Mars or Arizona?

Those of you who know me know that I’m unhappy living here in Arizona. The landscape and ecosystem of the Sonoran Desert, while beautiful to many, is too dry, rocky, and devoid of life for me to enjoy living here.

After my time here, I’ve decided that, were it somehow offered to me, I would probably pass on the opportunity to go to Mars. And so I present to you a little game I call “Mars or Arizona,” where I will show you some pictures, and you get to guess which ones are pictures of Mars and which ones are pictures of Arizona. Sound easy?

Well let’s bring on the pictures, and see if you can tell the difference?

Well? Were you able to tell which is Mars and which is Arizona? Sure, some of them may be easy, because there are living things in them, and the 6th one is easy, because that’s the Grand Canyon, but the rest may not be so simple. So, without further ado, here are your answers:

  1. Arizona (notice the plant in the middle?)
  2. Mars (Mars is typically littered with smaller, craggier rocks)
  3. Mars (an example of Martian dunes)
  4. Mars (because nobody expects three Mars in a row!)
  5. Arizona (do the dunes look like the Martian ones to you?)
  6. Arizona (the Grand Canyon)
  7. Mars (and is this then what you call the Martian Grand Canyon?)
  8. Mars (nice crater)
  9. Arizona (meteor crater — notice the trees dotting the lower portion of the rim?)
  10. Arizona (the blue sky gives it away)
  11. Mars (this is the rim of Victoria Crater)
  12. Arizona (part of the landscape near meteor crater)
  13. Mars (nice scarp)

Were you able to get all of them? So if you want to live on Mars, my recommendation is that you come to Arizona. We’ve got everything they’ve got, plus an atmosphere and life and water. Well, the life and water is relative…


  1. #1 Clara
    April 1, 2008

    Good idea, putting together all these pictures from Mars and Arizona.

  2. #2 Amy Chayefsky
    April 4, 2008

    Cruel, exceedingly cruel. I got 1 wrong and at least a few required some lingering consideration and perhaps a lucky guess, dare I say. Arizona is devoid of a great many things, including culture. AS I recall form Start Wars, the Alien Bar Band played a rippy little tune, perhaps there is a good jaz row on mars. All these years we wondered about little green men and as it turns out – I am one!

  3. #3 ethan
    April 4, 2008

    Getting only one wrong is really good! Most astronomers who take this test get 3 or 4 wrong, so maybe you should go & work for NASA?

  4. #4 Shawn
    April 4, 2008

    I got 11 and 12 wrong, but I got the rest.

    Having driven through Arizona several times, yes, it can be quite an alien (but beautiful, in a stark way) place.

    Then you continue on up to Flagstaff, and wonder what kind of wormhole you just drove through and why it dropped you off in Colorado.

  5. #5 devicerandom
    April 5, 2008

    Got wrong 3 and 12!

  6. #6 Joe
    April 8, 2008

    Well Mars may have no life…but they have no death either and that is a good thing right?

  7. #7 Chiya
    April 9, 2008

    Haha…I got a few right like the one with the tree in the middle.

    This is why I’d much rather live on Earth and why Earth is my favourite planet. That’s how I decided that I didn’t want to do aerospace engineering (I was considering at one point :P) because I wouldn’t want to go live somewhere ugly. (I’m assuming that Texas and those places are ugly)

  8. #8 Audrey
    April 9, 2008

    Very interesting…I have no clue how I stumbled upon this page… Good Work.

  9. #9 Rob
    September 29, 2008

    I passed by WOOMERA it looks more like MARS than than “MARS” does!! the tests finished in the sixties ,but It’s that radioactive Its still a “no go zone” “MANKIND HAS A LOT TO LEARN”!!

  10. #10 Rob
    September 29, 2008

    I passed by WOOMERA it looks more like MARS than than “MARS” does!! the tests finished in the sixties ,but It’s that radioactive Its still a”no go zone” “MANKIND HAS A LOT TO LEARN”!! SOUTH AUSTRALIA.

  11. #11 ethan
    October 1, 2008

    Yeah, there are certainly places on this world that seem more alien than other worlds actually do. Did you know that it’s SNOWING on Mars right now? Go figure?!

  12. #12 Randy Owens
    Tucson, AZ
    July 13, 2015

    Dropping back in on this, the only one I wasn’t sure about was #3. But more specifically, is #1 in the Chiracahua Mountains? Looks fairly familiar; I’ve been there a few times.

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