The Dry Earth: Reversed Terraforming

After terraforming Mars quite a few times, I’ve now done the reverse thing: martifying Earth. What would our planet look like if all the water suddenly disappeared? Like a Pale Yellow Dot, a kind of cross-over between the Moon and Mars.


No, this is not a warning about the effects of global warming. Those are worrying enough, but in the short term they mainly mean that we have to deal with more instead of less water.

The Dry Earth, an image of our planet without water, with North and South America, the Atlantic Basin and parts of Africa and Europe, against a background of stars
Pale Yellow Dot


On the other hand: sometimes planets lose a lot of water in the course of their existence. Mars, for example, once had a complete ocean in the northern hemisphere and there is nothing left of it. Why and how all that water disappeared is still a mystery. It is very speculative to assume that a somewhat clumsy technological civilization has had something to do with it, but it cannot be ruled out completely.

Detail of The Dry Earth, an image of our planet without water, with the northern part of the Atlantic Basin and the adjacent regions in North America, Africa and Europe
The North Atlantic Basin with parts of North America, Africa and Europe


Let’s just say it’s a fun thought experiment, this Dry Earth. Or perhaps a nice setting for a 120-episode Netflix series about the last survivors who fight each other for life and death. And at least a nice print to put on the wall, to look at and think from time to time: it’s so good that we have water.

The Dry Earth by Frans Blok, as a print on the wall in a fictional living room
The Dry Earth on the wall

Frans Blok

My work explores the border regions of photography, painting and computer visuals. With my company 3Develop I do work in commission but I use the same techniques, skills and software to make free work. I am originally an architect and I live in Rotterdam; for that reason the architecture of that city is a major (but not the only) source of inspiration. But also travel to countries like Iceland and Britain, or walks in the Netherlands, provide much material. Seeing and showing quality and beauty, that is what my work is about.

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