How Mars and Alaska Are Alike

Little did Bucknell University geology professors Craig Kochel and Jeffrey Trop know, as they were working in Alaska, that they would soon predict one of the most important planetary observations ever made.
The pair was in Alaska for an eight-day trip in July 2006, studying geological features and the processes that create them. As they studied photographs taken of the surrounding area, some features caught Kochel’s eye. He thought they were strangely familiar, and then realized they reminded him of images he’d seen when working on the Viking missions to Mars in the 1970s.
Kochel and Trop trekked to where the shots were taken overlooking a glacier. Spotting triangle-shaped landforms called “fans” sealed the deal: They looked strikingly similar to photographs taken of features on Mars.