The next big reality-TV star may be an aspiring Mars colonist.
The Dutch-based nonprofit Mars One, which aims to land four settlers on the Red Planet in 2025, announced Monday that it has signed a deal with Darlow Smithson Productions, an Endemol-owned company, to film its astronaut selection and training process.
DSP's production will be seen around the world, with the first installments likely appearing in early 2015, Mars One representatives said. [Images of Mars One's Red Planet Colony Project]
Mars One hopes the 2025 landing establishes a permanent and growing Red Planet colony, with more settlers arriving every two years thereafter. The organization plans to pay its bills primarily by staging a global media event around the settlement effort, from astronaut selection to the colonists' time on Mars.
There will be some spaceflight action before the first launch of humans toward Mars. Mars One plans to mount several unmanned missions in the next 10 years to demonstrate required technologies and prepare the ground for the arrival of people. A robotic lander and orbiter are scheduled to lift off in 2018, for example, followed by a scouting rover in 2020 and six cargo missions in 2022.
A panel of experts is currently evaluating a pool of 705 Mars One candidates. The applicants signed on to live out the rest of their lives on Mars; at the moment, there are no plans to bring any of the Red Planet pioneers back to Earth.
DSP has produced many documentaries and TV programs, including "Earth from Space" for NOVA and Discovery Canada, and "Neil Armstrong: First Man on the Moon" for BBC Two.