Thursday, January 29, 2015

Mars movie review - Stranded (2001)

Stranded movie Mars
Stranded (original title in Spanish: Náufragos) is a 2001 low budget Spanish movie about struggle for survival of 5 astronauts stranded on Mars. Not all of them survive till the end.


The movie starts with Mars landing craft crashing on the surface of the planet along with 6 astronauts. The captain of the crew is dead and the remaining 5 are trying to figure out how to survive till the rescue mission could hopefully arrive 26 months later. The resources of food, water, oxygen and energy is limited and the only "solution" seems to be to let survive only 2 of them. So the 3 "expendable" ones are going for a "walk". They reach the edge of the Valles Marineris and descend down. When only 2 of them are left they discover a cave which unexpectedly turn into ancient Martian tunnels with oxygen in them. An unfortunate step into "wrong" tunnel kills 1 of 2 remaining ones. The last surviving women discovers the dead bodies of local Martians and their somehow pressurized (with no visible roof) oasis / ghost town into the depths of Valles Marineris. So she calls the other 2 which had stayed in the landing craft to come and join her. Hopefully they will survive till the rescue comes.

Verdict: 5/10

If the best Mars movie - Total Recall - would be about 1 point short of being "the ideal Mars movie", Stranded is 4 more points bellow that level because of these huge drawbacks:
  • the movie is low budget and it definitely feels like being low budget;
  • the acting is very poor. You don't get the feeling that characters are actual top-level astronauts/scientists which had been carefully chosen to be the first humans on Mars. Dialogues are clumsy and, despite the movie being quite depressive, the actors don't believably act as being hopelessly stranded millions of miles from Earth with possible rescue coming only years away at best.
Despite that, the concept of the movie is quite interesting (unlike some recent Mars-zombie movies like The last days on Mars with a bigger budget) and Stranded is worth watching for Mars fans.

Here you can watch the trailer of the movie:

My reviews of other movies set on Mars:

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Lone astronaut on Mars by Alberto Vangelista

Picture of the Day 28/1/15 - A lone explorer on Mars by Italian digital artist Alberto Vangelista. More of his art here.
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astronaut on Mars by Alberto Vangelista

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Mars colonies in Babylon 5

Babylon 5 (1994-1998) is far from being my favorite sci-fi TV series (to be exact - I have watched only one episode: s04e10 "Racing Mars"), but it is one of very few TV series / movies depicting human colonies on Mars in some of its episodes (Mars is only a minor stage for story of the series). In Babylon 5 universe the rapid colonization and terraforming of Mars starts in mid-22nd century with only limited scientific missions before that. As in almost all fiction about colonization of Mars, eventually there rises a rebellion against Earth control with an aim for Mars independence. You can read about Mars in Babylon 5 universe here. Click to view in full resolution:

Mars colony in Babylon 5Mars colony in Babylon 5

Mars colony in Babylon 5Mars colony in Babylon 5

Friday, January 23, 2015

Mars terraforming plant by National Geographic Channel

Picture of the Day 23/1/15 - A Mars terraforming plant from documentary "Mars: Making the New Earth" (2009) by National Geographic Channel. You can watch the full documentary here.
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Mars terraforming plant by National Geographic Channel

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Mars Underground, updated edition

The Mars Underground poster
The Mars Underground is a documentary about the dream to get to Mars.. about the disappointment of "space era" kids/youth for NASA not going further after the human landing on Moon on 1969. One of such kids was visionary rocket scientist, the president of The Mars Society Robert Zubrin who with his team has developed his own plan for getting humans to Mars and back - Mars Direct (with updated mission architecture called "Mars Semi-Direct"). They are confident the mission could be carried out in a decade if only NASA would dare to try. It would be the first step for colonizing Mars and thereby making humanity a multi-planet civilization.

As the documentary was released in May, 2007 it doesn't cover the more recent plans for Mars colonization/exploration by SpaceX.

You can watch the most recent version (labeled as "Updated edition/Director's cut") of the film here:

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Mars base by Alfie Rodriguez

Picture of the Day 8/1/15 - "Space Comand Base Station" on Mars by Mexican 3D artist Alfie Rodriguez.
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Mars base by Alfie Rodriguez

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Martian base concept by Janek Kozicki & Joanna Kozicka

Mars colonization
Polish engineers/architects Janek Kozicki & Joanna Kozicka has long been working for an architectural design proposal for a Martian base after NASA (or SpaceX) will land humans on Mars for the 1st time. They call it a stage 2 and stage 3 Martian bases (stage 1 - 1st landing base; stage 2 - a small permanent Martian base; stage 3 - small Martian settlement; stage 4 - Martian cities).

Stage 2 Martian base by Janek Kozicki [PDF of the concept here]

Mars base

Mars trucks by Bryan Versteeg

Picture of the Day 3/1/15 - Mars exploration vehicles by Bryan Versteeg. More of his space concept art here.

Mars truck by Bryan Versteeg

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Mars quotes

Mars is the only known planet inhabited solely by robots.
Hope that fact will change soon!

Mars quote

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Wanderers - a vision of our expansion into the Solar System

"Wanderers" is a short film by Erik Wernquist depicting "a vision of humanity's expansion into the Solar System, based on scientific ideas and concepts of what our future in space might look like, if it ever happens. The locations depicted in the film are digital recreations of actual places in the Solar System, built from real photos and map data where available." In background of the stunning visuals you can hear the words and voice of Carl Sagan - the famous inspirator of space colonization.

All the scenes seen in film are explained here.