Among the list of accuracies included in the plot, is the timeline. The manned mission to Mars that takes place in the film occurs in 2030s – the same time NASA intends to send a real crew to explore the Red Planet (1).
Fortunately, the success of the film is garnering a lot of attention for the real life endeavor slated to occur sometime within the next 15-25 years.
So when a retired U.S. Marine using the codename Captain Kaye announced that he recently completed a 17-year stint on Mars, there were some very reasonable doubts. Captain Kaye, also known as Randy Cramer, states that he was employed at a top-secret multinational military base where he was tasked with protecting the five colonies on the planet, which included a colony of Reptilians and another of Insectoids (2).
He stated his employer, the Mars Defense Force, is part of the Earth Defense Force and a special task force created within the United Nations’ Unacknowledged Special Access Program (3).
The man has no documented proof of his supposed mission, which no doubt sounds like nothing more than a science fiction story. However, his fabricated tale does draw attention to the question of the need and desire for military bases on Mars.
Race to the Moon
It was recently announced that the race to the moon in the 1960s was intended for nothing more than to build a military base in space in order to test nuclear weapons and to set up a lunar base for attacks on other countries. These findings were made public when reports, including a number of which were marked as “SECRET,” were declassified (4).
The U.S. Army’s plan, called “Project Horizon,” made it a goal to beat out the Soviet Union and to become the first country to create a military base on the moon. Following their proposed success, it would seem the United States planned to extend their intergalactic military bases to other celestial bodies, including Mars. However, desire and reality are very different.
While there is a strong likelihood the United States government desires military bases on Mars, we simply aren’t there yet. In 2013, NASA’s budget was cut by a whopping 40 percent, with the Mars Exploration Program (MEP), suffering a major blow (5).
While Mars is still the ultimate goal, NASA is considering further exploration of the moon to search for water needed for jet fuel, which would reduce the future expenses of trips to Mars (6). The expense could save money overall, but the exploration mission would mean spending money budgeted toward Mars on other endeavors.
The Possibility Exists
Even with the proper funding, the government made an agreement. In 1967, two years before the launch of Apollo 11, the members of the United Nations signed a treaty banning the use of nuclear weapons in space – be it from the moon or elsewhere (7).
The treaty created a basic foundation of standards that were to be followed while in the great beyond. The treaty clearly states that nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction are not to be placed on the moon or any other celestial body and further mentions that all endeavors are for peaceful purposes.
This treaty, maintained by the Office of Outer Space Affairs, takes it a step further and clarifies that even private entities within the States of the United Nations are held to the same account and their State will be held responsible for their actions (7). Even the private Mars One mission would be held accountable to the rules of the treaty.
All in all, military bases on Mars are certainly a possibility – in the same regard that anything is possible. However, in our current financial state and without violating the treaty, we aren’t going to see it happening any time soon.