New reality shows bring private spaceflight to your TV

It was only a matter of time before reality television took to space, since they seem to be slowly running out of ridiculous things to do here on Earth. And apparently, now is as good of a time as any. At the moment, three separate television shows are in the planning stages, including a new one announced by NBC and Virgin Galactic that will potentially air next year.

The NBC series, Space Race, will involve Survivor-like antics, with the winner getting a ticket on Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo, a six-passenger spacecraft designed to give rich folks (each ticket costs $250,000) a few minutes in space. Mark Burnett, best known for shows like The Voice and Survivor, will produce the series. Burnett doesn't sound too worried that Virgin Galactic hasn't yet launched people into space. They wanted to send the first flights in 2008, but delays have kept them grounded at least until next year. Obviously, because of this, no details about the show or a premiere date are available.

But Space Race isn't the only space-related reality TV series being planned. Sony has recently partnered with Space Expedition Corporation (SXC) for a show titled Milky Way Mission. In that series, celebrities will be competing against each other to earn a flight on one of that company’s spacecraft. Considering that SXC hasn’t actually managed to launch a craft yet, plans for that series are also unknown.

However, the most compelling series that might hit television airwaves could revolve around the Mars One mission. Mars One is planning to leave Earth for a one-way trip to Mars by 2023, and the entire experience will be televised, beginning with a sort of pre-show in 2014 involving the selection of the crew. This series would be much more serious than the other two, and involve choosing people who are actually qualified for the position, and not those people who are the most popular or who eat the most cockroaches to survive to the next round.

Via New Scientist

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