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One day, in the near future, children will be born on Mars. The environment they grow up in will be very different from yours. And yet, they will still be human children, just like you. They will have dreams and worries, just like you. They will go to school; they will play; they will cry; they will laugh: in so many ways just like you.

But their sky won’t be blue. They will never see an ocean. They will never go to an amusement park or go camping in a forest. They will never hear the sound of rain.

Instead, their sunsets will be blue. They will see the tallest volcano and the deepest canyon in the solar system. They will ride in rovers and rockets, and this will be normal for them. They will walk through rocky red landscapes that haven’t changed for billions of years. They will see, and be part of, the development of an entirely new branch of human existence.

And, once in a while, they will look up at a particularly blue evening star in the sky and know that on that planet so far away, there are billions of children, just like themselves, some of whom might, at that same instant, be looking up at a particularly red star in the sky.

Which will they call home?


illustration by Luis Peres (work in progress)

Another Airbender?

We cast a wide net of interest here at Generation Mars. I think this warrants a quick mention. “Avatar: The Last Airbender” is one of the greatest animated series ever made. If you haven’t seen it, I encourage you to seek it out.

It’s enjoyable at any age. My kids cut their teeth on extended plot arcs and long-term character development with this series.

Netflix is apparently working on a live action remake. My first reaction was that this is something that doesn’t need to be redone: it was so perfect the first time around. But it seems that the original creators are heading up the effort. This could be interesting…

No ordinary spacecraft

I’m not sure there is such a thing as an “ordinary spacecraft”, but there certainly has never been a spacecraft like SpaceX’s BFR. The sheer audacity of someone trying this is balanced by the earnestness of the effort, and the whole process is fascinating to watch unfold. This article investigates some of the challenges SpaceX is facing.

“To be able to launch, refuel in orbit, endure months of flying through space, land on Mars, leave that planet, and safely return to Earth — then do all that over again — the BFR can’t be an ordinary spacecraft.”

Mars PD

How will we keep law and order on Mars? This article digs into various facets of concern, from the physics of hand-to-hand combat in low gravity to the ethical implications of humans living in an environment controlled all the way down to the air they breath. There’s a lot to digest here, but it’s interesting to think about.

Bombarded with words

Geraldine McCaughrean recently won the UK’s Carnegie Medal for children’s literature. Her acceptance speech gives me a bit more confidence in my prose choices for Scratching the Surface.

“Accessible language is, to me, a euphemism for something desperate. Most of its tyrannies are brought to bear on younger books right now. But blink twice and today’s junior school readers will be in secondary school,armed only with a pocketful of single syllable words, and with brains far less receptive to the acquisition of vocabulary than when they were three or seven or nine… We master words by meeting them, not by avoiding them.”