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First Manned Mars Landing October 26, 1951
I know that I got your attention with that one! How could this be possible? Was this another Orson Wells hoax?
A couple of weeks ago I was going through some old videos in my library. I found a series from 1951-1953 called Tales of Tomorrow. It aired on the then fledgling ABC network. I watched an episode called Test Flight.
The veteran actor Lee J. Cobb played a character named Wayne Crowder. He was a wealthy company owner with a dream to send a manned rocket to Mars. He initially spent $20 million dollars to develop a chemical rocket to fly to Mars.
Then an eccentric genius named Wilkins appeared in his office with the plan for a rocket using magnetic levitation. Wayne Crowder ended up investing over $1 billion dollars for his rocket to Mars. (This was 59 years ago when one could buy a decent new home for $9,000 dollars).
The rocket lifts off from New Mexico and heads into space. The eccentric genius Wilkins tells Wayne Crowder they are going to Mars. Crowder tells Wilkins to turn the rocket around and go back to earth. Wilkins admits that he is from Mars and the controls of the ship are locked. The ship lands on Mars.
It’s amazing that almost 60 years ago science fiction writers foresaw a privately-financed mission to Mars. I brought this show to the attention of none other than Elon Musk. He thanked me and described it as interesting.
If you want to watch the program here is the link from IMDB and Hulu: