FLAG OF MARS
During the Haughton-Mars Project (HMP) 1998 summer field campaign on Devon Island in the Arctic, I proposed a design for a Flag of Mars. The idea of a flag came up in a casual conversation. As I grew up in France, I jokingly suggested that it should be a tricolour, to symbolize Liberty, with Red, Green and Blue representing the future phases of terraforming Mars. I'm not actually a big fan of terraforming. I don't think it's cost-effective given how much resources and time it would take, let alone the ethics of it in case we do find an alien form of life on Mars. Instead, to access other Earth-like worlds, we should master interstellar travel. That said, on astronomical timescales, as the sun evolves to become a red giant, Mars will eventually undergo terraforming anyway, so the tricolor evolution of Mars might still symbolize the planet's future. To my surprise, the tricolor flag idea caught on, and this flag now shows up here and there around the world. It has even flown in space. In December 1999, astronaut John Grunsfeld carried this Flag of Mars with him aboard Space Shuttle Discovery on NASA's STS-103 mission.
The Flag of Mars has no official standing. It is not intended to represent a territorial claim, nor to encourage future humans on Mars to sucede from Earth. While it is inspired by the terraforming sequence, human-induced or natural, it is not intended to advocate terraforming. To me, it is more a symbol of humanity's quest to explore Mars and of the wonderful future Mars might have, especially when the sun becomes a red giant! If we do settle and transform Mars, I hope it will be done ethically and esthetically. (Otherwise, don't fly this flag!)
The Flag of Mars may be flown or worn anywhere anytime on Earth, on Mars, or in Space-Time. Be respectful of local customs. Exercise good judgment for appropriateness. The Flag of Mars may be burned if you're really out of fuel and happen to be in an oxygen-rich atmosphere, or if you need to signal your presence in a vast barren desert...
The proportions of the Flag of Mars are 2:3. In the Pantone Color Matching System (PCMS), the red should be the "Red Clay" 18-1454, the green the "Mint Green" 17-6333, and the blue the "Imperial Blue" 19-4245. Note: Pantone has red colors called "Mars Red" and "High Risk Red", but these appeared too dark and dull to me. The Pantone "Red Clay" is more orange and brown. It got my vote. Given the abundance of clays on Mars, "Red Clay" was also a good fit. The Pantone "Mint Green" seemed refreshingly primordial to me. It's more "algal" than other greens. The Pantone "Imperial Blue" also felt right. But yes, it's ironic that a celebration of Exploration and Liberty would end with Imperial Blue.