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Can I Choose Neither?

Popular Science recently held a design contest for a flag for Mars.

While I’ve never liked the Mars Society’s version (principally because of its fawning association to the vastly-overrated Mars Trilogy), I can’t say that either of the winning PopSci entrants were any better. The top winner looks like Saturn with a Newton’s Cradle hanging from it, and the second-place entrant suggests that the contest’s hypothetical terraforming was performed by Cameroon with help from Queer Eye for the Desert Planet.

None of the flags in the slideshow accompanying the article were particularly attractive or inspiring. But then again, I suppose appreciation for a flag is something which has to grow over time — the U.S. flag, if proposed today, would no doubt be poo-poohed as “too busy”.

The other issue I have with the Mars Society flag as a flag for Mars — and with efforts like those of PopSci — is that it’s wholly premature. After all, we haven’t even been there yet. There’s no telling whether there would end up being one or many flags for Mars once settlement gets underway, and if and when that happens the flag or flags will reflect the history of the effort and the people and entities carrying it out…things we cannot know in advance, any more than the English enthusiasts for colonization in the New World could have, in the mid-1500s, conceived the U.S. or Canadian flags of today.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with such efforts, so long as they are properly regarded as art projects.

1 comment to Can I Choose Neither?

  • Aaron_J

    Who says they’ll even want flags on Mars? Not much wind to get them waving (so you’d need a horizontal support like NASA used when they faked the Moon landings).

    Naw, just another silly Earth custom we’ll leave behind.