The y soon became known as the Martian canals, especially since the US astronomer Percival Lowell speculated that water might at some point have flowed into the hundreds of kilometers long depressions that they might not even have a natural origin.
The little green men from Mars are part of the basic equipment of globalized popular culture.
The interest in NASA’s latest Mars mission is also proof of this. Thanks to modern telescopes and probes, we know that there are no canals on Mars. But that doesn’t detract from the effort to find out whether life of any kind exists up there (is Mars actually up there?) – and be it life the size of the coronavirus.
Mars is the earth that has become inhospitable
The y want to prove to themselves, their opponents and the whole world that they can “do it”, that India, China or the Emirates no longer have to lag behind the former superpowers USA and Russia (formerly the Soviet Union). So far, extraterrestrials have not been found out there, but the all-too-earthly – competition and self-promotion – certainly. In that sense, Mars is just bad old earth.
The invasion of Mars has been part of the standard repertoire of seriously alien threats since Wells’ “War of the Worlds” in 1898.
In addition, the red desert planet serves as a backdrop for all sorts of pre- and post-apocalyptic parables in entertainment literature and cinema, which have the struggle for survival on Mars as the foreground, but the gradual or sudden death of the earth as the background. Mars is also the earth that has become inhospitable.
Colonize Mars from the garage
And finally, Mars also stands for hope. Several mediocre nerdy billionaires like Richard Branson, Jeff Bezos or Elon Musk want to send people to Mars in the foreseeable future. Above all, Musk is the typical representative of a big bang milieu, in which clever sci-fi authors like Ray Bradbury or Philip K. Dick have shaped the visions, and in which one can colonize Mars from a garage.
Musk or Bezos, who have become the richest on this planet within a decade, are now targeting the next one, Mars. It is the dream of good colonialism out in space.