Large areas of Mars now protected from future commercialization
by Guy Cramer
December 14, 2004


In November 2004 an article in "Nature", discussed seven large regions on Mars being proposed as Conservation parks by Charles Cockell, a microbiologist for the British Antarctic Survey in Cambridge, and Gerda Horneck, an astrobiologist from the German Aerospace Centre in Cologne, Germany. Each of the proposed areas contain representative features on Mars including the largest Volcano, Mount Olympus, and the deepest Trench, Marineris, in the Solar System. The historical park holds the landing sites of the Viking 1 and Mars Pathfinder spacecraft.



This map of Mars (© Charles Cockell) highlights six of the proposed conservation sites – the Polar Park is not shown.

A few weeks later a North American team; Dr. Joseph Resnick, Dr. Timothy R. O'Neill and Guy Cramer (ROC-Resnick/O'Neill/Cramer team) following the idea as put forth by the two European scientists started the process of turning these regions into parks by obtaining the mineral rights to these regions to protect them from the commercialization expected to one day encroach on these Martian lands. Dr. Resnick (former NASA scientist and current consultant to NASA) states "Space law do not allow countries to have land ownership on planets and moons in the solar system but it does allow for the Mineral Rights to be obtained by individuals and companies." Dr. Resnick was structuring the Universal Mineral Leases Registry (UMLR) when his partner, Guy Cramer, had read the article on the Mars parks proposal and discussed the ability with Dr. Resnick and Dr. O'Neill to implement the idea into reality through the UMLR. The ROC team agreed and decided to obtain the mineral rights to these regions, to set them aside as protected areas, prior to the public launch of the UMLR.

The 1979 Moon Agreement specifically seeks to regulate the exploration and exploitation of natural resources found on the Moon and other celestial bodies; the U.S., Russia, China and many other countries have not ratified this agreement.

The North American team issued this statement "We support the effort to protect these Martian areas and by virtue of 'owership' via the Universal Mineral Leases Registry (UMLR), we are designating the areas as "preserves".  This effort constitutes the first-of-a-kind "Extraterrestrial Nature Preserve" established by human beings and sanctioned by the owners of the mineral rights located in the Mars regions. Furthermore we have obtained the mineral rights for a large Lunar area surrounding the Apollo 11 landing site and designated this area as a "World Heritage Site" which will allow our future space fairing decedents the opportunity to see this site as it remains on the timeless lunar soil of our first astronauts landing on another celestial body".

This Registry;
Universal Mineral Lease Registry is filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and updated semi-annually.

The North American team actually obtained areas on Mars larger (shown below) than those proposed by the two Europeans and included both the Martian North and South Polar regions;


Olympus Park
141.1°W - 124.9°W
26.5°N-10.5°N

Olympus Mons rises 23 km (~75,000 ft) above the surrounding plains and is the highest known peak in the Solar System. The altitude of Olympus Mons is three times the altitude of the largest peak on Earth, Mt. Everest, and is as wide as the entire chain of Hawaiian Islands. The distance from one end of where the mountain starts rising to the other side is over 372 miles (600 kilometers). This is farther than the distance from Chicago, Illinois to Minneapolis, Minnesota. So if you think of Olympus Mons as taking up more space than the state of Wisconsin, you will have a good idea of just how much of the surface of Mars this giant mountain covers.


Image Statistics:

Image size = 256 rows by 255 columns.

Resolution = 16.0000 pixels per degree (true at the equator).
Scale = 3.7016 kilometers per pixel (true at the equator).

Marineris Park
101.5°W - 19.5°W
4.0°N-28.0°S

Valles Marineris is a giant canyon system that runs about 3000 miles (4800 kilometers) long, meaning on Earth it would stretch all the way from New York City to Los Angeles! The widest point is about 600 kilometers across, and at its deepest point Valles Marineris is about 10 kilometers from top to bottom. This is 6 times deeper than the Grand Canyon in Arizona.



Image Statistics:

Image size = 256 rows by 656 columns.

Resolution = 8.0000 pixels per degree (true at the equator).
Scale = 7.4033 kilometers per pixel (true at the equator).

Historical Park
58.0°W - 33.0°W
30.0°N-10.0°N

The historical park holds the the landing sites of the Viking 1 and Mars Pathfinder spacecraft. Outflow channels have many internal features that indicate they were formed by vast floods of water long ago in the Martian past. The end of the outflow channel Ares Valles was the landing site for the 1997 Pathfinder rover.

Image Statistics:

Image size = 160 rows by 197 columns.

Resolution = 8.0000 pixels per degree (true at the equator).
Scale = 7.4033 kilometers per pixel (true at the equator)


Desert Park
-46.0° (314°)W - -84.0°(276°)W
29.0°N - 9.0°S

The large, dark, "shark's fin"-like feature which dominates this face of Mars is called Syrtis Major Planitia. Syrtis Major Planum, is a low-relief volcanic shield of probable basaltic composition. This was the first feature identified on the surface of the planet by early terrestrial observers in the Seventeenth Century. It was used by Christian Huygens to measure the rotation rate of Mars - a martian day is about 24 hours and 37 minutes. 


 
Image Statistics:


Image size = 304 rows by 304 columns.

Resolution = 8.0000 pixels per degree (true at the equator).
Scale = 7.4033 kilometers per pixel (true at the equator).

