This an article about Mars, space exploration and striving.
This is written in 2019. Imagine that: 2019...
A mythical year.
For, in the movie Blade Runner from 1982, "2019" was the mythical future it played in.
However, today I see no replicants in need of withdrawal, no rain-soaked urban congestion in eternal night, no space colonies on Mars etc. I don't see anything of that around me today.
But we still have Mars.
We can still go there and shine.
But you say, Mars is only an arid, cold desert.
OK. That's what you're saying. Because you lack the willpower and drive to go there.
Because, conversely, to have it terraformed and colonized is The Next Big Thing. For Faustian man, Western man.
- - -
Mars beckons me and many others. "He awoke -- and he wanted Mars." (Philip K. Dick, We Can Remember It for You Wholesale, 1966).
In the literary sense, Dick envisoned Mars as a human colony, as a goal for human endeavour and striving. And so did other SF authors like Arthur C. Clarke, Robert A. Heinlein, Rex Gordon, Öyvind Myhre, Ray Bradbury, Jack Williamson etc. etc.
Even today Mars epics are written. Like Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars trilogy.
I go for Mars. I'm in for Mars. Conversely, I don't care so much about space stations, Lunar colonies, Lagrange colonies of the O'Neill kind.
Faustian man wants a free, unbounded space to live in. A horizon to strive for. He doesn't want to live in closed quarters with a limited supply of food and oxygen.
OK, true: the first time on a colonized Mars would have to be lived out in underground, pressurized habitats. Because the atmosphere of Mars is too thin to breathe. And there is no magnetic field shielding the planet from cosmic radiation.
But after some centuries (many centuries), after due terraforming and creation of a magnetic field, we could live on it. Live and breathe, grow crops, work in every aspect of the human endeavour. Create a new culture, a new frontier for man. Strive, shine, as Faustian man is wont to do.
- - -
Once man lived on Mars. 2 million years ago. Then he disappeared, leaving only the Cydonia sphinx and the nearby system of pyramids as evidence.
Now we're going back.
We can do it.
We must do it.
We will do it.
[Source for humans having lived on Mars: Drunvalo Melchizedek: The Ancient Secret of the Flower of Life, 2000]
Johnnie Holt -- First on Mars
Science Fiction Seen from the Right
The Legacy of Space
Robert Svensson: "Utfärd" (= "Venturing Out")