Click Your Way to the Red Planet!

Planning a trip anytime soon? If you can't afford that vacation of a lifetime right now, don't give up. I found an out- of- this- world travel opportunity. With a few clicks, and a little imagination, you're on the red planet.!

The site is Explore Mars Now. Pretty self explanatory, built by a group of scientists and dreamers who are working their way to space. It's a very cool site, almost like a video game. Start with an aerial view of a proposed base station to get the lay of the land. Run your cursor over different areas and explore. Click your way closer to the station for a better view. Again, as you move your cursor, facts pop up about the things you're seeing. If it's something significant, like the ladder to get inside the mars base station, it'll turn red and move you to a new level. Like inside. Once there, you can tour around and see what life could be like for Mars explorers, from where they eat and sleep to office and scientific space. Then you can step back outside and check out your wheels for Mars exploration, a Martian rover. They even have mini- rovers the explorers will send out when it's just too dangerous for them.

You can spend hours clicking around this site and find something new almost every time. It is probably really cool for science- oriented kids who just love to find a new place to click and learn something new. While all this sounds like science fiction, and it is a bit of a dream, it's not that far from reality. In fact, a related group has another web site where they really do have a habitat in a hostile environment. They've set up shop, literally, on a remote Canadian island. The Mars Society actually has scientists who live there for months at a time, as if they were living on Mars. The environment's that hostile. Their work and journals make interesting reading if you're thinking about a real adventure vacation.