Created By: zarpaulus on April 19, 2014 Last Edited By: zarpaulus on July 8, 2014
Troped

Mars Needs Water

Aliens invade Earth for its water

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One of the more common flavors of Planet Looters, in this case aliens are after one specific resource that Earth certainly has in abundance, water.

Involves some Fridge Logic as there is water in a variety of other more easily accessible locations in space. All comets and a variety of asteroids and moons have water in great abundance and are much easier to land a spacecraft on than Earth, as well as lacking those pesky hairless apes. Hence it rarely appears outside of Hollywood.


Examples

Anime and Manga
  • The Back Story of the anime Green Legend Ran tells how aliens approached Earth, and while in the process of essentially taking over through religious means, sucked away most of Earth's natural resources, including lots of oxygen and about 99% of the water.

Film
  • In Battle: Los Angeles the alien invaders seem to be sucking up the oceans.
  • Seemingly inverted in Oblivion2013 where humanity is trying to drain the Earth's water as fuel for fusion in preparation for a Homeworld Evacuation. Until it turns out that the protagonist is a cloned slave unwittingly helping an alien machine drain the oceans and kill what's left of humanity.
  • In the film adaptation of Ender's Game Graff suggests that the Formics wanted to invade Earth for water, which their desert-like homeworld doesn't appear to have much of. Though they do attack a fleet of Formic ships harvesting ice from a gas cloud at one point. Note that this was not even discussed in the book, the theory there was that they were trying to colonize.
  • David Bowie's character in The Man Who Fell to Earth is an alien who's come to Earth for water. In the brief scene we see of him at home with his family, they're all wearing skintight suits to keep their sweat in.
  • While this isn't confirmed in-story during War of the Worlds (2005), director Steven Spielberg told Newsweek magazine in an interview that the aliens might be attacking for water.
  • The Ice Pirates: While it's not an invasion that's the key to the movie, water is indeed the most valuable substance in the universe to the point of being the movie's MacGuffin.

Literature
  • In Olaf Stapleton's Last and First Men the Martians invade Earth during the reign of the Second Men in order to steal water, along with plant life and diamonds. Then again it was written back when people thought Venus was covered with oceans of water (apparently too far from Mars) instead of lava.
  • Downplayed in Animorphs. In the third book the kids see the Yeerks regularly send down supply ships to retrieve water and oxygen for their ships in orbit, but it's not the main reason for their invasion.
  • In the Isaac Asimov novella The Martian Way human settlers on Mars use water from Earth to power the nuclear reactors in their spaceships. To stir up anti-Martian sentiment an Earth politician says that Mars is using too much of Earth's water so they're being cut off. In response the Martians go to Saturn and haul home one of the ice chunk asteroids which make up Saturn's rings, providing them with enough water to last 2000 years. The Martians snarkily offer to sell Earth some to "make up for" the minuscule amount of Earth water they've used over the years.

Live-Action TV
  • In V the Visitors are after Earth's water, and the fact that humans are delicious too doesn't hurt.
  • In Star Trek: Voyager the Kazon will kill, steal, or trade hostages for water. Note that they're also the only species so far that the Borg have refused to assimilate because it would weaken the Collective.
  • One spotlight challenge on Face/Off required the creation of aliens whose home planets are in great jeopardy. Naturally, one of the planets is running out of water.

Newspaper Comics
  • A Calvin and Hobbes strip parodies this with a poem Calvin wrote about a flying saucer stealing the Earth's water and air.

Video Games
  • Downplayed in Half-Life 2. When close to some docks, if the player looks really close, they can notice that the dock isn't anywhere close to the shore, implying that there's less water in the ocean than before. Word of God also states that The Combine have placed a giant portal at the bottom of Earth's oceans, which is sending the water to other Combine-conquered worlds.

Western Animation
  • In an episode of Doctor Snuggles called "The Remarkable Fidgety River", a race of aliens are stealing cubes of water from the ocean and taking them to their home planet. It turns out to be subversion, however, as the aliens meant no harm - they thought the water was rubbish because it had so much garbage in it. When Snuggles explains that the plants and animals on Earth need the water, the aliens promptly agree to give it back.
  • The second season episode "When Strikes Mutilor" from Hanna-Barbera's SWAT Kats has a huge alien craft sucking huge columns of ocean water within sight of Megakat City. The aliens that normally man this craft are Technical Pacifists and are being held prisoner by the Space Pirate Mutilor, who has no qualms about disrupting Megakat City's ecosystem.
  • An episode of Team Galaxy called "H2-Oh No!" featured an aquatic race stealing water from various planets due to the fact that the planet is in a system that has six suns, which constantly evaporate the planet's water supply.
Community Feedback Replies: 61
  • April 19, 2014
    DAN004
    "there is water in a variety of other more easily accessible locations in space."

