Web Log: Imagining ‘life’ on Mars
Charlie Stewart creates evocative animated short
The camera pans to a couple of skeletons huddled by an SUV; as the sun goes down, we can hear Al and Sandy as their words tumble into the void on a lonely, desolate planet.
Next year NASA plans to send a fifth rover to Mars with a mission to gather samples and help determine if there was past life on the red planet. At some point in the future human scientists will inevitably follow in the footsteps (or wheels) of these intrepid vehicles. What could this look like?
Animator and motion graphics designer Charlie Stewart has created an evocative animated short exploring one scenario. It’s another sunny day on Mars, according to a chirpy AI assistant named Sandy. Sandy appears to be greeting her human owner, but it soon emerges he is nowhere to be seen. Sandy is answered by Al, who we learn is the AI assistant of astronaut Annie Fielding. They exchange pleasant but meaningless small talk.
Sandy reveals it is day 40532 so we now know over 111 years have passed. Dead plants on the window sill and Martian dust piling up at a door are more clues. In under three minutes Stewart paints a poignant picture of “life” on Mars. The camera pans to a couple of skeletons huddled by an SUV; as the sun goes down, we can hear Al and Sandy as their words tumble into the void on a lonely, desolate planet.