We Are The Martians

Episodes

TitleFirst
Broadcast
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A New Red World20170307

A New Red World20170307

Ken Hollings continues the series that revels in the many Mars' of imagination, history & science. Feminists, Christians, peace loving druids, vegetarian fruitarian dwarves, Bolsheviks & big science terra-formers have all offered up their versions of Martian utopia.

Both the astronomer Flammarion and the Russian mystic & Cosmist Nikolai Fyodorov dreamed of the dead resurrected on Mars. At the height of the Cold War mysterious messages from Mars turn out to come from God, as mankind is shocked into a new beginning in the loopy film Red Planet Mars. But the Bolsheviks had got to Mars long before that, before the revolution even in 1908 with Alexander Bogdanov's Red Star. A prophet of the Bolshevik Revolution, Bogdanov gives us a historically advanced socialist state visited by a veteran revolutionary-in fact this socialist utopia will drive him mad! Russia and then the Soviet Union ached for a future among the stars where apple blossom time would come to Mars.

In Unveiling a Parallel, 1893, two Iowan women send a visitor by plane to see how women's lives could be just as equal as men's. Why they could propose marriage & have children out of wedlock! That great mapper of Mars canals, Percival Lowell, impressed on people the desperate tale of Martian co-operation as they raced to save their species. In America the story of terra-forming emerged from science fiction to cast a powerful spell on scientists & writers. Jim lovelock, creator of the Gaia theory impishly suggesting we nuke Mars & cover it in hair spray to begin its rebirth. Then came Kim Stanley Robinson, whose vast Martian trilogy (Red, Green, Blue Mars) gives us a near utopia, won only after decades of political strife, terra-forming and a final, irrevocable break with Earth.

Producer: Mark Burman.

A New Red World20170307

Ken Hollings continues the series that revels in the many Mars' of imagination, history and science. Feminists, Christians, peace loving druids, vegetarian fruitarian dwarves, Bolsheviks and big science terra-formers have all offered up their versions of Martian utopia.

Both the astronomer Flammarion and the Russian mystic and Cosmist Nikolai Fyodorov dreamed of the dead resurrected on Mars. At the height of the Cold War mysterious messages from Mars turn out to come from God, as mankind is shocked into a new beginning in the loopy film Red Planet Mars. But the Bolsheviks had got to Mars long before that, before the revolution even in 1908 with Alexander Bogdanov's Red Star. A prophet of the Bolshevik Revolution, Bogdanov gives us a historically advanced socialist state visited by a veteran revolutionary-in fact this socialist utopia will drive him mad! Russia and then the Soviet Union ached for a future among the stars where apple blossom time would come to Mars.

In Unveiling a Parallel, 1893, two Iowan women send a visitor by plane to see how women's lives could be just as equal as men's. Why they could propose marriage and have children out of wedlock! That great mapper of Mars canals, Percival Lowell, impressed on people the desperate tale of Martian co-operation as they raced to save their species. In America the story of terra-forming emerged from science fiction to cast a powerful spell on scientists and writers. Jim lovelock, creator of the Gaia theory impishly suggesting we nuke Mars and cover it in hair spray to begin its rebirth. Then came Kim Stanley Robinson, whose vast Martian trilogy (Red, Green, Blue Mars) gives us a near utopia, won only after decades of political strife, terra-forming and a final, irrevocable break with Earth.

Producer: Mark Burman.

Seeing Is Believing20170306

Seeing Is Believing20170306

Sarah Dillon begins a new series revelling in the Mars of imagination, science & history. We are the Martians, perhaps the only consciousness the Red Planet has ever had. The ancients wove their own mythological stories about Mars, its dim redness and uncertain path visible to the naked eye. With advances in astronomy new, powerful telescopes scrutinized the red planet & new stories began to develop. At first, it was a war of the maps with the clear winner being the Italian Giovanni Schiaparelli. This important and famous astronomer produced a series of maps that featured dark channels 'canali' . Both his terminology and his maps soon dominated scientific and popular thought for decades to come. Then the American amateur, Percival Lowell, imprinted on generations the story of a doomed civilization on Mars with its elaborate canal system. From his newly established observatory in Flagstaff, Az, Lowell observed and then wrote a series of astronomical bestsellers. A supreme popularizer of science, he commanded huge audiences and sparked Martian fever & debate in both the scientific community and the general public. The "canals" were an attempt by intelligent and cooperative beings to save their home planet. Many of his colleagues despaired at what they (rightly) saw as flawed science but it was no use. The potent appeal of the ruins of this dying world sparked reams of popular fiction, most notably Edgar Rice Burroughs adventures on Barsoom, leaving a long & unfinished literary legacy. Even after the Viking Lander finally revealed Mars was Red and dead, the Old Mars of our dreams would return. Sarah Dillon travels to Flagstaff & the analogue Martian landscape of red Arizonan desert.

Producer: Mark Burman.

