By Harry Keller
Editor, Science Education
[UPDATE 5/18/13: See Martian Rhapsody: Chapter 1 – Landing. -Editor]
The discussion on “Mars One: Exciting Adventure or Hoax?” (4.8.13) has been wonderful, and I thank all of those who have participated. I’d like to take this entire issue to another level. Please stay tuned, watching ETC-J for a new beginning of the discussion about Mars.
ETC-J is working on a serialized fictional account of the first Mars settlement so that those who are not so technically oriented can participate. We’ll have plenty of science and will address those issues we’ve talked about in the article and the discussion and many more in the context of the possible actuality of a Mars settlement. We’ll also have personalities and their reactions to crises. We’re making the assumption that it will happen within 20 years, maybe ten or so. We will use only technologies that we have or that could become available within this time frame. Exceptions will be made to this rule only if there absolutely is no other way, and we’ll still make every effort to make it scientifically sound. As a scientist, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
You’ll read about some real surprises in the episodes. We’ll be as creative as possible and will encourage all of you to write in with your ideas about how to solve the problems facing the settlers in the most recent episode. Some of your ideas will find their way into future episodes and will be acknowledged in the discussion.
If you know a science teacher, be sure to clue her/him into what’s going on. We’ll have special challenges for science classes to discuss. We invite science teachers to respond on behalf of their classes and to sign with their school name. I’m hoping that my own business, Smart Science Education Inc., will be able to fund some prizes, but I cannot make promises about that yet.
While prompted by the discussion of Mars One, any resemblance to the actual Mars One program is unintended. We will use the best ideas from anywhere, including Mars One, in our narrative, but this is NOT Mars One.
Watch for the first episode soon and be ready with your commentary on any science errors in each episode, solutions to the problems facing the settlers, and the science class challenges. I’m looking forward to a stimulating discussion. I hope you’ll join us on this adventure.