|Green Town, Les Edwards, 2005 (source)
If you have ever scanned the sci-fi/fantasy section of your local library or bookstore, then you are familiar with Les Edwards. Publishing most of his work under the pseudonym ‘David Miller’, his paintings have graced the covers of countless novels, by a myriad of authors. Green Village was commissioned by Hill House Publishers for the definitive edition of Ray Bradbury’s Martian Chronicles, which is a loose collection of short stories that documents man’s attempts at colonizing Mars, and the implications on the local ecology and indigenous populations. The depiction resembles so many small towns across the United States, and were it not for the lunar footprint at the bottom of the frame it could easily be confused for a portrait of the settlement of America in the 1800s and the Westward expansion.
While science fiction typically attempts to contextualize its futuristic and fantastical narratives with futuristic and fantastical architecture and design, I find the mundane approach to planetary colonization much more provocative. What if future life on Mars is the same as current life on earth, just a little dustier? There would be the same suburban tract housing, big box retail, and you could still rely on there being a Panera Bread off of every major highway exit.
E. Sean Bailey
|Surface of the Moon with Lava Tubes, NASA (source)
Scientists have recently discovered a ‘lava tube’ which is a large 213 foot wide x 260 foot deep hole, that may provide a safe site for a lunar colony for space exploration. The space contained by the hole is protected from the moon’s harsh temperatures and meteorites by a thin, but secure, sheet of lava and as a result could serve as a shelter from the severe environmental conditions of the lunar surface. Recent reports are suggesting that this discovery could have NASA returning to the moon by 2020 and establishing a temporary lunar colony as soon as 2025.
As the colonial era on Earth arguably draws to a slow close, what lessons can be applied from the experience on this planet, with all of its missteps, when undertaking a colonization where spatial issues are the central focus? As future settlements on the moon will depend on enclosures made by nature for their safety (at least in the short term), perhaps this instance of occupation will be an explicit reminder of the importance of maintaining a balance by respecting ones surroundings.
Erandi de Silva