A morning later, Nancy described her first dream, the first remembered dream of her life. She and Judy Thorne were on a screened porch, catching ladybugs. Judy caught one with one spot on its back and showed it to Nancy. Nancy caught one with two spots and showed it to Judy. Then Judy caught one with three spots and Nancy one with four. Because (the child explained) the dots showed how old the ladybugs were. She told this dream to her mother, who had her repeat it to her father at breakfast. Piet was moved, beholding his daughter launched intoanother dimension of life. Like school. He was touched by her tiny stock of imagery the screened porch (neither they nor the Thornes had one; who?), the ladybugs (with turtles the most toylike of creatures), the mysterious power of numbers, that generates space and time. Piet saw down a long amplifying corridor of her dreams, and wanted to hear her tell them, to grow older with her, to shelter her forever.” John Updike, Couples, 1968.
Mars has long exerted a pull on the human imagination. The erratically moving red star in the sky was seen as sinister or violent by the ancients: The Greeks identified it with Ares, the god of war; the Babylonians named it after Nergal, god of the underworld. To the ancient Chinese, it was Ying-huo, the fire planet.