Chaos terrains on Mars generally consist of

irregular groups of large blocks, some tens of kilometers across and a hundred meters high. The tilted and flat topped blocks form depressions hundreds of meters deep.
A chaotic region can be recognized by a rat's nest of mesas and buttes, chopped through with valleys.
Mesas are elevated areas of land with a flat top and sides that are usually steep cliffs.
Buttes are isolated hills with steep sides and a small, relatively flat top and are smaller then mesas.

Chaos terrain on Mars is distinctive, nothing on Earth compares to it.

Eos Chaos for instance, to land there seems very challenging, but could it still be done on some locations within this fast area ?
Are there geological features that denotes a safe place to land ?

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    $\begingroup$ We don't know how stable the structures are. Perhaps after multiple wheeled robot surveys are done, we can consider sending humans in. $\endgroup$ – Christopher Hostage Apr 13 '18 at 17:45
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    $\begingroup$ I like your question. I'd never heard the term "Chaos terrain" before so I've learned something. The question isn't really suitable for Stack Exchange though because of the necessity to speculate, as pointed out by Saiboogu. One person could write "Yes, it is relatively safe if..." the next could write "No, it is not safe at all because..." and there would be no way to judge which answer is right. These would be opinions. $\endgroup$ – uhoh Apr 16 '18 at 4:01
  • $\begingroup$ If one person writes he found a save place within Eos Chaos then there is no speculation anymore. Why should there not be a save place, it's such a fast area ! We just have to look for it ! $\endgroup$ – Cornelisinspace Apr 16 '18 at 6:50

I doubt there's an answer to this that isn't deeply speculative, so here's my take on it --

Imagine looking at Earth as an outsider, and finding places to land. Do you pick this terrain utah badlands, an overview of many steep ridges and valleys as far as the eye can see or this terrain? Great Plains, wide open flat grassland

Landing requires flat and clear land. Early missions must be able to not only land but to travel around the vicinity for both science missions and resource gathering, without logistical support from Earth. Challenging terrain could be a make or break challenge for a mission this far from home.

The factors that will drive base selection are likely:

  • Easy access to water. Either something that can be drilled for, or near surface ice sheets.
  • Sufficiently low elevation to provide for aerobraking the majority of your interplanetary velocity on the way to landing, and additional radiation shielding from atmosphere.
  • And balancing the ice needs with nearness to the equator, to maximize day length for solar collection.

Radiation shielding doesn't require huge amounts of rock. The same earth moving equipment that might help gather surface or near subsurface ice could also probably bury inflatable or other lightweight habitats with enough regolith to block worrisome radiation.

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  • $\begingroup$ Chaos terrain on Mars is distinctive, nothing on Earth compares to it, and some have a sufficiently low elevation and are near the equator. $\endgroup$ – Cornelisinspace Apr 13 '18 at 17:32
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    $\begingroup$ I see that precise language at the top of a Google search for "Mars chaos terrain." Yet uneven, rough terrain seems a hallmark of it - so I believe my comparison above to Utah's Badlands is accurate in terms of landing site selection pros and cons. My point was essentially that it is physically challenging terrain, so it is highly unlikely to be among the early landing locations. $\endgroup$ – Saiboogu Apr 13 '18 at 17:36
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, it is challenging terrain, maybe within this chaotic terrain a plain can be found that's sufficiently large for a landing site.The target area for Curiosity was 20 by 7 km. $\endgroup$ – Cornelisinspace Apr 13 '18 at 18:41
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    $\begingroup$ I see where my answer is less relevant to your edited question, but I still think this is largely subjective guesswork and I'm not sure it's worth me trying to edit my answer to match. $\endgroup$ – Saiboogu Apr 14 '18 at 16:31

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