also other places on Earth that resemble the part of Mars that we haven't discovered yet. These things can include large red lakes or strangely shaped trees. While it hasn't been confirmed that there is life like this on Mars, these places still make us feel like we are on a different planet.
25 Antartica Shares Similarities To Mars' Surface
Mars is typically thought of to be a dry flat area which is usually compared to deserts back on Earth. That is why Antarctica usually doesn't sound like it would go hand in hand with describing Mars. While most of Antarctica is covered in snow and ice there is a large portion that is missing the snow and is a large grey desert. Granted it is still freezing there it won't give you desert vibes but you definitely won't see any snow piling up in this part of Antarctica. The area has been the center of study for researching more about how Mars' surface could actually be.
24 Devon Island, Canada
Devon Island has the reputation for being the most uninhabited and the largest uninhabited island in the world. Besides giant craters and long desert plains, Devon Island resembles the complete isolation that you would feel if you were on the surface of Mars. There is a large crater on the island that is called the Haughton Crater and has been there for several million years. Researchers have compared the Haughton Crater to a crater that could appear on Mars. Several Mars rovers have been sent to Devon Island to simulate the terrain of Mars.
23 The Permafrost Of Siberia
The sweeping tundra known as Siberia isn't the type of place you would expect to be compared to the surface of Mars. However, the temperature that is presented in Siberia rivals that of the record low temperatures on Mars. An area known as Oymyakon is located near the Arctic Circle and is recorded as the coldest place on Earth. The temperatures drop to -96℉ which is around 20 degrees colder than the average Mars temperature at -80℉. If you want to prepare for the harsh climate of Mars then Siberia is a great spot to train.
22 Lake Myvatn, Iceland
Everything from volcanoes, sulfur springs, glaciers, and black sand beaches litter Iceland making it a very intense country. However, this makes most of Iceland a place that mimics another planet like Mars. The area known as Namaskard is the most like the surface of Mars due to its many hot springs. The area is filled with black rivers and bubbling pools of mud. The soil changes into various colors due to the rich sulfur in the ground. This makes the ground turn bright colors like yellow and bright red mirroring that of Mars' surface.
21 Dead Vlei Desert, Namibia
The planet of Mars has been confirmed to have water in the past but it is very scarce and many suggest that the water on the planet used to be much more plentiful but it all dried up. If this is the case then the Dead Vlei Desert located in Namibia compares to Mars more than we may realize. The most interesting thing about the Dead Vlei Desert is the trees that litter the landscape. They are dried out and dead but they are beyond decomposing to absolutely nothing. The trees definitely stick out in an otherwise flat skyline.
20 Mauna Kea, Hawaii
Many people may not realize but Hawaii isn't only a place full of tropical beaches and white sands. The islands were formed from volcanic eruptions some of which are still active on the islands. This means that the surrounding places will have a dry and volcanic ash terrain surrounding them. This is far from the bright white sands of some of the more popular locations. Mauna Kea is a perfect place to see this type of terrain and it even makes for a great place to see space! If you look out long enough you may feel like you've been transported to Mars itself!
19 Wupatki National Monument, Arizona
Wupatki National Monument is a less international stop for seeing the type of terrain that you would see on Mars. Located in Flagstaff, Arizona the Wupatki National Monument is known for its sprawling red landscapes. The Wupatki National Monument has around thirty structures that make up the monument and are all made out of locally resourced Moenkopi sandstone. The surrounding area of the monument is insane as at night it can feel like you are traveling across the surface of Mars!
18 The Canary Islands Near Africa
The Canary Islands are located off of the coast of North Africa and are a chain of volcanic islands. Being made from volcanos and still having a few active volcanoes the Canary Islands are a prime contender for Mars on Earth. Several tests for another Mars exploration have been conducted here as it is isolated enough and appears to have the same terrain as Mars. If you want to experience your own little slice of Mars, then you should explore the Teide National Park where you can hike different trails and see the ins and outs of the island for yourself.
