Going to Mars or Bust 

I just came back from watching the movie, “The Martian” and I have to say, it’s a remarkable success. Well done Ridley Scott! Again !
Matt Damon (Character: Botanist Mark Watney) does another stellar performance. Each day was recorded as “Sol 405” . Sol refers to a solar day on Mars, therefore 405 would relate to the amount of days on Mars, which is a lot more on earth.

The storyline takes you through a whirlwind of emotions, with stunning landscapes* of Mars and your hope for Mark Watney’s survival. 

Watching the movie, I couldn’t help think of what it would be like, to actually be on Mars. Tears would well up, with the sudden realization (at my age) I would never be able to see Mars. But that never stops my wild imagination, displaying a colourful event, where I’m sick of all the wasted time with politics, and decided to do something on my own. 

Yup. That’s right. Going to be Mars or Bust ! 



Crazy, right? 

I calculate my trajectory using the aid of basic physics, leaving earth’s gravitational pull and setting course for Mars, in my ultralight spacecraft.

In reality, it’s pretty much far fetched, right?   

Well, that never stops me from writing about the possibilities and planning a screenplay, fit for any movie production. 

First of all, I must put each problem in a category and solve that particular problem. Therefore, I will follow NASA by their use of acronyms. MC 1 will refer to as ” Mars Category 1″ while “SOLO-M 20” will be referred to as the example, “Soul on Mars – Day 20”.

Let’s begin:

MC 1 : Make a Ultralight Spacecraft.

Make a viable ultralight spacecraft small enough to house one human being, with ample oxygen, freeze-dried food provisions and relative comforts of home, including some form of gravity, for the long journey ahead. Also, it’s important I leave when Earth’s orbit coincides with Mars. That’s every two years. Building my spacecraft will require ingenuity and patients.      

It’s amazing what duct tape can do ! 

I’m kidding.  If you saw “The Martian” you’ll know exactly what I’m referring to. As a past experienced architectural draft person, I can easily design my spacecraft to the right dimensions, with the required materials to make it super light.  

The engine part.  

Well…not so much. Any help by a rocket engineer would indeed be extremely helpful, making a suitable engine without rocket fuel. Try that.

MC 2 : Escaping Earth’s Gravity.

Preferably without your spacecraft breaking up into millions of pieces. With conventional fossil fuels, you must reach a velocity of 40,270 km/h (25,020 mph) in order to break free from earth’s gravity. 

This is basically out of the question.  

First and foremost, it’s impossible to obtain rocket fuel and trying to do so, would alert authorities. Oh, BTW (by the way) your mission is a surprise to the world, making you a hero to the rest of the humanity, if you succeed. Besides, if authorities caught wind of your intentions, they would send you off to the loonie bin. 

(Even though we Canadians use the loonie for currency, it doesn’t mean we’re a Loonie bunch of Canucks). 

Moving on. So, what can one do ? 

Invent anti-gravity is one solution, or use the oldest form of lift. How many times have you seen an air balloon on a clear morning, floating in fashion across the horizon? I know…I know what your thinking, ” That’s just plain crazy! The balloon idea will pop with your ship falling precariously back to earth.” 

But, what if…

At the very moment the balloon bursts in the stratosphere, you ignite with a small portion of fuel, lighting up, propelling your spacecraft into the earth’s orbit . You won’t need very much thrust or fuel to achieve this. Or, how about the Red Bull accomplishment? Mission to the Edge of Space and Supersonic freefall was a success. 

It’s feasible, right?  

If a Canadian student can send a “Lego Man” into our stratosphere, anything is possible.  

Well, that’s my theory.  

OK. Getting into orbit is a viable theory for this Loonie Canuck. What’s that you say ? I’m what? OK. I can hear you laughing your head off.  

Wait, Here me out. 

If anything, it will make an excellent storyline, a script with danger, adventure, a dash of comedy, and a lead character you are emotionally attached to. Kind of sounds like my screenplay, BLACK ANGELS.

Let’s continue on with my theory.

MC 3 : Escaping Earth’s Orbit.

Escaping the trajectory of earth will be my next problem, and actually, this equation is relatively an easy one. Like any satellite, it’s circular path must change to meet the opening orbit path of earth circling our Sun. You can wave “hello” to ISS, as you pass by.

