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SpaceX’s current favorite place to land on Mars is reportedly Arcadia Planitia, which combines flat terrain, potential deposits of water ice and an equatorial region well-suited for solar power. According to Space News, that’s the word from SpaceX’s Paul Wooster, who’s working with NASA to identify potential landing sites for the privately held company’s Red Dragon missions to Mars. The first such mission is now expected no earlier than 2020. SpaceX founder Elon Musk wants to send spaceships full of settlers to the Red Planet, starting as early as the mid-2020s. Will that turn Arcadia into a Martian utopia?

Arcadia Planitia
This color-coded elevation map of Mars’ equatorial region shows Arcadia Planitia at upper left, northwest of Olympus Mons and the Tharsis shield volcanoes. (USGS)
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