17 Lake Natron, Tanzania
Lake Natron is one of the few places on this list that we don't recommend visiting. The main reason for this is the temperature of the water reaches up to 140°F causing most of the surrounding areas to remain uninhabited. However, the scariest part of the lake isn't its temperature it is the color and look it takes on from a substance known as cyanobacteria being present in the lake. The cyanobacteria make Lake Natron take on a dark red color that would seem like it is present on a planet such as Mars (if Mars had lakes).
16 Chile’s Atacama Desert (NASA'S Testing Grounds)
The surface of Mars is known to be a very dry place resembling many desert areas that are on Earth. This is great for people that work with NASA to test certain equipment that has to do with the terrain of Mars. Things like Rovers are being tested in areas like the Atacama Desert in Chile. The Atacama Desert is a very dry place due to large mountains covering most of the rainfall that would hit the area. This makes for a great dry plain to do tests in. If you ever get a chance to travel to Mars one day, then the Atacama Desert is a perfect testing ground.
15 Marble Canyon, Arizona
Marble Canyon located in Arizona is one of those places that looks like it is out of this world and it is in the heart of America. Marble Canyon looks like it is specifically from the planet of Mars due to the rough and rocky texture. The thing that makes the Marble Canyon so unique is the wave effect that certain rock formations at the canyon take. The wave effect can be very mesmerizing and it is a beautiful sight. If nothing else the Marble Canyon is a great place to hike especially if you are looking for somewhere unique to hike!
14 The World's Largest Salt Flat
Taking a trip to the largest salt flat in the world may make you feel like you have jumped through a wormhole to another dimension. The Salar de Uyuni salt flat stretches four thousand miles long and has over 10 billion tons of salt within it. Many people who have seen images of the salt flat think of it as photoshopped or a set to a movie. However, most pictures of the salt flat are real and the reflection effect occurs after a heavy rainstorm where the salt flat has a few inches of water within it creating a giant reflection. Surely this giant natural mirror is something out of this world.
13 Tunisian Salt Lake
The Tunisian Salt Lake known as Chott el Djerid looks like it has come straight from Mars' surface. Even though it hasn't been confirmed that Mars has water the salt lake does resemble what it would look like if Mars did have water. The lake will change different colors over the year including green, purple, white, or red hues. The salt lake is also located in a very flat area so if you visit the lake at night you may feel like you are alone on the planet Mars.
12 The Simpson Desert, Australia
Australia is known to have large areas in which the sand in its deserts is a bright red color resembling that of the surface of Mars. One of these deserts is the Simpson Desert which has an overall barren feeling and large rolling red dunes. However, the comparisons between this desert and Mars go a bit further. A process of weathering occurs on Mars called acidic oxidative weathering creates gems called opals. The world's number one supplier of opals is in Australia near the Simpson Desert. This may be a large coincidence but it is a great place to visit if you want to see what the surface of Mars is like.
11 Death Valley, California
The only part of Death Valley that doesn't resemble Mars is the bright blue sky that hovers above it. Death Valley is one of the driest areas in the world and ranks to be the driest area in North America. The surface of Death Valley is mostly made up of jagged rocks which makes it hard to walk around in. Not to mention the temperatures change drastically depending on what time of day it is. The temperatures on Mars are most likely more sustainable than the extremes that Death Valley experiences. Record temps have been recorded to have gone up to 130℉.
10 Wadi Rum Desert, Jordan
With Mars getting more and more popular due to it being researched more, pop culture has dipped their hand into the Mars jar. Films like The Martian are made to show what could be the future of space travel. However, the film couldn't have been filmed on the actual surface of Mars so instead, the directors decided to choose the Wadi Rum Desert to film the bulk of their film. The are is extremely dry and has several rocky features which are no surprise as to why it was chosen to represent Mars in the movie.
9 Mt. Bromo, Java
The next time you are in Indonesia it may be worth checking out the island of Java. On the island of Java is a large mountain known as Mt. Bromo which is still an active volcano. The large volcano is still smoldering and is rather large. The area around the volcano is vast, rocky, and dry. We could see the more rocky parts of Mars resembling the terrain of Mt. Bromo. Mt. Bromo is something out of the prehistoric area and it looks like it could be right at home on the surface of Mars, especially since the surface of Mars could support active volcanoes.
