Fantastic Friday: Life on Mars

I dreamed about David Bowie (as Ziggy Stardust) last night, so I thought this would be a fitting topic for today’s Fantastic Friday post.

One of my works-in-progress involves a journey to Mars. I’ve been fascinated with the concept ever since my dad woke me up one morning years ago to tell me about a dream he had. His dream involved a colonist responsible for colonizing Mars (and of course, things went awry, but we won’t get into that now).

But the concept of colonizing Mars isn’t just for fans of sci-fi. There is something infinitely hopeful about imagining another chapter for humanity. Whether we move simply to expand or whether we move out of necessity, the underlying hope is that there is something worth saving, or preserving, or sharing.

I was reminded of this topic when I came upon an article about a team from MIT having won an architectural and engineering contest by designing a concept for a habitat on Mars.

These days, it’s easy to get caught up in a hate-filled media, which seems to make money by pitting one side against another. But to follow the advice of Fred Rogers, whenever something bad happens, it’s important to “look for the helpers.”

In the journalism class I teach, students noted that stories about negative things tend to be much more detailed, with sources chosen to support one side or another. Stories about positive things—like police officers giving out free turkeys or helping a child abandoned at school—tend to be short and to the point. While these stories are shared, they tend not to arouse the passions that the more incendiary ones do.

But the truth is, there is so much good in humanity worth preserving. The winning design for a city on Mars involves spheres that each contain a “tree” and helps to foster a water-rich environment while protecting the inhabitants (about 50 per sphere) from the harsh elements of Mars.

I was also encouraged to read that the theory behind the “city” can be applied to perhaps desert or ocean life here, providing a more human-friendly environment. It’s good to see people coming together to use their brains for productive purposes in an age where politics on all fronts seem to want to do the complete opposite.


Have you read The Girl Who Flew Away? In this novel, which may be my favorite, I wove a tale of hope into a trying situation. Addiction. Adoption. Friendship.

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