More than any other time in recent memory, travel to Mars is looking more like a reality. More than any other time in recent memory, travel to Mars is looking more like a reality. More than at any other time in recent memory, travel to Mars is looking like a reality. (Photo: Aphelleon / Shutterstock)

Cable network plans series about colonizing Mars

The show will be based on a popular literary trilogy.

Mars is having a moment.

The once-futuristic idea of man traveling to the Red Planet has now become grounded in reality. In the past few months alone, NASA has unveiled a three-step plan for sending astronauts to Mars, asked for the public's help in designing Mars habitats and created an Iron Man-style robot to send to the planet. To help them with their Mars mission, the U.S. space agency has entered into a partnership with Israel, the same country which hosted an international space conference in October, where Mars was a hot topic.

Buzz Aldrin, the 85-year-old legendary astronaut who was the second person to step foot on the moon, is now advocating for colonizing Mars and hopes to see it happen within his lifetime. Not to mention, this fall's most popular movie starred Matt Damon as a man stranded on Mars, forced to grow potatoes for four years while he awaited rescue.

Now comes word that a popular fiction series about Mars will be the basis of a new show on Spike TV.

The "Red Mars" novels by Kim Stanley Robinson are considered some of the best on the topic and have been translated into 21 different languages. Originally published on Jan. 1, 1993, the thought-provoking trilogy follows in the footsteps of popular sci-fi novels like "Dune" and "Ender's Game," which were considered way ahead of their time.

In an interview at the University of California, San Diego – where Robinson received a Ph.D. in literature – the author said that the idea for his books came from looking at a satellite photo of Mars. He had a simple thought: Mars would be a great place to go backpacking.

That same basic notion is what drew Spike TV to the project. “The heart and soul of ‘Red Mars’ is about humanity," Sharon Levy, Spike’s executive vice president of original series, told Variety. "This group of strangers must find a way to live together and survive under the most daunting conditions mankind has ever faced to become the first living generation of Martians."

“Red Mars” is set to debut on Spike TV in January 2017.

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