I stride through the long white corridors of the hab heading for the observation dome, the tall glass spire jutting out of the white mess below. Climbing the last of the narrow winding stairs, rounding the corner and taking in the vast expanse of the rugged rusty red landscape that surrounds. Towering cliffs rise up. Starting in the depths of this mega dust filled concavity, they surpass where clouds would be if this were Earth. Meeting the violent red sky. Below me and all around, lies a pearly mess of tunnels and domes. From my vantage, the futuristic white Hab looks out of place yet a safe haven from the frigid temperatures of the barren desert. A sparkling white oasis in a deserted wasteland. “Beep”, a muffled radio report follows. To the East are explorers returning from a day trip to Dorson Col and the Arridlands. The chassis of their rovers barely above the dusty red. Tired pack horses, they ferry scores of rock samples across the vast oxidized expanse. The decision to meet up with the expedition leader is made, I begin the long walk down the sterile white passageways. Through the plexus of the Hab, the steel caps of my sturdy boots clatter and bang on the metallic floor. I reach the airlock and punch in my 6-digit pin … “beep, beep, hiss” the doors open. The doors close behind me, the air is sucked out of the room, I’m being vacuum packed. The doors at the end of the chamber open and I walk out onto the Martian soil. Both boots sink into the soft red dirt, left behind are my shallow footprints. They look like that of some sort of animal, though none exist in this alien district. I suddenly feel a rush of excitement as I venture out into our amazing new world.
A wave of nostalgia washes over me, as I remember what this place was like 50 years ago. It’s hardly recognizable, the lush green foliage stretches high over the hab. From the observation dome, I can hardly see the white roofs of the hab through the verdure jungle that covers it. The imposing red cliffs still stand guard over civilization below. Parts of their once dry walls are now touched with both the insistent pitter-patter of falling water and a fine mist that hangs in the air before quenching the mossy walls. Visible at the top of the skyscraping facades are small remnants of the landscape that was and used to be. Unchanged by time, the red rocky outcrops that pierce the uniquely coloured sky show amazing contrast against the newly altered ambiance. High above, the daytime moon is sewn into the sky. Glowing red clouds are stitched around it. Reluctantly I pry my eyes away from the window, the view, I begin to walk to an exit. With a new and improved atmosphere, the airlock is now redundant. It is left open in a state of decay, a piece of dirty clothing discarded on the floor of a schoolboys room. A thick carpet of moss envelopes the airlock and so without security, all types of people are free to roam among the trees. Life beams from everywhere I look. Hidden behind the ferns and fronds of the mysterious jungle peeps the fury faces of little animals, colourful birds cheep and swoop, our new world is now full of life and colour. I suddenly feel a rush of excitement as I venture out into our amazing new world.