Check out physics HERE, (Seriously, NASA solves everything). 

MC 4 : Heading to Mars

Now, theoretically your spacecraft has escaped earth’s gravity, nicely placed around earth’s orbit. Awesome! You manage to project your little spacecraft into the outer earth’s orbit. 


Not so fast. Now you must fly over to the orbit of Mars. This in physics, is called the Hohmann Transfer Ellipse (or transfer orbit). We assume you have the right kind of fuel or magnetic force to preform the Hohmann Transfer Ellipse, breaking free along the weakest point of earth’s orbit, towards Mars orbit. Now, be sure to wave, “Good-bye”, to ISS. Now NASA and the rest of the world is aware of your intentions. Communication may be possible with ISS for short term, but one thing for sure. YOU will be famous and all over the news. Make sure you’re flying a Canadian Flag. 

MC 5 : Journey to Mars 

Here’s where it’s crucial you have enough oxygen, food, water, heat to avoid the extreme -200 C temperatures, a well constructed light engine, and a safe spacecraft to propel you 6-8 months across our solar system. Including solar panels and rechargeable lithium ion batteries which have the capability to store energy for use at night, once on Mars.

MC 6 : Entry onto Mars

Making it to Mars will certainly be an accomplishment in itself. The entry, descent and landing must be taken into serious calculation, or its all for not. Now you must consider landing on Mars at a safe controlled speed, hopefully landing like Rover or Spirit did. I would prefer the Spirit landing, due to the use of large inflatable balloons or airbags, bouncing across the Martian landscape. Reason is, it’s a less technical option, but maybe a precarious journey onto Mars surface.

MC 7 – SOLO-M 1 : First Soul on Mars – Sol Day 1

WOW! What a trip! The very first person on Mars. Your super famous now. And, I’m very sure NASA satellites above the Martian landscape, are tracking your progress. But, there’s one item missing on board, that could have possibly landed you by an exact longitude and latitude.  

Oops! No GPS ? Not sure where you landed? 

Not to worry, NASA knows exactly where you are. Can you imagine the public announcement, “It’s official. The first man has landed on the surface of Mars, as of 10:30 am CT. FBI and CSIS have confirmed, Mr. Bari Demers has successfully landed on Mars without the aid of NASA or the Canadian authorities. At this time we are unclear, as to his condition.”

Can you imagine the commotion on earth ? 

OK. You made it on Mars. Now what? Do you have enough water and food to sustain you for a couple of weeks, a month or, how about one year. You would be one lucky soul to make it one month on Mars. The finally results from NASA would be something like this, “On SOLO-M 45 we have lost all contact from the only survivor on Mars. Our satellites have found no activity past this point. It’s our conclusion, the first man on Mars has ceased to exist.”

Say what ?!  YIKES! 

Maybe not. Now, what if the first man on Mars can find tunnels or caves, full of oxygen and safe from solar flares. It’s possible. It’s really possible, because we haven’t explored Mars, as of yet. There may even be an abundance of water too. Just maybe, Bari Demers is capable of living on Mars past SOLO-M 45. One year on Mars would be 365 sol days while on earth, that equates to 668.68 days.  

Let’s say SOLO-M 1825 ( 5 years ) before any rescue attempt by NASA. After all the politics and projected costs, who knows, it just may be a private sector that lands that arrives on Mars first.  

OK. Now consider my flamboyant storyline, “Going to Mars or Bust“.  

Of course, with ever science-fiction, the real science must work. Even Ridley Scott used the advice of NASA to help figure out all the technical applications of the entry, descent and landing on Mars. All had to meet certain requirements, in order for it to work.  

If it’s too far fetched, your audience won’t believe it. In fact, with NASA providing an oasis of scientific information,(available by the touch of your screen), it would be hard to fool any audience.

Alright Hollywood- “Going to Mars or Bust” written by Bari Demers. 

LOGLINE: A man frustrated with the the politics of space, attempts to go to Mars by the seat-of-his-pants. 

Can you just imagine being on Mars ! So cool ! 

By Bari Demers screenwriter/ freelance writer.

* NOTE: The 3D glasses could greatly be improved on. (Ancient technology used) Some scenes look too fake with 3D glasses. But the storyline and acting is great. Love the CGI too.

14 thoughts on “Going to Mars or Bust 

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