In the Sci-fi series The Expanse, Martians who visit Earth seem to be fascinated with the view of the horizon. As we all know Mars isn't flat and has a horizon of its own. In fact, it appears closer due to the fact that the radius of Mars is 53% of that or Earth.

So, where does that fascination come from?

I have not read James S. A. Corey's novels so I do not know if the answer is contained there.

  • 10
    You may have answered your own question: The horizon they're used to is much closer. They're not used to seeing so far off in the distance.
    – Kris
    Apr 12, 2017 at 8:58

1 Answer 1


In the books, there's a different reaction than just "fascination", but the reason is the same: Martians are not used to seeing all the way to the horizon with their own eyes (ie. not through the glass of a dome or their suit's helmet), and Earth's horizon is (as you say) further away. From Caliban's War, when Bobbie Draper is on Earth:

A bored guard nodded to her as she passed by, and then she was outside.
Outside. Without a suit.
"Mars or Luna?"
"Mars," she said once her breathing had slowed.
"Yeah, I knew it. Domes, you know. People who've been in domes just panic a bit. Belters lose their shit. And I mean completely. We wind up shipping them home drugged up to keep them from screaming."
[…] "They bring you in when it was dark outside?"
"They do that for offworlders. Helps with the agoraphobia."
On her second trip outside, she did as Chuck had recommended and looked down at the ground for a few moments. This helped reduce the feeling of massive sensory overload. But only a little. […] It was no wonder it had caused a panic. Just two senses' worth of data threatened to overwhelm her. Add that impossibly blue sky that stretched on forever…
When her ears and nose had gotten more accustomed to the barrage of inputs, she opened her eyes again, looking down at the concrete of the walkkway. Slowly, she lifted them till the horizon was in view.
Once Bobbie was outside the UN compound, her agoraphobia lessened. Buildings rose around her like walls of steel and glass, moving the dizzying skyline far enough up that she no longer saw it.

  • 5
    I took the "focus on the horizon" comments as a reminder not to look up. It wasn't that they were obsessed with the horizon, but that it was something to focus on that kept them from looking up at the sky.
    – Allan
    Apr 12, 2017 at 13:33
  • 1
    @Allan Yeah, same, but the faraway horizon and "dizzying skyline" is also what gives them the agoraphobic reaction, since it makes the "impossibly blue sky" stretch on "forever"
    – tobiasvl
    Apr 12, 2017 at 16:37
  • Note that not everyone reacts this way. Naomi visits Earth briefly and, aside from the unpleasantness from the crushing gravity, suffered no ill effects.
    – Necoras
    Apr 12, 2017 at 21:08
  • 6
    Reactions somewhat similar (or opposite?) to people visiting New York for the first time and keep looking up, to the skyscrapers. Apr 13, 2017 at 9:23

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