Saturday, November 5, 2005

Skunk Cabbage

In Robert A. Heinlein's 1949 novel Red Planet depicts a struggle of colonists on Mars trying to fight back against an Earth-imposed government that does not understand what it takes to live on Mars. The books depicts that Mars of Percivel Lowell: canals, ruined cities and Martians (reused by Heinlein in other books such as The Rolling Stones and Stranger in a Strange Land).

Part of the plot revolves around the journey of the main characters, Jim Marlowe and Frank Sutton, to warn their fellow colonists of the plans of the Mars Company. To survive a night on Mars, they hide inside a large plant that resembles the Earth skunk cabbage. Despite freezing temperatures, the plant is able to survive. Perhaps it is a cousin of Earth's skunk cabbage, which was recently found to have a mechanism to combat freezing?

Addendum (November 14, 2005): The posting was picked up by Technovelgy!