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Endemol to launch Mars mission

Endemol-owned Darlow Smithson Productions has partnered with an international space programme, which is attempting to establish a permanent human colony on Mars.

DSP is working with Mars One, which selects and trains astronauts, on the project. The producer will create a “worldwide TV event” featuring candidates as they prepare for the mission.

Programming around space travel to Mars has become a major focus for producers. For example, Tuvalu, Simpel Media and Sony Pictures Television are working Space Expedition Corporation on Milky Way Mission, and Mark Burnett and NBC working with Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic on Space Race.

Endemol and Mars One claim human settlement on Mars is possible through existing technologies, and that components for such a mission are “readily available”. However, they say no return trip can be made.

The project will see 705 candidates, shortlisted from more than 200,000 applicants who have applied to be future inhabitants of Mars, tested through an extreme training programme run by scientists, adventurers and astronauts.

DSP will document their journey to qualify for the mission, which, if successful, will see the winners become the first humans to make the 300 million mile journey to Mars.

“Bringing the story of our incredibly brave aspiring Martians to the world now officially begins with what we feel is a perfect partnership,” said Mars One co-founder and CEO Bas Lansdorp of the DSP partnership.

“Our team felt all along that we needed a partner whose strength lies in factual storytelling to an international audience. DSP will provide that to Mars One, while allowing our selection committee to maintain control of the applicant selection process.”

“It is a great privilege for DSP to be chosen to exclusively follow the incredible journeys of those who will make humankind’s first footprint on Mars,” said Iain Riddick, DSP’s head of special projects and digital media. “This has to be the world’s toughest job interview for what is without question a world-first opportunity and the human stories that emerge will captivate and inspire generations across the globe.”

It’s not the first time an Endemol-owned UK producer has created an astronaut training-themed television show. In 2005, Zeppotron created hoax show Space Cadets for Channel 4, in which gullible Brits were convinced they were training in Russia to be astronauts without ever leaving the UK.