    I guess I'm enough idiot to have to ask "where".
  • April 19, 2014
    StrixObscuro
    Western Animation
  • April 20, 2014
    needsanewhobby
    ^^ It does exist in space, but there is nowhere in space that I am aware of where it exists as concentrated as it is on Earth.
  • April 20, 2014
    Arivne
    • Formatted the Examples section.
      • Added a line separating the Description and Examples sections.
      • Added the word "Examples".
  • April 20, 2014
    SharleeD
    This might work better if it's broadened to include aliens who need water or consider it precious, but aren't necessarily willing and/or capable of invading Earth to get it. That would allow for inclusion of races like the Martians from Stranger In A Strange Land, or that space-nomad race from the first season of Star Trek: Voyager.
  • April 20, 2014
    Snicka
    ^^^ Comets, for example, are essentially giant snowballs orbiting in space.
  • April 20, 2014
    Daefaroth
    ^^^^ It exists here. http://www.fastcompany.com/1769468/scientists-discover-oldest-largest-body-water-existence-space

    Note: I have no idea if that is real or not. I didn't actually read it, I just googled it. Note2: agreed with here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/APM_08279+5255
  • April 20, 2014
    m8e
    ^^^^^ That really depend on what one mean with concentrated. By mass Earth is something like 0.02% water. C-type asteroid which are something like 75% of all asteroids in our solar system can be 10-22% water.

    Jupiters moon Europa is mostly water and may contain twice as much water as Earth.

    Most starsystems with aliens would probably have C type asteroid outside the 'frost line'. Getting to that is much easier to get to than interstellar sources.
  • April 20, 2014
    Tuckerscreator
    The Ender's Game example might want to point out that the Formics didn't attack humans for water, but because they thought it was a game of dominance. In-universe it's just a theory.

    • David Bowie's character in The Man Who Fell To Earth is an alien who's come to Earth for water. In the brief scene we see of him at home with his family, they're all wearing skintight suits to keep their sweat in.
    • While this isn't confirmed in-story during War Of The Worlds (2005), director Steven Spielberg told Newsweek magazine in an interview that the aliens might be attacking for water.
  • April 20, 2014
    LobsterMagnusNovus
    • Subverted in Signs, wherein it turns out that water is like a very harmful acid to the alien invaders.
  • April 20, 2014
    abateman
    Oblivion - In the Tom Cruise film, it turns out that the main characters are actually aiding aliens in stealing earth's water and other resources, rather than saving it as they thought.
  • April 21, 2014
    KingZeal
    • Downplayed in Half Life 2: When close to some docks, if the player looks really close, they can notice that the dock isn't anywhere close to the shore, implying that there's less water in the ocean than before. Word Of God also states that The Combine have placed a giant portal at the bottom of Earth's oceans, which is sending the water to other Combine-conquered worlds.
  • April 21, 2014
    partner555
    I think the name might confuse people and make this trope prone to misuse. I for one wasn't aware this was about aliens invading Earth for it's water without seeing the laconic.
  • April 21, 2014
    DAN004
    ^ hate to say this, but you're right.
  • April 21, 2014
    zarpaulus
    My initial thought was something like "Aliens Invade for Water", but I thought this would be more concise and witty.
  • April 21, 2014
    partner555
    The Clear Concise Witty page specifically state that clarity is the most important part to consider when deciding on a trope name. The other two parts are secondary.
  • April 22, 2014
    DAN004
  • April 22, 2014
    StarSword
    TV:
  • April 25, 2014
    MonaNaito
    Just realized you could call this Mars Needs Water, if that's not too punny.
  • April 25, 2014
    Paradisesnake
    ^ No title is ever too punny :D

    I like that though. Seconding Mars Needs Water.
  • April 25, 2014
    zarpaulus
    ^ Why? There's no Martian examples yet.
  • April 25, 2014
    Diask
    ^It's a pun on Mars Needs Women.
  • April 27, 2014
    Tuckerscreator
    • Downplayed in Animorphs. In the third book the kids see the Yeerks regularly send down supply ships to retrieve water and oxygen for their ships in orbit, but it's not the main reason for their invasion.
  • April 28, 2014
    zarpaulus
    Hats?
  • April 28, 2014
    partner555
    ^ Maybe after it gets more examples. Right now, there's only 10.
  • April 30, 2014
    boone
    Water ice can be found in comets (concentrated in the Oort Cloud), carbonaceous asteroids, icy moons like Europa and Enceladus, Mars, and possibly the Moon. These are all places that are easier to land on than Earth, with no pesky ape-creatures to cause trouble. It's a Did Not Do The Research for space science.

  • May 12, 2014
    marcoasalazarm
    Sometimes it is Did Not Do The Research, but sometimes it may be something in the water (or the fact that it's just there for the taking and the aliens somehow are too damn lazy to mine) that makes the monsters attack.
  • May 12, 2014
    Quatic
    Though an Earth invasion is not in play, in The Ice Pirates the main booty of the galaxy (and the Mc Guffin) is water, to the point that a vile curse is to wish somebody "thirst."
  • May 14, 2014
    ElectricNova
    Mars Needs Water is perfect. Thirding.
  • May 14, 2014
    DAN004
    ^ not sure why the "Mars".
  • May 14, 2014
    Paradisesnake
    ^ Because Mars is the planet where the invaders stereotypically come.
  • May 14, 2014
    zarpaulus
    ^ And come to think of it, water may have been one of the resources the Martians invaded for in Last And First Men.
  • May 14, 2014
    DAN004
    ^^ maybe in the seventies or eighties. Nowadays invaders come from even faraway planets or galaxies...
  • May 14, 2014
    DRCEQ
    • The backstory of the anime Green Legend Ran tells how aliens approached Earth, and while in the process of essentially taking over through religious means, sucked away most of Earth's natural resources, including lots of Oxygen and about 99% of the water.
  • May 14, 2014
    zarpaulus
    ^^ Or thirties in the example I noted.

