Earthrise as viewed from MarsA blue-white speck,
fuzzy through gauzy grey clouds.
rising over pale yellow dunes
in a pale pale sky
while cosmic rays flicker like fireflies at the edges of vision.

That's you
and me
and everybody you know;
everyone who ever lived,
everyone who ever died.
All of us.

Were you smiling? Did you wave?

First published in Iron Angels
Copyright © 2009, Geoffrey A. Landis

Image Credit: NASA/JPL/Texas A&M/Cornell/SSI

Geoffrey Landis's poem "Search" won the Rhysling Award from the SF Poetry Association for best long poem of 2009, the same year his poem "Fireflies" (Astropoetica, 7.2: Summer 2009) won the Dwarf Stars award for best short poem.  When he is not a poet, he is a space scientist at NASA, working on missions to Mars, Venus, and the sun. His first collection of poetry, Iron Angels, appeared from Van Zeno last year. (Check it out at He is the author of a novel, Mars Crossing, and a collection of short stories, Impact Parameter (and Other Quantum Realities).  More information can be found on his web site,