Friday September 01, 2017

Generation Mars, Part 2

Listen to Full Episode 54:00

The day might well be approaching when humans set foot on Mars. We'll be driven by a desire to find life -- or what remains of it -- and to colonize the planet. Stephen Humphrey and a stellar crew of authors, astronauts and Mars scholars confront the hazards, risks and challenges of getting humans to Mars, and then of surviving -- and living -- on the Red Planet. **This episode originally aired October 27, 2016. 

Stephen Humphrey - Youngster

Young Stephen Humphrey

Imagine you're flying through space on the very first trip that we humans make to the planet Mars. You've been up there for months, because as far as we know it takes at least three or four months to get you there. You work, you wait, you get to know everyone on the crew -- extremely well. And when you look out the window, all you see is an ocean of night.

For as long as I can remember, I've imagined that Mars was a place you could go and walk around. And as a kid I was pretty serious about wanting to meet Martians. How could that not be fun? But it was "one small step" -- a giant leap, really -- that showed us we could go to another world. On July 20th, 1969, American astronauts landed on the moon. And if we could go to the moon, we could go anywhere. Right?  -- Stephen Humphrey


"What we're talking about with humans is to actually go out and establish a colony on Mars. We're going to put people on a planet where we've never gone before." 
-- Janet Kavandi, Director of NASA's Glenn Research Center

"This doesn't stop with Mars. Mars is just the first stop on an endless journey out into the universe. If we want to become multi-planet species, clearly we have to colonize Mars."
-- Robert Zubrin, founder and president Mars Society



Guests in the program:

  • Kim Stanley Robinson - Award-winning science fiction author. He published Red Mars and two acclaimed sequels about colonizing the planet Mars, Green Mars and Blue Mars.

  • Janet Kavandi - Veteran astronaut and Director of the NASA's John H. Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio. Formerly NASA's Director of Flight Crew Operations, where she was responsible for the space agency's astronaut corps.

  • Kim Binsted - Principal investigator for HI-SEAS (Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation), which studies how groups of humans interact in a Mars-like environment.

  • Robert Zubrin - Aerospace engineer, founder of the Mars Society, author of The Case For Mars and other books about colonizing space. He heads Pioneer Astronautics, a research and development company.
  • Robert Thirsk - Canadian astronaut and physician. In 2009 he spent 187 days aboard the International Space Station, the longest any Canadian has been in orbit. He's performed dozens of medical and scientific experiments in space.

  • Ram Jakhu - Associate Director, Centre for Research of Air and Space Law at McGill University.
  • Readings by Sharry Flett and Barry MacGregor.

About Marvin the Martian:

Created in 1948 for Looney Toons and Merrie Melodies cartoons (Warner Bros. Entertainment). Marvin the Martian's distinctive helmet and armour were based on Mars, the Roman god of war. His likeness appears on the mission patch worn by NASA teams who launched the Spirit and Opportunity Mars rovers in 2003. His excerpt in this show is from Duck Dodgers in the 24½th Century (1953).

Related Websites:

Reading List


  • Aldrin, Buzz and Leonard David. Mission to Mars: My Vision for Space Exploration. National Geographic, 2013.
  • Hadfield, Chris. An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth. Random House Canada, 2013.
  • Petranek, Stephen. How We'll Live On Mars. Simon & Schuster, 2015.
  • Roach, Mary. Packing For Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void. W.W. Norton & Company, 2011.
  • Zubrin, Robert. The Case For Mars. Simon & Schuster Inc., 1996, 2011.


  • Bradbury, Ray. The Martian Chronicles. Simon & Schuster Inc., 1950.
  • Dick, Philip K. Martian Time-Slip. Mariner Books, 1964.
  • Robinson, Kim Stanley. Red Mars. Spectra, 1993.
  • Sawyer, Robert J. Red Planet Blues. Ace, 2013.
  • Weir, Andy. The Martian. Broadway Books, 2011.

**This episode was produced by Sara Wolch