Mars is the new holiday hotspot with 20-month return flights starting at just …
Pack your cosmic cossie, some really, really dark shades and Factor 5,000 sunscreen – the travel guide to the Red Planet has landed on earth. The Mars Tourist Board today announced to earthlings queueing at the cinema this weekend to watch the Matt Damon smash hit sci-fi movie The Martian1 that it s looking to attract millions of holidaymakers to its sandy sights. Also clearly a shameless marketing ploy2 following Nasa s statement this week that there is evidence of liquid water on Mars3 , the Fourth Planet s tourist chiefs says they want to see it develop as a destination for thrill-seekers, families and winter sports enthusiasts (in fairness there s a lot of winter on Mars).
Bright light: Your normal shades may not be enough
Rocky road: Mars tourism bosses are targetting activity tourists
A spokesman said: We are targeting markets from all over the galaxy, regardless of colour, limb length, or number of heads – everyone is welcome.
There will be something for everyone, even the 400-year-olds who love the spa scene and want a bit of rejuvenation will love our new facilities. We always knew we had water4 , we just wanted to develop the destination a bit more. The tourist board says visitors – who will have to arrange their own flights, of up to 10 months each way – will be able to explore Olympus Mons. At an imposing 13 miles high and 375 miles across, it s the largest volcano in the solar system.
Getting around: Public transport is limited to the occasional Rover
Dune dudes: Proctor Crater is perfect for sand-boarding and 4×4 excusrions
Guests will also find countless craters, deep canyons and endless and distinctive red beaches (though do expect the tide to be out, a long, long way out). For fans of extreme sports, Mars opens up a host of opportunities such as sand-boarding, or rock climbing in the 1,400 mile wide Hellas impact crater – at four miles it s more than twice as deep as our own Grand Canyon.
Loved-up couples won t miss out on Mars either, with the possibility of romantic dinners under TWO moons – Phobos and Deimos.
Tourist attraction: Olympus Mons is the largest volcano in the solar system
Climbing site: Hellas Basin is twice as deep as the Grand Canyon
Sadly, the lack of oxygen means that dinner won t be candlelit. The Mars Discount Holidays © holiday information package is the creation of Swedish travel website ArrivalGuides.com5 who have clearly gone from meatballs to spaceballs. The firm s president, Aviva Pearson, said: With all the new, exciting plans for development6 and thrilling discoveries surrounding the presence of water7 , now is the best time to plan a trip to the Red Planet.
What are the chances of getting to Mars and finding the Germans have already got their towels on the sunloungers?
Anaysis: A fun idea but a long way from reality – or is it?
Holidays on Mars are an intriguing prospect, though getting up to two years off work to allow for the return flights may prove difficult for many earthlings. And the cost of those flights may prove prohibitive anyway, with cheapflights.co.uk9 currently quoting an astronomical 35billion per person. Finally, on a professional level, the website s guide to Mars is very well produced and a fun idea.
As PR stunts go it s a good one.
Tale of the Tape
So how do our own home and the Red Planet measure up?
PA Familar: Earth
Population: 7.2 billion
Average surface temp: 15C
Atmosphere: 78.08% nitrogen, 20.95% oxygen, 0.930% argon, 0.039% carbon
dioxide, 1% water vapour.
Diameter: 7,917 miles
Length of day: 24hrs
Length of year: 365 days
Popular tourist attractions: Pyramids, Grand Canyon, Taj Mahal, Las Vegas, Niagara Falls, Great Wall of China, Christ the Redeemer, Walt Disney World.
Population: 1 (Matt Damon)
Average surface temp: -63C
Atmosphere: 95.97% carbon dioxide, 1.93% argon, 1.89% nitrogen, 0.146%
oxygen, 0.0557% carbon monoxide
Diameter: 4,212 miles
Length of day: 1 earth day plus 40 minutes
Length of year: 687 earth days
Popular tourist attractions: Olympus Mons, Valles Marineris canyon, Proctor Crater, Hellas Basin impact crater, uncrowded beaches