My Three Days on Another Planet
February 1999 Edition
ARES VALLIS, MARS--Oh, boy! What an adventure! As my fellow readers
had noticed, I had been out on assignment to the most wackiest place
you could be, Mars. Equipped with my trusty ol' pad and paper, and the
Invincitron, I began my journey. I will tell you of my travels through
my daily journals. My journey began on...
January 6, 1999
Wowee! I had waken up at 4 a.m. to prepare for a launch at Vandenburg
Air Force Base, on the coast of California. It had been a tense few
days awaiting the launch on a Saturn XI rocket. I mean, this was the
biggest rocket in the world. Within a matter of hours, I would be strapped
in tight to this 700 feet tall structure, feeling up to 4 G's. It's
not usually in your everyday routine!
An ensign kindly asked me to board the rocket. It took about 5 minutes
to go up the elevator to the flight deck of the craft. There, I met
my flight companion, Nathan Lockwell, a US Air Force Lieutenant. He
was a stout, strong man, with a pinch of a goatee. When I was all strapped
in, the fact I was living a life of an astronaut finally sunk in. I
became the people I envied all my life. For example, James A Lovell,
one of the first astronauts. My, my, how did technology get so advanced?
5..4..3..2..1..BLAST OFF! The moment I've been waiting for had just
come. As the rocket ascended, I felt like there was a ton of weights
pressed on me, not just literally speaking! Just as I felt the rush
of adrenaline coursing through my body, the million pound barbells were
gone. Happy that artificial gravity was made, I also wished that I could
have experienced weightlessness. I guess I'll never know.
It was only a day's journey to the Red Planet, but after the first
few hours, I was bored out of my mind. Mr. Lockwell, you see, had decided
to tell all about how he became a cadet. However, I kept myself awake
by looking out at the window, see the red dot become more like a planet.
Soon, I could even see the canals, full of water. Ahhh... it was soothing.
By the end of the afternoon, I fell asleep, as if this was like any
January 7, 1999
As I woke up, Nathan's beady eyes were staring at me. Fearing that this
was an alien abductor, I shot out of my seat, and banged my head on
the cockpit controls. This was not a good feeling. After realizing that
it was only Nathan, I freshened up in what was so called a bathroom.
I hooked on the Invincitron, so the Martians could not spot me, and
I was on my way!
At first sight, Mars seemed to be paradise. The buildings were delicately
structured like the Greek temples of Greece. The vast plains of Ares
Vallis took my breath away. Ripples formed in the water canals, where
I could smell salt in the air. It felt like being up on the east coast
during a foggy morning. Of course, here, the weather might have been
at around 85 degrees, quite hot for this 4th planet from the sun. Despite
all these wonderful things, what really caught my eye were the Blue
Mountains, which were not blue at all! It had the same rusty color as
the rest of the land. That view was breathtaking, reminding me of the
Rockies up in the west. Each slope carefully carved by the winds into
these tranquilizing shapes.
Nathan and I went our separate ways. After an unappetizing breakfast
of food rations and black coffee, I began on my trek on the new world.
The first Martian-made object I encountered was a bridge over the canal.
There I saw my first Martians. They seemed to be a couple, a man and
a woman, who were holding hands while crossing the bridge. Their looks
surprised me at first. These beings had a rich, brown skin color, that
blended in with the landscape perfectly. The hair was a golden-brown
that appeared to be slicked with the finest of oils. However, one thing
shocked me the most: their eyes. Their eyes had no pupils as far as
I could see. It was tinted a gold color, but there were no pupils! How
could they see? The other thing which I noticed was that they were all
about 7 feet tall. Just trying to see their heads gave a crink in my
neck! That was the typical Martian. Otherwise, they would have looked
like any other human.
Resuming my travels after lunch, I trodded on to the closest city
to our rocket. In the first city, the entrance was marked by 2 poles
that looked like an over-carved totem pole. As I entered, I saw a bustling
city of all these Martians. Again, I was reminded of the similarities
to Ancient Greece, but with more technology. All of them living in peace.
