Elysium Mons

Enjoy the music while Grace and Raj approach Elysium Mons.

Below, Grace saw a gentle slope that curved higher and higher until it reached a large, flattened peak.

“What is that, Raj?”

“Elysium Mons.”

They were approaching from the east. The evening sun backlit the extinct volcano. They were skimming along the surface of Mars in its shadow, and the gentle orange slope of Elysium Mons was a pillar marking the edge of a vast plain, stretching toward the too-near horizon. The occasional white escarpment flashed like a row of teeth. It reminded Grace of the high deserts back home in Cloister 11, but there were no trees or shrubs. Just a sea of rusty sand.

“It’s beautiful, Raj.”

They sped south over Elysium Planitia. Something ahead glinted in the light, breaking the gentle rise and fall of the land.

“Is that our destination?” she asked.

Raj nodded. “Elysium.”

“It doesn’t look very big.”

“The perspective is off, with that huge volcano nearby. The dome is a hundred meters high at its center, and there’s also fifty meters subsurface.”

“They live underground, too?” Grace asked.


Grace looked at the rapidly approaching city, its pale green spires visible beneath the dome. She wondered what it would be like to live in a world with wide-open spaces, yet be confined to an artificial bubble.

Corey OstmanMars Descent