LIFE ON MARS: THE GREAT INDOORS
CHRISTOPHER CALEB HANSEN
Life On Mars: The Great Indoors, speculates on a fictitious scenario within the future context of the human colonisation of Mars, using design fiction as a tool to understand the complex issues of human society and being human. The period that comes after the first settlement is what interests me. When times are neither utopian nor dystopian, when questions and introspective re-evaluations begin to arise. I believe that the vast array of variable futures that lay ahead are tools for understanding the present. By exploring these variables, we can better understand our current social, cultural and technological context within the present. These projected futures are intended to function as a mirror on to todays world and our current situation, but ultimately ask questions about the inherent nature of being human in the world of tomorrow.
On Mars the climate is harsh, there is a lack of atmosphere and the air is unbreathable. We will never smell the way that Planitia Utopia smells when the season of spring starts to defrost the substrate ice. We will never feel the breeze on our face that travels across the top of Olympus Mons. We will never hear the sounds of echoing voices in the Valley of Valles Marineris. Like on Earth, we will construct our own realities and worlds in which we interact, only on Mars, there is no other choice. Life on mars will be decided by the way in which we frame our own reality. We can get as close as we want, but we will never experience the great outdoors. There is only inside for us.
The space of the helmet, leads the gaze outwards, continuously redefining the outside, the martian landscape. The outdoors, becomes a very intimate matter of being inside. Experiencing the reality of Mars, is impossible in any true form, related to our sensorial way of interpreting things. We can only tangent the experience of this landscape as closely as possible without, crossing the border, which ultimately is a matter of death. In the same way this conundrum holds true to the confined space of the mega interiors, the rooms of the outside. The landscapes and environments that we control and create, become a question of re-creating what we already know or distorting it in a way that we have never experienced before. Here our attention and gaze is internalised, the outer landscape does not exist. Although vastly different in scale, the micro space of the helmet and the macro space of the mega interiors are very similar within the context of Mars.
The borders that define the outside and inside, become filters to our inner way of being. These spaces are not only possible realities of a future life on Mars, but metaphors for the way that we deal with and experience life here on Earth today. Whether or not humans on Mars will remain fiction or become a reality is unknown for now, but the longstanding relationship between science fiction and design has influenced our reality for decades. Will our children be humans or will they be martians?