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Red Planet Mars

In "Red Planet Mars" (1952), American scientists track a series of messages that seem to be coming from our planetary neighbor. The first three stir a maelstrom of discontent with the social order on Earth as humans learn that on Mars, people are pensioned for more than 3/4s of their long lives, a thousand people are nourished by the produce of a single acre of land, and energy sources are clean and abundant. Do Martians really inhabit a utopia? Or are the communiqués only part of a Communist plot to undermine capitalism?

More speculative than spectacular, this film was based on a stage plays by the same name that was co-authored by John Balderston, who was nominated for an Academy Award for his work on the 1944 version of "Gaslight". As is often the case with stage play, the plot of this film adaptation emphasizes the social and political forces here on the green-and-blue globe rather than on the thrill of special effects and nifty monsters, and invites viewers to contemplate the ethics issues that confront the main characters, Drs. Linda and Chris Cronyn.

The Science

Phoning Home: Communicating from Mars

More Science to go with the Show

Related Resources

Mars in a Minute: Phoning Home – Communicating from Mars

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