Mars Madness

Mars is fascinating, so fascinating that FiveThirtyEight is spending a whole month just writing about it. Given that it’s March Madness — and given humanity’s longstanding tradition of hurling robots and cameras at Mars with varying degrees of success, you know, like a free throw — we wanted to figure out the winner of the ultimate Martian bracket.

Seeds and such come later, but for now, merely select the cooler Mars mission or landmark:

Which is the cooler mission or landmark?

Battle: : Mars

Viking 1 Lander (1975)

Completed the first successful landing on Mars on July 20, 1976. Took many photos, along with extensive weather readings and soil samples. Survived until 1982.

Valles Marineris

The solar system’s biggest canyon, it puts the Grand Canyon to shame. It is more than 2,500 miles long, as much as 375 miles across, and up to 4 miles deep. By comparison, the Earth’s Grand Canyon in Arizona is 500 miles long, 18 miles across, and 1 mile deep.