I had not seen one of them bicker or start a fight. What a wonderful
The Town Hall
I seem to have accidentally bumped into the heart of the city. This
pyramid-shaped structure, made with a material like granite and limestone,
might have been the town hall. It was an amazing sight! Imagine one
of the Great Pyramids with very small base. Inside, I watched in awe
the phenomenal architecture of the building. Almost all the structure
was made out of glass! Be it staircases or benches, the whole place
I climbed up the stairs to the highest room. There, I saw 2 Martians,
both men, seemingly having a conversation. When I went closer, they
were not talking their language anymore. I had noticed that there was
little conversation between any of the Martians throughout the day.
I thought they were a quiet race, but I soon realized that they were
using telepathy. That was why that man was nodding when there was nothing
being said. Cool.
January 8, 1999
Today, I woke up to the same situation that I had yesterday. Only today,
Nathan's face wasn't as alarming, but I felt like a ton of bricks. That
was when Nathan reminded me about the Martian atmosphere. There was
little oxygen compared to what was on Earth. I guess, in all that hype,
I never noticed the oxygen shortage. But today, the affects really put
I drank my black coffee at the foot of the rocket, wondering how this
massive thing could be invisible. Oh yes...technology! While daydreaming,
I felt a slight sting at the side of my foot. Right there beside by
bleeding foot was a 8-legged hairy bug. It was large. I dropped my cup
of coffee on the ground and hopped on one foot back into the rocket.
Fretting about what that "thing" had shot into me, Nathan went outside.
He came back saying, "it's just a Martian blue-fanged spider." Just
a blue-fanged spider! That thing must've been the size of my hand! Well,
after that incident, I was careful to watch where I put my feet.
I started off where I left off yesterday. Travelling through the bustling
streets made me feel like I was on holidays. Most of the buildings were
made of limestone material, so everything was light-colored. The ground
was made of fine Martian dust, with redness that resembled clay. As
I turned into the market square, I saw a child giving some coins to
the market lady at her stand. She was buying a crystal apple to eat.
At that I had wished I could talk to the child. I was there, but, wearing
these invisible suits blocked me from experiencing the whole trip. I
could take off the gear at anytime, but I knew back on Earth, the international
treaty to not disturb alien life was still standing. The apple, it was
like one of those crystal apples you hang on your Christmas tree. It
wasn't fully round. The apple had flat sides, so it formed a multi-sided
hedron. The brown stem had a leaf that had crystal dew drops on it.
It was a sight to see! I wondered what it tasted like. Next, I followed
the child down to a deserted corner, where she sat down and ate the
apple. I then realized, that she must have been a poor orphan. She devoured
the apple with such slowness, savoring every bite. This was probably
her last meal. It was heartbreaking that I could not help her. All societies,
despite all the good, must have some bad points too.
At the entertainment spot, there was a spectacular array of theatre.
Marvelous masks were worn by the actor and actresses. The form of the
show was like Greek tragedy. Across the road, were Martian women singers.
Although I couldn't understand even one word, the tune was quite delightful.
It had a light, soothing sound.
During the evening, I had my supper back at the rocket. Outside, it
was raining CO2, and it coated the windows. This produced hot and humid
conditions inside the rocket. Today was an insightful day.
January 9, 1999
On my last day on Mars, I decided to take a trip to the Blue Mountains.
It was a long and strenuous hike up. Nathan also wanted to come along.
The soil up here was a little more rocky than down below. After digging
a little into the soil, I realized that the rock under was blue. I guess
I solved the Blue Mountains problem now. We edged along a cliff to a
cave, thinking that there might be some interesting wildlife there.
Unfortunately, nothing was there, although with some close inspection,
Nathan found some Martian hieroglyphics on the walls. They were similar
to the ones in the city, so I knew Martians frequented these mountains.
The most significant part of my excursion was when we encountered
some glowing blue spheres. They were not just globules of light, but
they seemed to be real creatures. They did not talk, but they hovered
around you, as if they were examining us. I had never thought of finding
such beings before. The only description I can make is a glowing blue
ball. That's all it is. It gives us a reminder that intelligent lifeforms
do not always have to take a humanoid shape. We are not superior, but
just unique in our own ways.
I sit writing to you up in the rocket watching Mars growing fainter
into space. We had travelled millions of miles to a world inhabited
by a civilized group of beings. It gives a perspective the wide, wide
* * *
This was my wonderful journey to Mars. I still cannot believe the
idealistic peacefulness that the Martians have gained. Perhaps we will
learn some beneficial concepts from them someday. Someday...