- from Mars
Can’t make it to Mars this year? Try the next best place: Antarctica. Like Mars, the southern continent is super-cold, stormy, and barren.
The McMurdo Dry Valleys in Antarctica are the most Mars-like places on Earth. They stay below freezing all of the time. And rain hasn’t fallen there for 2 million years!
NASA and other space groups take advantage of Antarctica’s Mars-like conditions. They test robot rovers and equipment to make sure the frigid cold won’t ruin them. Plus, they train space-bound astronauts in the extreme conditions to make sure they can handle them.
Of course, Antarctica isn’t Mars. Much of the planet stays even farther below freezing than Antarctica. Although both lack liquid water, Mars lacks breathable air as well – a vital ingredient for life as we know it. And then there are those dust storms.