The real world: Mars


Mars One intends to send a reality television cast to Mars – complete with appropriate product placement

It’s 2025. Interplanetary entertainment company, MarsOne, in partnership with numerous other corporate giants, has succeeded in implanting you and twelve other lucky AstroNots upon the surface of Mars to begin filming reality television. Today you make landfall after weeks of nuclear-propelled space-travel wherein you have been, most of the time, confined to your bunk, asleep by fine-print contractual obligations. It is the biggest day for all of humanity, harks the media, since sliced bread and NASCAR. The cameras – being autonomous and fully robotic – are already constantly filming, and the reality show that is your life is continually beaming back to everyone on earth. There are screens everywhere featuring a peculiarly high number of ads for certain candy.

A split second later, an alarm is sounding off. The signs and lights, omnipresent all around the interior, are flashing bright red, lighting up to inform you that now is a particularly exciting moment for the TV audience and you, as the contractual obligations suggest, should do what you can to extract from the situation the maximum possible entertainment.

So, you do as they advised in the demonstrative training. You just stand up from your bunk, drop your shorts and then, lifting both arms up high, spin a gentle pirouette. The voice comes over the wire in your ear: “That’s it! Great, really, I’m loving it!” The twelve other shortless AstroNots all look around at each other, smiling in self-satisfaction, and – as advised, to ensure verisimilitude – you simply thumb your ass while diligently awaiting further instruction.

The voice coming over the wire reminds you all now that you’re probably quite hungry, having been asleep for several weeks on an entertaining voyage through space, and suggests that everyone make their way to the mess hall, for the first feast upon Mars – over at the far end of the ship – after donning your shiny black leotards with the backs printed in familiar designs of red and gold – some mythical logos.

Oddly enough it seems now as though the transport ship has converted itself, upon landing, into a moderately comfortable, even spacious, living area. Robotic cameras, shooting through you from every angle, click along behind on wheels and then one of them rolls quickly ahead to punch in the code that opens the security door to the mess hall, while another camera-bot focuses sharply on the apt mechanical arm of the first, zooming in to display a small sticker-flag of Canada.

The mess hall is remarkably wide and well-lit, fluorescent so almost as if imaginary – like heaven – and sits equipped with some tables that look reminiscent of first-generation Star-Trek. You all relish, on cue, standing in the doorway a moment to take in the authenticity; some cameras wheel off, squeaking into the distance for a sequence of long-shots, while others remain close on your face. Smiling, everyone feels lighter, says the wire, as if you’re infused with anti-gravity by the room’s nice ambiance.

A small robot waiter, then, wearing a tuxedo and carrying a large and ornate silver platter, comes tracking through the hole in the wall, speaking pre-programmed pleasantries, as you all move in to sit down. One of the cameras takes a wide angle and everyone appears quite excited as the waiter-bot delivers to your table a feast of chocolate bars and candies, along with a set of the special white napkins. You begin to eat by removing the wrapper ends of your chocolate bar carefully, as repeatedly advised, using the long-fingered claw-grip so as to not obstruct view of the branding, where the camera zooms in and centres right before cutting to a commercial break.

As bizarre as this all sounds, Mars One is real, and really intends to send the first reality show to Mars in 2023. You can only hope you’ll be selected to be aboard.

Dustin Christianson

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