Seeing Is Believing20170306

Sarah Dillon begins a new series revelling in the Mars of imagination, science and history. We are the Martians, perhaps the only consciousness the Red Planet has ever had. The ancients wove their own mythological stories about Mars, its dim redness and uncertain path visible to the naked eye. With advances in astronomy new, powerful telescopes scrutinized the red planet and new stories began to develop. At first, it was a war of the maps with the clear winner being the Italian Giovanni Schiaparelli. This important and famous astronomer produced a series of maps that featured dark channels 'canali'. Both his terminology and his maps soon dominated scientific and popular thought for decades to come. Then the American amateur, Percival Lowell, imprinted on generations the story of a doomed civilization on Mars with its elaborate canal system. From his newly established observatory in Flagstaff, Az, Lowell observed and then wrote a series of astronomical bestsellers. A supreme popularizer of science, he commanded huge audiences and sparked Martian fever and debate in both the scientific community and the general public. The "canals" were an attempt by intelligent and cooperative beings to save their home planet. Many of his colleagues despaired at what they (rightly) saw as flawed science but it was no use. The potent appeal of the ruins of this dying world sparked reams of popular fiction, most notably Edgar Rice Burroughs adventures on Barsoom, leaving a long and unfinished literary legacy. Even after the Viking Lander finally revealed Mars was Red and dead, the Old Mars of our dreams would return. Sarah Dillon travels to Flagstaff and the analogue Martian landscape of red Arizonan desert.

Producer: Mark Burman.

Start-up Planet20170308

Start-up Planet20170308

For Radio 4's Mars series, Kevin Fong asks: what future do we have on Mars when we finally get there? He talks to scientists and writers about their visions of a human presence and purpose on the Red Planet. This is the third part on this series on our relationship with Mars.

The American space agency NASA aims to get the first human crew to Mars sometime in the 2040's. It is likely to be an international mission and carry a crew of six people. Elon Musk, the founder of private rocket company SpaceX, has unveiled a scheme to get a spacecraft of one hundred colonists to the Red Planet before 2030.

Do we go to Mars for the big science questions and exploration? Or is Project Mars about becoming a multi-planetary species, extending the American western frontier by a hundred million miles? Do we need to prepare Mars as a refuge should civilisation face extinction here on the home planet.

Even the first boot print mission will be the mother of all camping trips, and full of hazard. Mars' tenuous atmosphere contains no oxygen, the average temperature is -60 degrees Celsius, the surface is bathed in cosmic and solar radiation and toxic dust lies all over the planet. So some Mars enthusiasts predict that our presence there will never amount to more than something like extraterrestrial Antarctic style bases, where visiting scientific explorers and back-up technicians live and work for a few years at a time before returning to Earth. But for others, the vision is much grander and more ambitious. Colonies will become city sized and economically productive, trading technological innovations with the home planet. Generations of people will live and die in societies free from oppressive authority on Earth.

Kevin Fong hears from would-be Martian explorers such as Elon Musk and Robert Zubrin. Robert Zubrin is president of the Mars Society and is credited with coming up with the basic technical strategy for mounting a return trip to Mars which both NASA and Space X have adopted. If we do this in our generation, says Zubrin, within two centuries there will be self-sustaining communities on Mars with their own dialects, cultures of technological and artistic invention, and their own history of 'heroic deeds'. This is romanticism to others such as Oliver Morton, author of 'Mapping Mars', and that Mars is no place for civilians. let alone children. With gravity little more than one third of Earth's, a successful human pregnancy may in fact be impossible.

That's one of the many unknowns about the future of humans on Mars revealed, as Kevin talks to the scientific Mars visionaries such as Chris McKay of NASA Ames Research Center and Pascal Lee of the Mars Institute, and to science fiction authors such as Kim Stanley Robinson, Emma Newman and Stephen Baxter who've imagined people on the Red Planet.

Producer: Andrew Luck-Baker

Sound engineer: Tim Heffer.

Start-up Planet20170308

For Radio 4's Mars series, Kevin Fong asks: what future do we have on Mars when we finally get there? He talks to scientists and writers about their visions of a human presence and purpose on the Red Planet. This is the third part on this series on our relationship with Mars.

The American space agency NASA aims to get the first human crew to Mars sometime in the 2040's. It is likely to be an international mission and carry a crew of six people. Elon Musk, the founder of private rocket company SpaceX, has unveiled a scheme to get a spacecraft of one hundred colonists to the Red Planet before 2030.

Do we go to Mars for the big science questions and exploration? Or is Project Mars about becoming a multi-planetary species, extending the American western frontier by a hundred million miles? Do we need to prepare Mars as a refuge should civilisation face extinction here on the home planet.

Even the first boot print mission will be the mother of all camping trips, and full of hazard. Mars' tenuous atmosphere contains no oxygen, the average temperature is -60 degrees Celsius, the surface is bathed in cosmic and solar radiation and toxic dust lies all over the planet. So some Mars enthusiasts predict that our presence there will never amount to more than something like extraterrestrial Antarctic style bases, where visiting scientific explorers and back-up technicians live and work for a few years at a time before returning to Earth. But for others, the vision is much grander and more ambitious. Colonies will become city sized and economically productive, trading technological innovations with the home planet. Generations of people will live and die in societies free from oppressive authority on Earth.

Kevin Fong hears from would-be Martian explorers such as Elon Musk and Robert Zubrin. Robert Zubrin is president of the Mars Society and is credited with coming up with the basic technical strategy for mounting a return trip to Mars which both NASA and Space X have adopted. If we do this in our generation, says Zubrin, within two centuries there will be self-sustaining communities on Mars with their own dialects, cultures of technological and artistic invention, and their own history of 'heroic deeds'. This is romanticism to others such as Oliver Morton, author of 'Mapping Mars', and that Mars is no place for civilians. let alone children. With gravity little more than one third of Earth's, a successful human pregnancy may in fact be impossible.

That's one of the many unknowns about the future of humans on Mars revealed, as Kevin talks to the scientific Mars visionaries such as Chris McKay of NASA Ames Research Center and Pascal Lee of the Mars Institute, and to science fiction authors such as Kim Stanley Robinson, Emma Newman and Stephen Baxter who've imagined people on the Red Planet.

Producer: Andrew Luck-Baker

Sound engineer: Tim Heffer.