Mars and Lunar Exploration Awards

future explorer

In the future an explorer supported by the Foundation stands at poles of Mars and thinks back across the vista of time to previous epochs of great adventure.

The Foundation has a series of Mars and Lunar Exploration Awards, established in 1994, for the brave men and women who will some day launch expeditions to some of the most prominent and challenging natural features of Mars and the moon. There is a separate endowment to provide these awards.


The Foundation will give awards to the first explorers to cross the Martian North and South Poles by overland route, climb Mount Olympus, and accomplish other significant milestones in our exploration and settlement of the moon and the Red Planet. This is the Foundation’s way of awarding these achievements and forging a link between the past exploration of Earth and our future adventures on other worlds.

The Awards

Read about the awards, the challenges that future explorers will have to surmount in order to claim them, and their links to past expeditions on Earth.

Mars Exploration Awards

Destination Mars

Read all about the Red Planet and the challenges for future expedition planners.

Southern Polar Awards

The Martian south pole is made partly of dry ice. Although much smaller than Antarctica, the pole will present novel challenges to future explorers who will work and study there.

Northern Polar Awards

Slightly smaller than Antarctica, the Martian North Pole is made of water ice and will present formidable challenges to those who seek to cross it overland.

Olympus Mountaineering Award

At twice the height of Mount Everest, Olympus Mons presents one of the great mountaineering challenges in the Solar System.

Valles Marineris Award

This canyon is so large the Grand Canyon would fit in sideways. The Valles Marineris is the greatest canyon challenge on Mars.

Lunar Exploration Awards

Lunar Circumnavigation Award

The most ambitious expedition that can be accomplished on the moon is a circumnavigation of the lunar surface.