Polar Snow Crawler PSC-001 | It might not look like it, but this futuristic-looking giant was actually inspired by the one-of-a-kind Antarctic Snow Cruiser which was constructed way back in the 1930s. The original vehicle was designed by arctic explorer Thomas Poulter and used in an antarctic expedition commanded by Rear Admiral Richard Byrd, Jr. It proved to be a massive failure, primarily because its slick tires were almost completely useless on the slippery snow and ice.
Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars trilogy is one of the most important books about terraforming (and interplanetary colonization) of the past 20 years. And Robinson spent 10 years working on it, learning a lot about the subject as he went. But it all started becuase he fantasized about going backpacking on Mars.