Surface vehicles

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Transportation on Mars may be done through the use of surface vehicles, analogous to cars and trucks on Earth. Mars colonization will also require the use of a great number of construction vehicles. Some of these will be autonomous, some will require human operators.

Self driving trucks are already making inroads in Earth mining operations. In the near future, self driving trucks and self driving cars will become part of our everyday lives. This will become even truer on Mars. The initial Mars Exploration Rovers will rapidly be superseded by specialized vehicles, such as trucks, cranes and the Martian equivalent of cars, both inside and outside the settlement.

Human transportation


A Martian PRT pod concept, based on the Heathrow airport ultrapod system.

Mars may prove to be the ideal place for implementing Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) systems.

Use of internal combustion engines in a Martian settlement will probably not be possible, so simple electrically powered self driving vehicles could be used, providing transportation inside the settlement structure.

Utility vehicles

It will probably make sense for the initial range of utility vehicles to be build on a common frame, when possible. This is already the case on Earth, where truck frames can end up in a number of vehicle types.

A fleet of utility vehicles built on a common frame


Short haul or long haul trucks would find use in mining, road and site preparation work.

Semi, or towing truck

A semi is a truck body and cab used to haul a trailer, using a fifth wheel coupling.


Platform cranes known as boom trucks are among the most versatile of utility vehicles.

Mining vehicles

Self driving mining trucks are already in use on Earth. This trend should continue on Mars, for reasons of efficiency and of safety.


Tanker trucks can be used when pipelines are not practical, for small volumes or specialized usages.


Railroads may also be used on Mars.