Hellas Park
-44.5° (315.5°)W - -84.5°(275.5°)W
25.5°S - 55.5°S

Hellas Planitia is the largest impact basin in the southern highlands. The Hellas basin is roughly 1430 miles (2300 kilometers) across. That is about half the size of the USA! The crater was formed by a giant impact during the Heavy Bombardment period of the early Solar System, approximately 3.9 billion years ago. Hellas Planitia also contains the lowest elevation point on Mars, reaching about 9 kilometers below the surrounding highlands.


Image Statistics:

Image size = 240 rows by 289 columns.

Resolution = 8.0000 pixels per degree (true at the equator).
Scale = 7.4033 kilometers per pixel (true at the equator).

Southern Park
50.2°W - -24.2°(335.8°)W
50.5°S - 82.5°S

The Southern Highlands are mostly plateaus covered with many craters and contains most of the oldest rocks visible on Mars.



Image Statistics:

Image size = 256 rows by 378 columns.

Resolution = 8.0000 pixels per degree (true at the equator).
Scale = 7.4033 kilometers per pixel (true at the equator).


North Polar Park
50.3°W - -50.3°(309.7°)W
90°N - 83.0°N


Planum Boreum is the plain at the Martian north pole. It contains layers of both light and dark material in a spiral pattern. In the winter, this spiral material is covered by carbon dioxide ice, but during the summer much of the ice sublimes (turns from solid to gas) and exposes the plain. Much of the rest of the ice is actually water-ice, and remains as a fairly permanent ice cap even in the summertime. The north pole plain is surrounded by many active sand dunes.


Image Statistics:

Image size = 28 rows by 49 columns.

Resolution = 4.0000 pixels per degree (true at the equator).
Scale = 14.8065 kilometers per pixel (true at the equator).

South Polar Park
50.3°W - -50.3°(309.7°)W
84°S - 90.0°S

Planum Australe is the plain at the Martian south pole. Just like the Planum Boreum, it is covered by carbon dioxide ice in the winter and has a remnant ice cap during the Martian summer. It also has layers of light and dark material curved into a spiral pattern like the northern pole. However, the layers of material of the south pole are more extensive than the north pole, and Planum Australe has fewer active sand dunes.


Image Statistics:

Image size = 24 rows by 42 columns.

Resolution = 4.0000 pixels per degree (true at the equator).
Scale = 14.8065 kilometers per pixel (true at the equator).



Moon (Lunar) Park
Mare Tranquillitatis - Sea of Tranquility
Apollo 11 Landing Site Preserve



World Heritage Site
-21.1°E - 25.8°E
2.7°N - 1.3°S


Image Statistics:

Image size = 256 rows by 297 columns.

Resolution = 64.0000 pixels per degree (true at the equator).
Scale = 0.4738 kilometers per pixel (true at the equator).


The ROC Team has acquired a few other sites of interest on Mars and the Moon through the UMLR that are of Scientific interest, but they have not designated those areas for protection from mineral acquisition or mining. Consideration will been given by the team to allowing countries open access to most of those areas for selections of landing sites to optimize the science return and benefit for exploration.

On January 14, 2004 U.S. President Bush announced a new vision for NASA that incorporated a human return to the Moon by 2020, follow-on exploration of Mars and other destinations.

A recent meeting of some 200 scientists from 17 countries expects "lunar landers cooperating into an international lunar robotic village before 2014", evolving technologies for human-tended missions that prepare the ground for an "effective, affordable human lunar exploration and permanent presence by 2024."

The ROC team is expected to work with NASA's Moon-Mars and Beyond Initiative and International Space Agencies to set aside specific regions of interest for potential; landing, launch, habitat, exploration, environmental, communication, experimentation, industrialization and commercialization sites

With key areas now obtained and protected by the ROC team, the public now has access of the Universal Mineral Lease Registry for acquisition of mineral rights to other areas on the Moon, Mars and Beyond.


This is Part 1 of 3

Go to Part 2

References:

http://www.nature.com/news/2004/041122/full/041122-15.html#B2

http://www.space.com/news/international_moon_041201.html 

http://www.windows.ucar.edu/tour/link=/mars/interior/Martian_volcanos.html

http://www.adlerplanetarium.org/learn/planets/mars/olympusmons.ssi

http://www.adlerplanetarium.org/learn/planets/mars/vallesmarineris.ssi

http://www.adlerplanetarium.org/learn/planets/mars/chryseplanitia.ssi

http://hubblesite.org/newscenter/newsdesk/archive/releases/1991/05/image/a 

http://shop.store.yahoo.com/spaceimages/symahe.html

http://www.adlerplanetarium.org/learn/planets/mars/hellasplanitia.ssi

http://www.adlerplanetarium.org/learn/planets/mars/planumboreum.ssi

http://www.adlerplanetarium.org/learn/planets/mars/highlands_lowlands.ssi

http://www.adlerplanetarium.org/learn/planets/mars/planumaustrale.ssi


This material is Copyright © 2004 by Joe Resnick, Timothy R. O'Neill and Guy Cramer, All Rights Reserved.
This material cannot be reproduced in any form without the expressed written permission of the Author.
Whole Copies may be printed for personal use; no changes are to be made to the content, names or references.


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