When Mars One announced its intent in 2012 to find a team of astronauts to become the first people to land on and colonize Mars, part of the plan was to turn the selection and training of the lucky few into a worldwide reality program. Two years later, we still don't know if the team will meet its 2024 crew launch date, but the mission has taken a step closer to getting on TV. Mars One has signed with Darlow Smithson Productions, owned by the Dutch TV giant Endemol.
Mars One, which is also a Dutch organization, has teamed with the company to begin filming and broadcasting the training and final selection of the 705 future Martian hopefuls, shortlisted from the 200,000 who applied after the mission was first announced.
In a statement, Mars One's cofounder and chief executive, Bas Lansdorp, said, "Bringing the story of our incredibly brave aspiring Martians to the world now officially begins with what we feel is a perfect partnership." Lansdorp said that DSP would film the training, but allow Mars One's team to be in control of astronaut selection. In other words, don't go looking for a Snooki or Spencer Pratt types on this mission. We hope.
One mark in DSP's favor is its track record of programs, which has a lot of PBS and Smithsonian and National Geographic channel shows.
The partners now say that they expect to begin broadcasting the training in early 2015, but no network or cable deals have been announced.
Mars One has said it will establish the first human colony on Mars in 2025 with a team selected from its current crop of hopefuls. Mars One describes the training that will be shown on TV as "one of the most extraordinary and challenging assessment processes ever seen."
With the beginning of training and the beginnings of a TV deal in place, the next major landmark for this mission is the launch of a communications satellite to the Red Planet in 2018.
Meanwhile, NASA's Curiosity and Opportunity rovers are continuing to explore the surface of the planet, looking for the potential that life may have once existed there.
If all goes according to Mars One's plan, it could exist there again.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times