Mars Colonization Will Be Televised

Mars One selected documentary film studio Darlow Smithson Productions to broadcast the Mars settler selection process. DSW is a subsidiary of Endelmol, the company that produces reality TV show Big Brother. Unlike the heavily scripted "reality" shows of its parent, DSW focuses on more factual documentaries and historical dramas. 

(Credit: Mars One)

(Credit: Mars One)

Turning Interviews into Entertainment

Mars One will put its candidates through a series of extreme experiences to test their abilities to withstand the physical, mental, and social stresses of the one-way mission to Mars. DSP’s Iain Riddick said in the press release: 

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 globe. 

Mars One's Lars Bansdorf claims in the release that the partnership will keep storytelling decisions separate from the selection process itself. DSW's record should address some of the skepticism raised by Mars One's plans to use entertainment to fund its project. DSW's stable of documentaries include:

  • Neil Armstrong: First Man on the Moon
  • Stephen Hawking’s Universe
  • Stephen Hawking’s Grand Design
  • Impact Earth/Comet Impact
  • Space Tourism
  • The Space Shuttle’s Last Flight
  • Earth from Space
  • Richard Hammond’s Engineering Connections
  • How to Build a Bionic Man
  • Ancient Megastructures
  • Nazi Megastructures
  • Ecopolis
  • Engineering Ancient Egypt
  • Brick-by-Brick: Rebuilding Our Past

If DSW holds to its track record, the documentaries and series it produces will hold to a higher standard than your typical reality TV fare.

Of course that's a low bar to clear.

The first episodes will broadcast in 2015. Earlier statements by Mars One said that the worldwide audience will choose who goes to Mars.

Media reaction

Only a few of the resulting media reports went beyond the press release. Deadline placed the story in a Hollywood behind-the-scenes context. Reality TV production is turning towards social experiments and space travel - especially since the revival of Cosmos. The Independent placed the story in context of British candidates.