There's a reason VH1 keeps running I Love the 80s marathons: nostalgia is big business, and The Martian Chronicles knows that people love to reminisce about a better, more neon-tastic past. Many characters have childhood memories that affect the story in one way or another. For instance, "The Fire Balloons" is named after Father Peregrine's memory of the Fourth of July, and the Martians use childhood memories to trick members of the Third Expedition. These aren't just coincidences: Bradbury is posing serious questions about whether the past is better than the present and whether the future is going to get better or worse. And nostalgia isn't just a private matter; when societies get nostalgic, do they just end up going backward?
In The Martian Chronicles, the past is a force that cannot be escaped. We'll all eventually be sad over losing something.
The past is a roadmap for the future in The Martian Chronicles. Having a sense of the past is the only way to live peacefully and happily.