The first flower crept slowly upwards, pushing its way through the cold and sterile regolith. Its journey monitored daily by the patient, space suited scientists. When it broke through the surface it unfurled its small, perfect leaves and turned itself to the sky. Oblivious to the celebrations around it, its picture beamed instantly to news wires, TV screens. The meagre sun barely warmed its thick, vacuous skin; but the air was rich and plentiful. It breathed and fed on the abundant alkalines. Growing stronger each day, it added a tiny puff of oxygen to the painfully thin atmosphere. New leaves unfurled whilst its dense mat of roots tied the loose soil and water ice together. Over time it grew taller and heavy seed sacs started to develop, protected from the red dust by its leaves. Each sac contained a thousand new plants, ready to colonize the barren wastes. Eventually when the skin peeled back, the winged seeds drifted off on the dust storms, carried to the far corners of the planet. When the Earthlings returned, they would land amongst a forest of flowers – a green Mars – and breathe the fresh clean air. Reaping the harvest that their science sowed.