January 24, 2011


Week 3 Reflection: Mars


Of all the planets, I think Mars is the most entertaining, both in terms of the history and the music. I knew that it had long been the object of little-green-men fantasies, and its role in the mass confusion and panic the night of the dramatization of H.G. Well’s War of the Worlds is infamous. But I hadn’t known that it was the illusionary canals which had inspired so much belief in life on Mars.

The potential of terraforming and colonizing Mars has always been a fascinating prospect as well. Of course, that depends on finding a tappable water source, which, from the reading, sounds like it is still a sketchy possibility. There would also be the intense weather patterns and dust storms described by the article to contend with. It’s certainly not a hospitable environment. But it is not an impossible one either, from the sounds of it. The biggest problem might be the atmosphere – which is only 1% the density of Earth’s. The problem of Mars’ comparatively low mass compared to Earth and thus low escape velocity would certainly pose a challenge for creating and sustaining any kind of viable atmosphere. It remains a fantastic possibility, nonetheless.

Of all the movements of the suite, Mars in its entirety might be the most familiar to me, mostly from sci-fi movies and TV series. It must have been used for half a dozen alien invasion and battle scenes – probably more. Which is apt, considering that it is the movement for the planet named after the God of War. Having seen the music put to visuals, it is the easiest of the movements for me to listen to and immediately be carried off into a story, my mind conjuring up collages of plots and scenes I’ve associated the music with before and building upon them.