Every month we bring you five things that we think are cool. Because that’s how we roll.
This month, to celebrate the release of The Martian, the discovery of flowing water on the red planet, and because it’s all-round pretty cool, we bring you 5 Cool Things, the Mars edition.
1. Red Mars, by Kim Stanley Robinson
Mark: For me Red Mars is one of those absolute kind of books: when I got to the end I felt I could comfortably never read another book about the exploration and colonisation of Mars. Plot, characters and themes are all perfectly interwoven. The science is amazing. The sociopolitica and psychological elements equally so. I liked it so much I haven’t read the sequels yet because I don’t want to be disappointed. That’s probably a bit dumb, but, you know, Game of Thrones, The Matrix, The Phantom Menace… In January 2015 Spike TV (who make Lip Sync Battle and, well, not a lot) were in pre-production of a television series based on the books. J Michael Straczynski (Babylon 5, Sense8, etc.) is on board as a writer and Robinson is a series consultant, but I’m not getting my hopes up.
2. There’s Already Life on Mars – and it’s Ours
Tom: With every shuttle, probe and astronaut we send into space, we also send untold millions of microbes. That is to say, there is life on Mars, it’s just most likely dormant and very, very small. The cool thing is that this attention to detail is given the proper focus, and that there is hope that we will not blindly trudge through distant environments. And just as we can disturb alien worlds with our life, alien life, no matter how minuscule, could disturb Earth. Just think of the poor bacteria strapped to Voyager as we speak!
3. If Only We Had Taller Been
Chris: Almost exactly 44 years ago, in 1971, the Mariner 9 space probe reached Mars. It was the first human-made spacecraft to orbit another planet.
The day before its arrival, on the 12th November, a professor at Caltech University gathered some esteemed minds, namely Carl Sagan, Arthur C. Clarke and Ray Bradbury, to discuss this historic moment and what it might mean for humanity. The result, released in full in Mars and the Mind of Man, was a conversation ranging from not just the Mariner missions, or Mars, but about humanity’s urge to extend beyond itself.
A video of Bradbury, author of The Martian Chronicles, captures the spirit of the conversation as he reads one of his poems, If Only We Had Taller Been.
4. Girl From Mars (Ash)
Mark: Peaking in the late 90s to early 00s, these Northern Irish alt-rockers had a knack of writing infectious and up-tempo pop songs. Check them out:
5. Martian Real Estate
Chris: Property prices got you down? Sick of life in the hustle and bustle of the city? Well inter-planetary escape is now yours with Martian property selling fast for the low, low price of $19.99* per acre!
At the Lunar Embassy you can buy plots of land on Mars, the Moon, and even Mercury. With a surface temperature of over 400°C, it’s sure to scorch away those winter blues. Need some real peace and quiet? Buy all of Pluto for just $250,000. It’s a steal!
Don’t be fooled by other charlatans, the Lunar Embassy advertises itself as the ONLY estate agent of inter-planetary property that has a legal basis. So you can rest assured your money is not being spent frivolously.
*Plus $2.50 if you want your name on the deed.