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This paper presents results concerning the use of IEEE 802.11 a and b wireless local area network (WLAN) standards for proximity wireless networks on the Martian surface. The RF environment on the Martian surface is modeled using high-resolution digital elevation maps (DEMs) of Gusev Crater and Meridiani Planum (Hematite) as sample sites. The resulting propagation path loss models are then used in a physical layer (PHY) simulation. Our results show that Martian terrain as represented by the sites studied, can create multipath conditions which in turn affect 802.11 a and b PHY performance. However, with a few tens of milliwatts of radiated power and antenna heights within 1-2 m, orthogonal frequency division multiplexing (OFDM)-based 802.11 a can have very good PHY performance in terms of bit error rate (BER) and packet error rate (PER) for distances up to a few hundred meters; 802.11 b, which is based on direct-sequence spread spectrum (DSSS), is found to be much more adversely affected in the multipath environment. The DEM-based simulation methodology presented here may be more useful to mission planners than generic statistical models.