Preserving Texas Dark Skies

We are dedicated to establishing permanent Dark Sky Sites where academia and the public can study, observe, or just enjoy an unspoiled view of the night sky.

Texas has some of the best remaining dark skies in the United States; unfortunately, these are few and are within the bounds of the Texas Park services or private owners. The goal of M.A.R.s. will be to locate a suitable area of land and, by direct donation or funds raised by the M.A.R.s. organization, establish a park much like state or federal parks with power, water and waste disposal for up to 100 individual sites capable of supporting RV’s or tents and designed to accommodate astronomical instruments or equipment.

Area needed to begin and anticipate growth necessitates a minimum of fifty (50) acres located in the central west Texas region from Midland/Odessa to the north, Fort Stockton/Snyder in the west, to just west of the hill country and the upper limit of the Big Bend/Fort Davis range. An acceptable site will be reasonably close to major roads and isolated from any city or town that represents any significant light pollution. It will also be on one of Texas many aquifers and at an elevation unobstructed to a minimum 30 degree horizon.

The proposed facility will be self-contained and green. It will use solar power, water well with filtration, a septic system designed for long term environmentally safe waste disposal, on site recycle and incinerator with the proper temperatures and filters. This will provide as close to zero impact as possible.

Facility maintenance, improvement and operations will be provided by donation and small usage fees. These plans and policies will be kept up to date and made public as the project progresses. Any person, organization or educational facility may participate in the on going conversation and support via the M.A.R.s. web site.

The beginning goal is, of course, the property. To this end, the organization's board will appoint an agent to contact and visit perspective land owners and/or donors, provide bids on such property and research available resources suitable to the project goals. The agent will enlist surveyors and drilling companies when needed. As the project progresses, the responsibility of the agent will include obtaining bids from contractors required to build or install necessary structures and equipment.

Ideally, required real estate will be undeveloped with minimum value for agricultural or commercial use.

While this project has no financial limit to its goals, the first steps cannot begin until the coffers have a minimum of $100,000.00. Land values vary widely in the region proposed from $2000.00 per acre to sometimes as much as $5000.00, for the proposed type and quantity of land needed.

Visit the M.A.R.s. Foundation site: