Reality TV and Life on Mars

The Mars-One project popped up on my radar right about the time I discovered an excellent science fiction suspense novel, Oxygen, co-written by Randy Ingermanson and John Olson.

Oxygen, published in 2001, has four astronauts on their way to Mars when a catastrophic accident leaves just enough oxygen for only one to make it.

From what I can glean online, America’s post-9/11 defence budget increases effectively killed off any plans NASA might have had to put humans on Mars in my lifetime. It probably also put paid to the authors’ dreams of a best-seller, although they did follow through and publish a sequel called ‘The Fifth Man’ in 2002.

Fast forward ten years and this Mars-One promo video’s either ‘Mars Attacks’ gone cold-turkey, or the next great leap for humankind.

Absolutely fascinating. Take a look.

The killer hook for me is not the Reality TV angle, though that’ll be a big draw for many ’viewers’.


Astronauts will go there and stay. Er, that is, they CANNOT come back to Earth without a fuelled-up rocket.

Assuming that this (private) company attracts enough funding from worldwide media interests to get the project off the ground (pun intended), a bi-yearly mission would see four new human immigrants arrive on Martian soil.

So, in theory, even if twenty four people land on Mars every decade, much-o time will pass before settlers can be self-sufficient enough to begin producing their own ‘big stuff’.

For many science fiction writers, I think this project’s a dream come true (OK, replace ‘is’ with ‘ might be’) because public interest in manned missions is likely to be much higher than it has been with unmanned projects such as the Mars Curiosity rover.