Flag of Mars

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A flag of Mars is a concept of a possible flag design, meant to symbolize the planet Mars or to represent a fictional Martian government, in works of fiction.

Proposed flags[edit]

Thomas O. Paine's design[edit]

A flag design showing Mars as a way station between Earth and the stars.

Thomas O. Paine, who served as the third Administrator of NASA, designed a Mars flag in 1984.[1] Paine's Mars flag includes a sliver of Earth near the hoist side of the flag "as a reminder of where we came from, and a star near to the other side, to remind us of where we are going. In the center of the field is a representation of the Mars planet symbol, with its arrow pointing out to the star, acknowledging that Mars is not our destination, merely a way station on a journey that has no ending".[2]

Paine's flag design was illustrated by artist Carter Emmart. That illustration was published on the cover of a periodical titled The Planetary Report. According to Emmart, Paine "created the Mars flag as an award to the person or organization that he felt had contributed most to advancing the human exploration of Mars".[3]

On November 12, 2005, Ray Bradbury received a Mars flag as a part of the "Thomas O. Paine Award for the Advancement of Human Exploration of Mars". The award was presented to Bradbury during The Planetary Society's 25th Anniversary Awards Dinner.[4]

Pascal Lee's design[edit]

Pascal Lee's tricolor flag for Mars

Pascal Lee, a former NASA research engineer designed a tricolor flag for Mars in 1999. It was flown into space on STS-103 by astronaut John M. Grunsfeld. The sequence of colors, from red, to green, and finally blue, represent the transformation of Mars from a lifeless planet to one teeming with life, as inspired by Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars trilogy of novels. It is also flown at the Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station, on behalf of the Mars Society.[5]

In science fiction[edit]

In the 1953 Chuck Jones animated cartoon featuring Daffy Duck, Duck Dodgers in the 24½th Century, the character Marvin the Martian carries a pink triangular flag with a red circle. In other depictions, the flag may be rectangular and have the letter M over the circle.

In Robert A. Heinlein's 1961 science-fiction novel Stranger in a Strange Land, a flag of Mars is hastily improvised, consisting of "the field in white and the sigil of Mars in red".[6]

In his 1994 science-fiction novel Moving Mars, Greg Bear describes the flag of the fictional Federal Republic of Mars as follows: "red Mars and two moons in blue field above a diagonal, white below".[7]

In the 1996 film Mars Attacks!, the flag of Mars is green with a black circle in the center, a red pyramid in the middle, and an eye on top.

In the 2011 book Leviathan Wakes by James S. A. Corey, the first part of The Expanse series, the flag of Mars is described as depicting the "lonely star, and thirty stripes".[8] However, in the 2015 The Expanse television series, based on The Expanse novel series, the flag of the Martian Congressional Republic (the governing body that rules over the inhabitants of Mars) is divided horizontally into two equal stripes: orange on top, and black on the bottom. In the centre is placed a hollow red circle, symbolizing Mars, with a thin blue crescent attached to its left inner side, symbolizing the terraforming effort, and the limited resources of water and oxygen of the planet's population. In the top stripe, on the left of the circle, slightly above it, is placed a black dot. Accordingly, in the bottom stripe, on the right of the circle, is placed, a slightly smaller, orange dot. They symbolize the moons of the planet, Phobos and Deimos. It was created by graphic designer Jonathan Hunter.[9][10]

Flag of Mars as described in Stranger in a Strange Land.
The flag of the Federal Republic of Mars, as described in Moving Mars.
The flag of the Martian Congressional Republic, as seen in The Expanse television series.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Horowitz, Sarah. "The great Martian flag wars". Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Vol. 56, No. 3, page 10. May/June 2000.
  2. ^ Reeves-Stevens, Garfield, et al. Going to Mars: The Stories of the People Behind NASA's Mars Missions Past, Present, and Future, page 222. Pocket Books, December 21, 2004.
  3. ^ Emmart, Carter. "On the Cover". The Planetary Report. The Planetary Society, Volume 12, Number 5, September/October 1992.
  4. ^ Lakdawalla, Emily. The Planetary Society Blogs. June 6, 2012. Retrieved February 20, 2017.
  5. ^ "CNN - Official 'Mars flag' unfurls in space - January 7, 2000". archives.cnn.com. Archived from the original on 29 April 2007. Retrieved 11 January 2022.
  6. ^ Robert A. Heinlein: Stranger in a Strange Land. G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1961.
  7. ^ Bear, Greg. Moving Mars. Legend Books, 1994.
  8. ^ James S. A. Corey: Leviathan Wakes, Orbit Books, 2011. ISBN 978-0-316-12908-4.
  9. ^ The Expanse, "The Weeping Somnambulist", season 3, episode 9. Directed by Mikael Salomon, written by Hallie Lambert. 22 March 2017.
  10. ^ Jonathan Hunter. "The Expanse Season 01". jonhunter.artstation.com.

External links[edit]