Over the next few weeks, I will be writing and posting a story about a return, 3 person mission to Mars. Before we begin the stories, I want to address a few things directly – to avoid any confusion.
1. The likelihood of a single manned mission – as expressed in the first story series – is pretty low. The risks involved are too great and additional team members ensure a higher probability of success. The “logs” were loosely based on my experiences running Mars Colony Simulator (alpha and beta) in single player mode… and it is conceivable that once these kinds of missions are regular, that a series of bases, manned temporarily by a single person, could be established. I would guess however, that a larger “local” base, with a full staff and facilities would be required to allow for this kind of pioneering effort to be considered. Personally – I see this idea much like the hundreds of pioneers that set out alone to establish the West in North America. They grouped together to make the treck, but split into smaller groups and individuals to setup homesteads, farms and ranches. Other pushed on to the west coast. My point is that there is a key spirit of discovery, pioneering and risk taking that will be a central criteria for successful colonization… whether for long term expansion of civilization or for resource harvesting.
2. To increase the “challenge” the next story will focus on a 3-person mission, rather than 4. As a focus, I am going to dwell the relational aspects and interactivity – the actual tasks will start to take a bit more of a backseat. We are also picking up elements of “Mission 2” – under development by Hyperkat for the commercial release of the simulator. I am not a psychologist nor a behavior expert, but will draw on historical events, as well as logs and mission reports from the Mars Society missions, and my experiences managing diverse teams. I look forward to putting three highly capable pioneers into the stressful grinder of a return mission to mars, and watching how their personalities and capabilities run up against difficult circumstance.
3. I will try to mix both narative and the “log” report format, to provide some continuity, as well as a few directive’s from Command and Control back on earth. Dealing with the (6 minute) delay is very hard in fiction – real time communication is not practical, so the focus will be on broadcast audio, some limited video and email/report communication, so while “real life” will have more direct communication, this story line will have very little. In fact, my early drafts feel a bit like Command and Control is very passive.
I hope that you enjoy the series.