On the perception of the colours of Mars…

05/16/2006

I was looking at a post about the relative proportions of various planets today and it reminded me of a thought I’d had a couple of years ago and hadn’t ever explored in depth. It was based on a stupid theory of mine that I’d like you guys to disprove or correct or support. To start off with, look at the following picture from the above link:

So the most notable thing about this picture from my perspective (other than the size differential) is the difference in colour. More specifically, not that the colours are different, but that non-Earth planets are much more monotone. So my theory goes like this – we evolved on Earth, it’s important for us to be able to distinguish between certain types of substances and so our eyes are set up to better distinguish between the specific wavelengths of light that things on our planet reflect. Not a great moment of insight, I’m sure you’ll agree. Pushing it further though – this suggests that if we had evolved on Pluto, Jupiter or Venus, we’d perceive different wavelengths in more depth and with more variety. In fact, potentially if we’d been born on Mars, it would look to our eyes like a vibrant and colourful place, while Earth could look comparatively drab.

This could all be total balls for all I know. But what I wanted specifically to do was to get an image of Venus or Mars or whatever and kind of stretch the spectrum of colours across our visual spectrum, with the assumption that you’d get more Earth-like shades and a different sense of the landscape, even if (to the natives of this world) blue would no longer correspond to water. I’m assuming that someone’s done something like this before, but I can’t find anything good online about it, or a way to do such a thing in Photoshop. Anyone got any thoughts?