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Christmas Gift Guide

SpaceX sells future trips to Mars' grander-than-Grand Canyon

New heights on Olympus Mons

Phobos and Deimos

Green over trips to the Red Planet

Get sucked into a Super-Earth

A real Tatooine

A different kind of red planet

Imagine a system of chasms like the Grand Canyon, but stretching as wide as the entire length of the United States. It's called Valles Marineris and it exists on Mars. In this concept travel poster, SpaceX imagines we might one day visit it. The poster isn't fully science fiction, though -- similar jet packs are already a real thing.

Currently, SpaceX is focused on making deliveries to the International Space Station and perfecting reusable rockets, but CEO Elon Musk has openly discussed his hopes of sending people to Mars as soon as the 2020s. NASA's current goal is to send astronauts there in the 2030s

Caption by / Photo by SpaceX/Flickr

Mars is one of the smaller planets in our solar system, but it boasts the highest mountain, a massive volcano named Olympus Mons. If ever there was a reason to justify the construction of a space elevator, why not for the view as you sail past this peak that stands three times as high as Mt. Everest?

Caption by / Photo by SpaceX/Flickr

Mars has two small moons, captured asteroids called Phobos and Deimos, whose names mean fear and panic, respectively. But SpaceX envisions them more as sites of awe and wonder during far-future pleasure cruises in orbit around the Red Planet.

Caption by / Photo by SpaceX/Flickr

SpaceX's vision of Mars tourism has even inspired admirers to get into the hypothetical marketing poster business. This poster featuring the Falcon Heavy rocket and based on the poster for the  1929 film "Frau Im Mond" is for sale on Etsy.

Caption by / Photo by DecoEchoes/Etsy

Could a future extreme sport involve getting sucked into the intense gravitational pull of a distant super-Earth? This speculative NASA poster imagines how a trip to exoplanet HD 40307g, with eight times the mass of our planet, might be pitched to adrenaline junkies in the future.

Caption by / Photo by NASA/JPL

It's probably way too chilly for a visit and might even be a gas giant, but there's still plenty of reason to celebrate the planet Kepler-16b. It's one of the first found that orbits twin stars, much like Tatooine of the "Star Wars" universe. Even if it never becomes a destination, researchers now think there's plenty of reason to believe there are many other Tatooines out there that are more Earth-like.

Caption by / Photo by NASA/JPL

When it was catalogued in 2014, Kepler 186-f became one of the first Earth-size exoplanets that appears likely to hold water. But the dwarf star it orbits is significantly dimmer and redder than our sun. This speculative travel poster that NASA put out in January imagines how any photosynthesis that takes place on the planet might make for vegetation that is more red than green.

Caption by / Photo by NASA/JPL
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