Mars Exploration Awards

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In the future an explorer supported by the Foundation stands at poles of Mars and thinks back across the vista of time to previous epochs of great adventure.

The Foundation has a series of Mars Exploration Awards for the brave men and women who will some day follow in the footsteps of their terrestrial counterparts and explore the vast expanses of Mars. A separate endowment is maintained to provide these awards, which were established in 1994.

The Foundation will award prizes to the first explorers to reach the Martian North and South Poles by overland route, climb Mount Olympus, and accomplish other significant milestones in our exploration and settlement of the Red Planet. This is the Foundation's way of honoring these achievements and forging a link between the past exploration of Earth and our future adventures on other worlds.

The Awards

Read about the awards, the challenges that future explorers will have to surmount in order to claim them, and their links to past expeditions on Earth. [Click on photos to get a full view.]

Destination Mars
Read all about the Red Planet, the Solar System's ultimate exploration destination.

Southern Polar Award
You think Scott and Shackleton had it bad? Try exploring the south pole without any air to breathe. And what exactly is dry ice, anyway?

Olympus Mountaineering Award
Belay on! At twice the height of Mount Everest, Olympus Mons presents the greatest mountaineering challenge in the Solar System.

Northern Polar Award
The bad news? Really steep ice cliffs. The good news? No polar bears. Find out how the Martian north pole resembles, and is different from, its terrestrial counterpart.