Arts and Recreation on Mars: Contributing to Quality of Life in the Leominster Community

Author: Bart Leahy

Description: How can the arts and recreation contribute to quality of life in off-world civilization? It is the author’s belief that arts and recreation can become a regular, organized part of life off Earth once people reach the point of building large cities with the resources to support them. Given the importance of the arts and recreation throughout human history, we should also expect them to become an essential part of life as we migrate beyond Earth. Because the Moon is so close to Earth, I will focus on people migrating to Mars. The paper is written as a report to future city planners for Leominster, a fictional 1,000-person city being built on Mars. The report will explain the need to incorporate arts and recreational spaces into their community consciously and deliberately; how arts and recreation can be incorporated into the design of Leominster; and how they can serve as a draw for future residents. Additional world-building assumptions for Leominster will include its architecture, technological capabilities, and industries; the city’s history, economy, and designed living conditions; and the characteristics of the people choosing to live there. The inhabitants will have to cope with the extreme environment (frigid temperatures, thin/unbreathable atmosphere, high radiation, months- or years-long dust storms, etc.) as well as life within a built community (no access to fresh air, “outside” mediated by spacesuits or vehicles, confinement, life support emergencies, and physical and communication distance from Earth). Because of these challenges, the report will cite analogous peoples who experienced similar pressures, including migrant and displaced populations; confined and imprisoned people; nuclear submarine crews; early explorers and space analogue participants; and previous space crews. The report will identify how art and recreation helped these isolated people survive; recommend specific types of art and recreation for Leominster; and clarify how they will contribute to life in the new city. I intend to show how arts and recreation can contribute to life in a single Mars city but also how they can advance the course of human civilization beyond Earth.