On re-reading Red Mars after more than a decade, I have been struck with how strongly 'red' my sympathies are. I don't remember feeling strongly one way or another when I first read the book. Now the prevailing mood among the first hundred Martians to begin terraforming immediately seems appallingly reckless to me, and I find myself in complete agreement with Ann Claiborne:
'Here you sit in your little holes running your little experiments, making things like kids with a chemistry set in the basement, while the whole time an entire world sits outside your door. A world where the landforms are a hundred times larger than their equivalents on Earth, and a thousand times older, with evidence concerning the beginning of the solar system scattered all over, as well as the whole history of the planet, scarcely changed in the last billion years. And you're going to wreck it all. And without ever honestly admitting what you're doing, either. Because we could live here and study the planet without changing it - we could do that with very little harm or even inconvenience to ourselves. All this talk of radiation is bullshit and you know it. There's simply not a high enough level to justify this mass alteration of the environment. You want to do that because you think you can. You want to try it out and see- as if this were some big sandbox for you to build castles in. A big Mars jar! You find your justifications where you can, but it's bad faith, and its not science.'
On page 173, the explorers find it 'startling in the extreme' to run across the tongue of a glacier, looking like a big white Uluru, even though they knew it would be there. I'm afraid they won't find anything startling, because they will have Google Mars.
Dunes in the Vastitas Borealis - let's not drown them just yet!
Of course, there isn't nearly enough water to do so- only 820,000 km3 or so.
Some changes we've made to the surface of Mars already- rover tracks on the edge of Victoria Crater:
- ► 2012 (13)
- ▼ November (6)
- ► 2008 (21)