In the third part of Red Mars, we meet Nadezhda Francine Cherneshevsky, or just Nadia. Nadia herself is one of the Russian team members of the original one hundred that first landed on Mars, and acts as both consultant and head constructer for the buildings and facilities on Mars. Most of the group relies on her to help solve their simple problems, and in the case of ‘Chernobyl’ or the group responsible for the nuclear reactors, needing her to oversee ever little part of their building operation. Nadia takes this role in stride, occasionally commenting on her lack of energy and pile of work, but seems happiest when she’s working. She’s reluctant to actually go out and see Mars though; When Ann invites her she finds excuses to stay behind, citing her work and the fact that people rely on her quite a bit. Nadia seems content to stay behind, to focus on her own little bubble of this new planet, and not learn what else could be out there, what else there is to see beyond the scientists’ compound. Nadia is later convinced to take an exploration with Ann, to leave and journey to find what they hope to be ice or water. During the trip, Ann makes several cases for simply impacting the planet as little as possible, no matter the cost to the group of humans on Mars. She argues that there’s so much potential for discoveries that could be wiped out with human interference.
What really bothered me from Part Three was that I kind of agreed with Ann, and a majority of the characters didn’t. There had to be some affect to the humans colonizing the red planet, but that doesn’t mean that they had to make massive changes in one go. A team is sent to Mars and they’re not interested in exploring everything, trying to find life before they start changing the environment drastically and irreversibly? How are the people on the team complacent with that? One of the biggest questions (at least in the real world) is the fact that there could be life in space. It’s annoying to see the characters completely disregard that possibility and jump right into projects that could potentially wipe out billions of undiscovered scientific anomalies. The more that Ann and others lobbied against the idea, the more I could get behind their motivations. One of the passages that I really enjoyed from the reading was from Ann, when she states “We’ll all say that. We’ll all go on and make the place safe. Roads, cities. New sky, new soil. Until it’s all some kind of Siberia or Northwest Territories, and Mars will be gone and we’ll be here, and we’ll wonder why we feel so empty. Why when we look at the land we can never see anything but our own faces.” (page 158). It’s a powerful section, and I wonder if that’s how it’ll be if we ever actually manage to make it to Mars. If that we change something so untouched, so foreign, and then look back and wonder what would have happened if we had done nothing. Just like how we do today on Earth.