A Boomer’s History of Mars
From radio and film to TV and NASA, 12 Martian moments
En español | The Red Planet has fascinated humans since ancient times. The idea that it has intelligent life — advanced mostly by self-taught astronomer Percival Lowell — gave us a centurylong case of “Mars fever.” On the 50th anniversary of Mariner 4’s quest for an up-close look, how many of these Martian moments do you remember?1 of 14
Mary Evans Picture Library/Everett Collection
1898: 'The War of the Worlds'
In H.G. Wells’ sci-fi classic, Martians use robotic fighting machines to take over Earth.2 of 14
Harry Warnecke/NY Daily News via Getty Images
1938: 'War of the Worlds' (radio)
Orson Welles and his Mercury Theatre make an alien invasion seem just a bit too real.3 of 14
20thCentFox/Courtesy Everett Collection
1953: 'Invaders From Mars'
The surreal frightfest begins with a 12-year-old boy seeing a flying saucer land out back.4 of 14
Courtesy Everett Collection
1962: 'The Three Stooges in Orbit'
Larry, Moe and Curly Joe foil Martians intent on destroying Disneyland — and the rest of the planet.5 of 14
1963: 'My Favorite Martian'
The TV series features Ray Walston as an anthropologist from Mars who’s stranded on Earth.6 of 14
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1964: Mariner 4
The spacecraft takes off to capture the first images of Mars from deep space.8 of 14
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1971: Sesame Street’s Yip Yips
These bug-eyed little Martians have terrifying encounters with everyday Earth objects.9 of 14
Warner Bros/Courtesy Everett Collection
1977: Marvin the Martian
The soft-spoken but evil villain created by Chuck Jones in 1948 costars in the TV special Bugs Bunny in Space.10 of 14
TriStar Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection
1990: 'Total Recall'
Arnold Schwarzenegger travels to Mars to uncover who he really is and why his memory was erased. There he meets Kuato, a deformed humanoid who reads his mind.11 of 14
Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images
1996: 'Mars Attacks!'
Tim Burton lines up big stars for his parody of sci-fi B movies, based on the cult trading-card series.12 of 14
Courtesy Bryan Versteeg/Mars One
2024: Mars One
A one-way trip to Mars? Would you volunteer for a permanent human settlement?13 of 14
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As the last of the Baby Boomer Generation turns 50 and more baby boomers are retiring, AARP celebrates the generation that changed the world.
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