Reality TV in Space: How Much Drama Could Mars Handle?

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NASA’s successful landing of the U.S. Mars Rover, Curiosity, has reignited the dream to put men on the distant red planet, and consequently refueled the space race between global superpowers. President Obama has already announced that the U.S. plans to have men on Mars by 2030, but a Dutch start-up has said it plans to beat NASA’s goal by seven years by landing four astronauts on the planet by 2023—and film the whole experience for a new reality show.

Wait, what?

That’s right, the land that introduced the world to reality shows now wants to do one better by introducing the world to reality shows…in space.

The start-up, called “Mars One,” assures that their lofty goal isn’t a publicity stunt; it plans on seeking out volunteers as early as next year and has already been supported by the winner of the 1999 Nobel Prize for physics, the Dutchman Gerard t’Hooft.

Quick planning and the backing of a Nobel laureate are a start, but “Mars One” is going up against a notoriously destructive planet. Since 1960, Only around 40 percent of all space agencies’ missions to Mars—whether they were orbiters, landers or flybys—have been successful, with the U.S. in the lead.

Mix Mars’ harrowing history of destroying spacecrafts with the fact that scientists are skeptical if humans could even survive the radiation exposure during the space voyage to the planet, a carbon dioxide filled atmosphere, and an atmosphere that stays at the breezy temperature of -67 degrees Fahrenheit, and you get a cocktail so dangerously foul that many would-be volunteers become squeamish at the mere thought of it.

To top it off, the trip is one-way.

No space agency has yet to conceive a way to retrieve spacecrafts from Mars, and “Mars One” is no exception. Even if it is able to send astronauts to Mars by 2023, those volunteers will be expected to live out their final years being filmed on the desolate red planet.

I just don’t see the logic behind that. Sending astronauts on a one-way trip is bad enough, but filming the entire team is just obscene. Not to mention that the proposed the reality show doesn’t even sound that interesting. Sure, the fact that they’re in space is cool, but after the initial allure wears off, the proposed reality show sounds rather threadbare. The astronauts would spend most of their days conducting scientific experiments and maintaining the facility that keeps them alive: a concept so un-riveting that even tension building background music couldn’t make it interesting.

You want reality TV in space? Send the Jersey Shore crew to the moon, create a new series called I love Hip-Hop: Space Station, those I would watch. Filming courageous astronauts doing science? That makes for a legendary documentary, not a drama-filled reality show.


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