Climbing Mount Malapert
On Earth, we have mountains so we can climb them. Why should we act differently once we are on the Moon? Why not get yourself a copy of The Rough Guide to Solar System Mountaineering or Higher then Everest: an adventurer’s guide to the solar system and go conquering the lunar Alps? Or, choose one of the hiking trips proposed by a German magazine: to Mare Tranquillitatis, Tycho, or the South Pole traverse?
This is our target:
(click the image above or here to get the full resolution PDF).
The Malapert Mountain, or Mount Malapert, or Malapert Alpha. A mountain ridge, rising over 5 kilometers above the surrounding terrain, located in the South Polar region of the Moon. Illuminated by Sun 89% of the time (almost a peak of eternal light), and neighboring some permanently shadowed craters (potentially harboring ice), it is an often proposed site for future mining operations, industrial operations, or a moon base. But, the potential usefulness of this site should not distract us from its main feature: it is a mountain, and we climb every one of them, just because they’re there.
So, how would you plan your trip? Would you set up a base at the bottom of Malapert, and start your 7.3km climb from there, with the Earth shining behind your back?
BELOW: View back from Kaguya/SELENE flying toward the South Pole. The Earth sets behind the Malapert Mountain.
Or, would you try a tougher route, and start from the bottom of Haworth, resulting in 8.4km climb, without the visibility of your home planet until you reach the top? Or maybe, set out from the plateau between Haworth and Shoemaker, starting almost 2km higher (at -1500m)? Or, would you rather make it easier for yourself and go for the valley NE of Haworth, with +500m elevation, and attack the ridge with the least steep, Western slope?