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Mars for Real

You may have caught the NatGeo series Mars, a half fictional sci-fi yarn, half current documentary, unlike most anything we've seen before. Each episode advanced the futurific tale of the first crew flying to the red planet in 2033, determined to make a go of establishing its first permanent scientific colony.

But what was so jarring at first, was the story getting regularly intercut with present-day interviews with the who's who of space travel development and opinion. One minute, we're nervously tracking a final entry orbit round the red plan, the next Neil Degrasse Tyson is waxing rhapsodic about the rhythm of the universe, the cutting to Elan Musk for commentary on his latest rocket enterprise developments.

It was pretty jarring at first, until, like anything good, you begin to catch the sense and flow of the concept and the way the story followed the current developments and plans for the coming decades.

It's a 7-month journey one way and we're not gonna be traveling on gigantic spaceliners for a good couple, three hundred years, I'm thinkin'. That's going to take a special kind of person, just endure the trip, let alone the oxygen-free surface on a ball that will be none too welcoming.

You up for it? There's a cool society called MarsOne, devoted to making it there with a continuing stream of people and if you visit their site, you can take a gander at their "open enrollment" process, complete with questionnaires and timetables.

Recently, they sent someone out on the street to ask passersby if they'd like to go, then gave them a Sharpie to write their answer for the camera. My favorite:

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