    Then again wasn't there some kind of resolution concerning trope titles like that?
  • May 17, 2014
    abateman
    It's not actually a good idea, but the title idea that came to me was Take Me To Your Liter. I'll find a way to use that somewhere else.
  • May 17, 2014
    DAN004
  • May 17, 2014
    zarpaulus
    ^ Make up your minds.
  • May 17, 2014
    abateman
    Just to clarify, I am good with the current title. I just thought I would share the funny, bad idea I had.
  • May 18, 2014
    DAN004
    ^^ I'm not so sure everyone would get "Mars Needs Water". Just wanna make it clearer.
  • June 29, 2014
    Snicka
    Mars Needs Water is a fine name.

    In the description, "hence it rarely happens outside Hollywood", implies that in Real Life, aliens prefer stealing water from comets and asteroids?
  • June 29, 2014
    Paradisesnake
    ^ You think all fictional works come from Hollywood?
  • June 29, 2014
    Snicka
    ^ No, of course not. It's just the Hollywood X tropes that gave me that impression.
  • June 29, 2014
    randomsurfer
    In the Isaac Asimov novella The Martian Way human settlers on Mars use water from Earth to power the nuclear reactors in their spaceships. To stir up anti-Martian sentiment an Earth politician says that Mars is using too much of Earth's water so they're being cut off. In response the Martians go to Saturn and haul home one of the ice chunk asteroids which make up Saturn's rings, providing them with enough water to last 2000 years. The Martians snarkily offer to sell Earth some to "make up for" the minuscule amount of Earth water they've used over the years.
  • June 29, 2014
    Aokage
    Western Animation:

    In an episode of Doctor Snuggles called "The Remarkable Fidgety River", a race of aliens are stealing cubes of water from the ocean and taking them to their home planet. It turns out to be subversion, however, as the aliens meant no harm - they thought the water was rubbish because it had so much garbage in it. When Snuggles explains that the plants and animals on Earth need the water, the aliens promptly agree to give it back.
  • June 29, 2014
    oneuglybunny
    Western Animation
    • The second season episode "When Strikes Mutilor" from Hanna Barbera's SWAT Kats has a huge alien craft sucking huge columns of ocean water within sight of Megakat City. The aliens that normally man this craft are Technical Pacifists and are being held prisoner by the Space Pirate Mutilor, who has no qualms about disrupting Megakat City's ecosystem.
  • June 29, 2014
    SharleeD
    • One spotlight challenge on Face Off required the creation of aliens whose home planets are in great jeopardy. Naturally, one of the planets is running out of water.
  • June 30, 2014
    Arivne
  • June 30, 2014
    SharleeD
    The laconic is misleading, as this trope isn't limited to aliens that invade the Earth.
  • June 30, 2014
    zarpaulus
    ^ And so far there's one example that isn't Earth.
  • June 30, 2014
    JDogindy
    • An episode of Team Galaxy called "H2-Oh No!" featured an aquatic race stealing water from various planets due to the fact that the planet is in a system that has six suns, which constantly evaporate the planet's water supply.
  • June 30, 2014
    zarpaulus
    ^ Must be really humid there
  • June 30, 2014
    DAN004
  • June 30, 2014
    zarpaulus
    ^ Echo
  • July 1, 2014
    SharleeD
    ^^^^^ The Face Off aliens didn't invade for water, they asked for it by sending a distress signal. The Voyager and Team Galaxy aliens steal water from multiple planets/species.
  • July 7, 2014
    zarpaulus
    Launch?
  • July 7, 2014
    DAN004
    ^ dunno. Is it okay to have a snowclone title?
  • July 7, 2014
    Snicka
    ^ Snowclone titles aren't necessarily bad. I think this one is fine, it meets the Clear Concise Witty parameters.
  • July 7, 2014
    TomWalpertac2
    Mars Needs Water... Combined with the laconic, it works for me.
    • The Ice Pirates: While it's not an invasion that's the key to the movie, water is indeed the most valuable substance in the universe to the point of being the movie's Mac Guffin.
  • July 8, 2014
    Arivne
    The Everythings Worse With Snowclones page says:

    "If your trope title completely relies on the idea that "surely, everyone read that other page- I just have to make a pun with it", you should scrap it in favor of something clearer. Always assume that yours will be the first page on the Wiki that someone reads."

    You don't need to know about the Mars Needs Women page to understand what Mars Needs Water is about, because Mars Needs Water is a very clear title. The relationship between the titles is just a witty bonus.
  • July 8, 2014
    DAN004
    ^ a'ighty.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=iq1spfx02ug9sdk1ck4847sr&trope=MarsNeedsWater