Dreaming of Blue: Water and Mars


You live on a world of dry red rock. Something’s missing. Air? Check. Gravity? Check. 294 days worth of Tang? Check, check, check. So, what could it be?

A visual sweep of the white half-sphere in which we dwell quickly reveals the deficiency. Of the three color cones a human eye can possess, two barely see use here: green and blue.

The sMars spectrum looks like this: On clear days, a weak circle of blue sky becomes visible through our hazy plastic windows. Small green plants litter the common areas. One little bottle crop even has yellow flowers! The hues of those home-grown leaves is more vibrant by far than the foods we have, particularly the pea-soup shade of our dehydrated spinach. Some of the grow-lights blink and wink in nearly-neon blues and greens. And that, my friends, is the entire palette. Red, white and fleeting hints of blue with a bit of green tossed in here and there.

Suffice it to say, you look forward to – even crave – the smallest traces of color; and moisture, too. The circuits of your central processing units could care less that you’ve come 50 million miles to conduct critical space research. Children of Earth, be forewarned: wherever you go, your brain continues to expect certain types of input.

So it was that that after 2.5 months of seeing no body of water bigger than a 5-gallon-bucket, and no slice of heaven wider than my spacesuit visor, after reading that the Sun is stripping away 900 lbs of Martian atmosphere per hour, I had the single most vivid dream I’ve had since landing on sMars – one of the most vivid dreams of my life, in fact. I dreamed about blue.

Mind you, this was —> Read More