Life on Mars?

Jackie Renzetti

From “Survivor” to “Sixteen and Pregnant,” the reality TV industry has managed to fascinate millions of viewers worldwide. Take your pick, the driving force behind the success of any reality show is human curiosity.

But what happens when a show is based on a reality that has yet to be?  

“Mars One,” a reality TV show documenting the selection process of winning a one-way trip to Mars, is set to air in the next couple of years, though an official air date has yet to be determined. 

For better or for worse, this is not a practical joke. The official website can be found here.


From Giphy

According to the “Mars One” extensive business plan, the show will play a key role in funding for the bold endeavor of sending people, in groups of four every two years, starting in 2024, to permanently reside on Mars.

As of last January, 1,058 candidates out of the roughly 200,000 applicants remain in the selection process, which is outlined here.

Besides possible filmed interviews from Round 2, the starting point of the series will be Round 3, in which applicants will “participate in challenges that demonstrate their suitability to become one of the first humans on Mars.”

It’s hard to find details on exactly what these challenges will consist of, but “Mars One” has clarified that they are looking for people with certain traits: resilience, adaptability, curiosity, creativity, resourcefulness and the ability to trust others.

The “Mars One” FAQ section is quite elaborate, and includes the answer to my initial response — why should we to go to Mars? “Mars One” gives three reasons: to fulfill the “amazing dream” of living on Mars, to satisfy curiosity and to continue humankind’s progress in exploration, which in this case may yield information applicable to recycling and solar energy, among other things.

However, the “Mars One” mission runs the risk of overly romanticizing its purpose, frequently referencing the feeling of watching Neil Armstrong land on the moon.

Sending humans to live on Mars for a definitive, temporary amount of time could yield solutions to Earth’s current environmental issues, such as the aforementioned. Still, I can’t get past the fact that the minds behind “Mars One” admit that they are still unclear on whether or not humans can successfully conceive and give birth on Mars — “an important point of research,” considering that “in order to establish a true settlement … having children is vital.”

All things considered, the undeniable curiosity that accompanies the concept of permanently sending people to Mars makes it fitting for a reality TV show.