Beginning life on Mars


In our last update (May 2013), the Mars One astronaut application process was
underway. Now some 705 candidates chosen from over 200 000 applicants will be
tested to the extreme as part of an elite training program run by a panel comprised
of pre-eminent scientists, adventurers and astronauts, in one of the most
extraordinary and challenging job interviews ever seen. The winners will be the first
to make the 482 803 200 km journey to establish permanent human life on the red
planet on 14 September 2022.

Human settlement on Mars is possible today with existing technologies and Mars
One’s mission plan integrates components that are well tested and readily available
from industry leaders worldwide. The drawback is that no return trip can be made
as yet; we haven’t developed the means to do so. Instead Mars One will send
additional crews every two years to further build the pioneering colony and those
who go there will ultimately end their lives there. From the outset the Mars One
plan has always been to build the programme around a reality style television
production and the cost of achieving this is estimated to be in the region of US$6

But how can a reality show expect to raise six billion dollars? The short answer is
by attempting to create the biggest media event ever. Bas Lansdorp, co-founder
and CEO of Mars One says: “To attract sponsors we will create appealing media
content around the selection of the astronauts, the training, unmanned missions and
other topics. This should convince sponsors and investors to participate with the
promise of an even bigger exposure later: we expect that almost every person on
Earth will witness the landing of the first astronauts on Mars. Their departure from
Earth, the journey to Mars and the first months on Mars will also attract a very
large audience. After that, many people will tune in a couple of times a week to see
how “our people on Mars’ are doing – a reality show that never ends.’

Endemol-owned Darlow Smithson Productions (DSP) has been appointed the
exclusive worldwide production partner for the Mars One programme, starting with
the astronaut selection and training selection, which will see people from all walks
of life undergo one of the most extraordinary and challenging assessment processes
ever seen. DSP will document the aspiring pioneers’ astonishing journeys every step
of the way in the lead up to the mission, which will see the winners become the
first to make the one way trip to establish permanent human life on the red planet.

With the astronaut selection process well underway, the first instalments of DSP’s
landmark production are expected to begin broadcasting around the world in early

“Bringing the story of our incredibly brave aspiring Martians to the world now
officially begins with what we feel is a perfect partnership. Our team felt all along
that we needed a partner whose strength lies in factual storytelling to an
international audience. DSP will provide that to Mars One, while allowing our
selection committee to maintain control of the astronaut selection process. This
really is a perfect fit for both of us!’ comments Lansdorp.

Iain Riddick, DSP’s head of Special Projects and Digital Media, comments: “It is a
great privilege for DSP to be chosen to exclusively follow the incredible journeys of
those who will make humankind’s first footprint on Mars. This has to be the world’s
toughest job interview for what is without question a world-first opportunity and the
human stories that emerge will captivate and inspire generations across the

DSP has a long established reputation for producing world class television
programmes and theatrical documentaries for UK, US and international
broadcasters. The company has achieved global industry recognition for its ground
breaking output and has received more than 40 industry awards, including
accolades from BAFTA, The Peabody Awards, The Royal Television Society and the
US Academy of Television, Arts and Sciences.

Mars One has now extended a formal invitation to universities, research bodies and
companies to contribute to the first payload of the 2018 unmanned Mars Lander.

They are looking for the ideal technology that can cope with the harsh Martian
climate including a multi camera and switching system which, in combination with a
Mars-synchronous communications satellite, will enable Mars One to send a live
video feed from Mars to Earth Big Brother style and allow Earthlings to take a “real
time’ look on life…and ultimately, death on Mars.


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