Study Guide

Red Mars Part 3, Chapter 1

By Kim Stanley Robinson

Part 3, Chapter 1

The Crucible

  • Part 3 opens with a short survey of Mars's geological history.
  • We start with the collection of rocks in space, smashing together thanks to the force of gravity a few billion years before Newton would explain the concept.
  • The core heats from the friction but cools much more quickly than Earth's, and once that core cools, it stops spinning and no geomagnetic field is produced.
  • No geomagnetic field, no protection from the Sun's solar winds; no protection from the Sun's solar winds, then it's bye-bye ozone layer and hello radiated death.
  • The atmosphere froze and fell to the planet in the form of carbon dioxide. Water receded and froze, cutting into the land, and geological change also came in the form of meteorites and winds.
  • The planet settled. Mars lived a mineral life because it never made the jump to vegetation or animal life that Earth did.
  • And then we came, by which we mean humanity not Shmoop. Shmoop currently owns no Martian-based facilities. Only lunar ones.