There is a second reality series project devoted to chronicling a mission to the Red Planet. Leslie Greif’s Thinkfactory Media (Hatfields & McCoys, Gene Simmons: Family Jewels) has partnered with The Mars Society, a non-profit organization dedicated to the exploration and settlement of the Red Planet, on an unscripted TV project that would document Mars Society’s year-long Mars simulation in the Canadian Arctic. Thinkfactory had been working with the Mars Society on the project for the past four months. It took the series out to networks last week, with two outlets interested and currently in discussion with the production company. Tentatively titled Mission to Mars, the series is one of two Mars colonization reality projects in the marketplace, along with Lionsgate TV’s untitled series done in collaboration with Lansdorp’s Mars One, the international Mars mission backed by Dutch billionaire entrepreneur Bas Lansdorp.
According to Thinkfactory EVP Adam Reed, their project is further along, with a six-person habitat already built on Canada’s Devon Island in the Arctic, and it has NASA’s cooperation. After a lengthy location search, with its harsh climate the deserted island, which features a 14-mile crater, was deemed the closest environment to Mars that can be found on Earth. About 200 scientists around the world applied to be part of the yearlong experiment, with 60 of them moving to the next round of the selection process. The final six will move into the two-story, 1,000-square-foot complex, which includes sleeping quarters, a bathroom, a science lab for conducting experiments, engineering space as well as simulated air locks. “It has everything six scientists would need for a year,” Reed said. The six, who will be wearing space suits when venturing outside, will be followed by TV cameras in the vein of Big Brother but the only communication with the outside world they will have during their stay will be with mission control, which will be based out of the NASA AMES center from where the Mars exploration Rover mission is run. Chris McKay, who is working on the Mars Rover Mission, also is helping the Mars Society with their project.
Ideally, Reed, who calls Mission To Mars a true social experiment, envisions the series filming the yearlong experience for a 12-episode docu series, with each episode chronicling a month in the Mars-like habitat. Thinkfactory is interested in continuing its collaboration with the Mars Society on the next phase of organization’s plans for establishing a settlement on Mars though that appears further down the line.