When we planned this trip we knew we were going to get far. Little did we know, though, that we’d leave our home planet and visit Earth’s neighbour.

Space team and space ship
Our Jeep Wrangler turned into a spaceship. The friendly surfer attitude had to be dropped to ensure survival in a hostile environment.

We wanted to go up Mauna Kea on the Big Island of Hawai’i. When we arrived at the bottom of the mountain we were wrapped in low hanging clouds – the prospect of driving up 4200m above sea level wasn’t too inviting. Luckily, about two thirds up we went through the clouds.

Watch the transformation of our journey from road trip to space travel yourself:

The view on the top was amazing.

The Explorers
Obviously breathable air in Mars’ atmosphere. Mauna Kea is an incredible place.

I had read about Mauna Kea almost thirty years ago in a mountain bike magazine in Germany: a few lads cycle up and had the downhill trip of their life. When I saw the pictures of the observatories on top of the volcano I knew I had to stand there myself at some point – check! Would have loved to do the downhill myself; not so sure about the uphill. The landscape is really unearthly:

View from Mars
Volcano ash covers the ground as far as the eye can reach. Uphill walking is quite cumbersome in the ash.