8 Dallol, Ethiopia
Dallol located in Ethiopia is a very unique place on Earth and has piqued the interest of several geologists in the past. If you are a fan of studying the Earth than Dallol may be a new unique take on geology. Acidic hot springs and gas geysers can be found all around Dallol along with large salt formations that act as strange structures that litter the horizon. If you want to fell the heat then Dallol is a great place because in the summertime it can reach up to 114℉. The overall landscape along with all of the dangerous hot springs and geysers this makes for a great Mars lookalike.
7 The Dolomites, Italy
Many people want to visit the Alps but finding a great place to actually partake in your adventure can be tough. Arguably one of the most beautiful places along the Alps is the Dolomites located in Italy. While there are wonderful more popular locations to venture the Alps in France, Switzerland, and Austria, the Dolomites will present real beauty and are completely unique. The Dolomites are made up of six different peaks all reaching 9,000 feet above sea level. You will have to do some rock climbing to get to the peaks of the Dolomites but it is worth it if nothing else than feeling like you are on a mountain in Mars.
6 Lake Eyre, Australia
Lake Eyre located in Australia is considered Australia's largest lake, that is when it has water in it. The lake is prone to drying up during the hotter seasons of the year and is extremely salty. The lake reaches to be 3,668 square miles which make it not only the largest in Australia but one of the largest lakes in the world. The lake and its surrounding rugged area make it one that is extremely uninhabitable and reminds us of somewhere like the surface of Mars.
5 Socotra Island
Socotra Island is a large island located in the middle of the Indian Ocean. Since the island is so secluded the plants and animals that live on the island are much different than that of areas more inland. The island has large Blood Dragon Trees that litter the island and they look to be the type of tree that would be present on another planet like Mars (if Mars had trees). The Blood Dragon Trees are large trees that have many branches that go in all different directions and sometimes form an umbrella type shape. This along with many other strange things on the island make it a great contender for a false Mars.
4 The Red Pond Hot Springs, Japan
As discussed earlier if Mars did feature lakes or larger body of waters they would likely have a reddish tint to them. This is corresponding to the reddish tint of the surrounding surface of Mars. Several lakes on Earth have dropped the traditional blue tint to their lakes and replaced it for more of a reddish tint. One of these places is the Red Pond Hot Springs located in Japan. The lake is plentiful in iron oxide which gives it its color. It is also one of the hottest springs in the world sitting at 78 degrees Celsius.
3 Grand Prismatic Spring, United States
Taking it back once again to the United States, we have another one of Mother Nature's greatest achievements. That is, of course, the Grand Prismatic Spring which is located in Yellowstone National Park. The large hot spring features amazing colors that we could see being present in a hot spring on Mars. The rainbow tint that the hot spring takes on makes it one of the most unique hot springs on Earth. Although the surrounding area doesn't seem like it would fit on Mars the heat coming off the spring will make you feel like you are on the surface of Mars.
2 The Seven Color Rocks, Mauritius
The large rock formation known as the Seven Color Rocks occurs in the country of Mauritius. If you visit the rock formation you may be surprised to see the colors of the rocks aren't what rocks are typically colored like. They have a more orangish to reddish tint to them. It looks as if someone decided to paint the rocks but in reality, it is the result of a volcanic eruption. Even more interesting is the fact that the rocks aren't actually rocks but take on a more sand type of texture. They certainly resemble something that we'd expect to see on Mars.
1 Valle De La Luna, Chile
We couldn't think of a better place than Valle De La Luna located in Chile to end off the list. Valle De La Luna looks to be one of the most unappealing places on the list, but who said Mars was supposed to be appealing? The main things that makeup Valle De La Luna are the rock formations and small mountains combined with its dessert-like features. The rocky terrain has been tested for Mars rovers in the roughest conditions. Who knows if Mars can actually get as rocky as Valle De La Luna but it is a great place to prepare for such a case.