The ambitious multi-billion dollar plan by Dutch entrepreneur Bas Lansdorp to send humans to Mars received a big step forward this week after Lionsgate TV agreed to partner on a reality series tied to the mission.
The as-yet untitled show will focus on the non-profit Mars One, which over the last year has received through over 300,000 applications from people around the world willing to take a one-way trip into space. By 2015, after many rigorous simulations and exams, the org hopes to narrow that pool to only 28 to 40 candidates. Lionsgate TV, which will launch its own casting call (to be eventually merged with the Mars One candidates), will document the roughly eight-year training experience.
“This is a social experiment that focuses on the people that would sign for something like this — they have to agree to participate and be willing to go on a one-way mission, knowing that if you go, you can never come back,” producer Roy Bank told Deadline.
In Mars One, “the commitment is so much greater and much longer than TV season(s) would last; even before they would ever be put on a rocket, they need to be willing go for a longer period of time if not forever," he added. "Nobody knows if they will pull it off.”
With a tentative 2023 launch date to Mars, and an estimated $6 billion price tag, it's easy to easy why there's a very healthy dose of skepticism in the space industry that Lansdorp will be able to succeed. That said, using reality television to document, and also benefit the project in the form of corporate sponsorships, could also turn out to be an untapped boon.
"We will finance this mission by creating the biggest media event ever around it," Bas Landorp said in a 2012 launch video. "Everybody in the world can see everything that will happen in the preparations and on Mars."
According to Deadline, Lionsgate TV was apparently one of many U.S. production companies to take interest and make offers on the Mars One project. The studio was said to be drawn to "the boldness of the idea" and the "flexibility" of the format across several media channels.