Digital, 2016

The vast background of a planetary surface dominates this image of another world. Its reddish hue suggests that we are looking at the planet Mars, its cratered terrain coloured by the iron oxide spread throughout the surface material. It is bleak and unwelcoming – a harsh environment where humans could exist only in shelters to protect them from conditions which are inimical to any life-forms we know.

A space station stands out starkly against this forbidding scene, orbiting the Red Planet as a different form of shelter for people from our own world. Lighted windows show that it is inhabited, and its circular structure indicates that its rotation may be designed to provide the equivalent of gravity for long-term occupation.

But we see no activity around the station. It is almost as though its inhabitants are waiting for something to happen. They may be mere observers of the Martian surface, but surely automatic satellites could achieve that function more easily. No, they are here for some other purpose. They may be awaiting the time when they can travel down to the planet – we may be witnessing the first stage of the colonization of Mars.

Text: Richard Hayes










Waiting - space art by Alex Storer