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What would the first human on Mars say?  The words chosen will echo through history in the same way that Neil Armstrong’s famous line has.  That’s a lot of pressure for whomever is chosen to be the first person on the planet.  They’d better pick something profound!

The BBC has been asking people to contribute on Twitter, using the hashtag #BBCMARS, and in the comments of this article.  Here are some of the best (serious and otherwise):

hum “Mars, the Bringer of War” by Gustav Holst (@oz_penguin)

It was once said ‘a small step for man’ but today we make that giant leap 4 mankind (@welsh_steve25)

once again my dear friends we take a step into the unknown (@SirPhil1983)

‘Well, for this night we will repose us here: /To-morrow toward London back again’ Shakespeare 2H6 II.i. (@Shakes_Today)

Where’s the Mars bar? (@JohnnyReaction)

‘we step beyond the capability of man kind, yet again.’ (@caitlin_ent)

“It’s land, Jim, but not as we know it.” (@eridanus)

Here are my suggestions.  Bonus points for people who recognise the source of inspiration for the first few.

“Quick!  Get the Easy Listening music!”

“Dark is the suede that mows like the harvest.”

“Yesterday, the moon.  Today, Mars.  Tomorrow, the universe!  Mwa-ha-ha-ha-haaaa!”

“Hey, what are all these dead cats doing here?”

And, more seriously,

“That’s just one more step in mankind’s journey to the stars.”

What would you like the first person on Mars to say?  What would you say if it were you?

But which world?

This is artist Kelly Richardson’s depiction of the future of Mars.  Littered with dead and dying robots, gusts of wind blow sand and dust in gentle swirls.  Nobody is coming.  It’s possible nobody has been there.  It is a sad scene.

Yet somehow soothing.

Here’s the second random idea from the archive:

Write a story where men and women are segregated so much that they are literally from different planets*.  You’ll need a believable reason why this has come to be.

* Inspired, of course, by the title of a certain book about Mars and Venus.

As I mentioned yesterday, Curiosity landed on Mars.

There’s so much fun you could have with missions to Mars, but my question today is simply this: like Dorothy landing on the wicked witch of the west, did the rover land on any poor unsuspecting Martian cats?

(Blast, now I have an idea for a modern retelling of the Wizard of Oz, with Dorothy as an AI on a spaceship.  I don’t have time for more ideas!)

 

Curiosity is the name of the Mars Rover which touched down on the surface of the red planet early on Monday morning.  I’ve known this for a while, and I suspect that most of you science-fiction fans will have known too (unless you’ve been on another planet, and even then you might have noticed if the planet in question was Mars).

What I didn’t realise until today was how cute it is.  Like a cross between WALL-E and Number Five from Short Circuit, only slighly more macho.

I also didn’t realise that the mission is no puny little 30-day thing.  No, they’re funded for two years (Earth years, that is), but the batteries could last for ten or more.  Will it still be operational when we eventually land people on Mars?

I see a story developing in which we land people on Mars, and they have some problem with their technology and need spare parts.  Curiosity has the parts they need, but it’s not responding to their attempts at remote control – the radio receiver is broken so it’s just trundling about sampling rocks and sending the data to Earth, but can’t be controlled.  The astronauts have to go on a desperate hunt through the Martian landscape to capture the rover before it’s too late!

The Author

Nicola Higgins is a 30-something martial artist who runs two Brownie packs and works full time. She somehow still finds time to write.

Her favourite genres are near-future and alternate world science fiction and fantasy.

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