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Roads on Mars may be easier to build than on Earth.

Roads on Mars are one of the possible surface transportation infrastructures. Short roads will necessarily be build around colonies and a larger network might exist between settlements and mines, or other settlements and facilities.

Road building on Mars

Ground preparation for roads on Mars should be quite simple. There is no soil on Mars, and no swamps, so the surface should be quite solid, with the exception on dunes and wind transported sand. Rock breaking equipment, combined with crushers and graders should be capable of quickly and cheaply building good quality gravel roads.

Rolling surfaces for higher speeds would probably need to be some kind of concrete, as asphalt would not be available on Mars. Ice might be used as an alternative binder, but might also be subject to rapid sublimation in summer periods.


Dust accumulation from dust storms and dust devils might affect the driving surfaces somewhat. Dust plows, as used in desert countries such as the United Arab Emirates could be used to control the dust. Self driving vehicles using purely optical systems might have some difficulty, but radar based sensors might be added.

Erosion should be practically non existent, giving roadways on Mars a very long life. Ground loading stress from the rolling equipment should also be lower than on Earth, due to the lower gravity.

Noise form rolling vehicles will be less of a problem than on Earth. Vibration might be reduced as well, as the gravitational potential energy of a vehicle rolling on Mars will be lower than on Earth. Kinetic energy from vehicle speed will be the same on both planets, however.

Types of vehicles

Rovers and their descendants

Mining Trucks

These vehicles may all be self driving. As there is no real weather on Mars, and the infrastructure will be new, it should be possible to incorporate self driving aids into the roadways. This could mean that truck driving never becomes a profession on Mars. This also reduces one of the advantages of rail transportation, as self driving vehicles only require maintenance personnel and therefore do not have high personnel costs.