Life on Mars
Kysaut builds a base on the red planet!
Humanity has always dreamed of living amongst the stars. We’re bored of Earth. We’ve explored it for centuries, sailed the seas, tried all its best restaurants and so now it’s time to go somewhere else and start all over again. Mars is probably our best option: it has water (albeit locked in ice or tiny amounts of vapor), it’s close enough to Earth that we can send supplies regularly, and it has a similar day length to Earth’s, even if its years are almost twice as long.
Unfortunately, Mars isn’t perfect. It’s extremely cold, it has massive dust storms, it never rains, and trying to breathe the air will kill you. So there’s that.
But we don’t need to worry about that right now! It’ll be fine! Let’s just look at Kysaut’s Minecraft build, a Mars colony-style spawn for the SnakeCraft server. We might not be able to live on actual Mars for at least a few weeks, but we can live on Kysaut’s version of Minecraft Mars, right? Yeah? I’ll start packing!
Much like actual Mars, Kysaut’s build features lots of orange and red. According to NASA, this is because of the high amount of iron in Mars’ soil and the dust in the air, which turns a rusty colour when exposed to oxygen. In person – or, er, in rover – Mars apparently has more of a butterscotch colour. But artists, and even NASA itself, tend to make Mars look orange or red, because no one calls it the “butterscotch planet,” do they?
“The colour palette was chosen mostly based off NASA and sci-fi style artwork,” says Kysaut. Like a lot of depictions of Mars colonies, he went for a contrasting look: the ground is bright orange, but the buildings are made of white quartz, blue glass, and blocks of coal. It’s probably not what actual astronauts and scientists do, but it does look very striking.
“This was chosen to give more of the NASA feel to it,” Kysaut explains, “and the blocks of coal almost look like a science fiction material.” The black-on-white look is very sharp and industrial, which is probably what the architecture in a Mars colony will be like. No one’s going to be winning any prizes for beautiful looking buildings if they forget the main purpose – making sure their inhabitants don’t die!
Most Minecraft builders use a lot of external tools to create their works, because it takes a long time to build something in the base game. But Kynaut committed to creating his colony mostly in vanilla Creative mode, with only small portions done in WorldEdit, an external program.
Was that difficult? You bet. “The most challenging thing was the terrain,” says Kynaut. “Without the use of VoxelSniper [another external program], I had to use what was given to me by the game to complete the build.”
But, surprisingly, Kynaut ended up finding this limitation inspirational. “When you learn to work with what is given, you come to adapt and build with new blocks and new items instead of the usual blocks.” We’ve seen this loads of times in Minecraft builds: using trapdoors as plant pots, using stairs as sofas, using minecarts as toilets… Gross/smart!
Maybe whoever ends up colonising Mars can take a few pointers from Kynaut? Learn to adapt, NASA!
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- Kate Gray