The Mars Underground

The Mars Underground

2007, Science  -   56 Comments
Ratings: 8.60/10 from 113 users.

The Mars UndergroundThis film captures the spirit of Mars pioneers who refuse to let their dreams be put on hold by a slumbering space program. Their passionate urge to walk the soil of an alien world is infectious and inspirational. This film is the manifesto of the new space revolution.

Leading aerospace engineer and Mars Society President Dr. Robert Zubrin has a dream. He wants to get humans to the planet Mars in the next ten years.

Now, with the advent of a revolutionary plan, Mars Direct, Dr. Zubrin shows how we can use present day technology and natural resources on Mars to make human settlement possible. But can he win over the skeptics at NASA and the wider world?

The Mars Underground is a landmark documentary that follows Dr. Zubrin and his team as they try to bring this incredible dream to life. Through spellbinding animation, the film takes us on a daring first journey to the Red Planet and envisions a future Mars teeming with life and terraformed into a blue world.

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56 Comments / User Reviews

  1. alex

    can somebody answer this questions please:

    1. In what year do we they imagine we can begin a mission to Mars?

    2. What are the different factors that make scientists believe that humans can live on Mars?

    3. Who is Dr. Zubrin? Why is he being interviewed for this movie?

    4. What is SEI?

    5. How long would it take to get to Mars?

    6. What is Mars direct?

    7. What is the Mars Society? How did it start?

    8. After learning about the different factors for us to visit Mars, do you think you could manage going? Why?

    9. How important do you think travelling to Mars is?

    10. Should humanity spend its energy, time and money on something else? Why?

  2. Jerry lehane iii

    I found live people and animals 2004 from mars rover pics .google images "jerry lehane mars".people have cure for cancer in DNA SINCE ATMOSPHERE is thin and harsh radiation.....animals too.MARS people wear light clothes,no space suites or breathing devicES I designed mars rover s1987

  3. Charles Bowers

    I am very encouraged by this documentary. I must admit that I am not able to gauge how feasible this project is, but I trust science to make that decision for us. I feel that we are obligated to colonize any planet (that has no indigenous life) in order to insure the continuation of Humanity. I feel we are also obligated (when we are able to) to colonize outside our solar system and even other Galaxies (eventually), as a species this is the purpose of our lives which we have been working towards for thousands of years. Humans have always shown great courage and a willingness to take chances, I mean look how many hundreds of humans have already given their lives in exploration for the future betterment of mankind

  4. Patrick

    Although this is an old video, it is in fact Spacex's plan. It's worth a watch and study because of that. Elon is serious about his venture, and this documentary does lay out how structurally it would happen.

    I think there are many risks in going to Mars, but they are worth it. Yes, we don't know in fact if the gravity of Mars is enough to sustain human physiology (bone and muscle wasting), we don't know about the ability to survive the radiation environment there, we don't know the risks of endogenous pathogen transport and epidemic risks with such a closed-in and small initial population, etc, ... but there's no way to know without trying.

    Zubrin is a legendary visionary. Time will judge the value of his contribution.

  5. zooeyhall

    I'm old enough to still remember the Gemini missions of the 1960's. And--as an avid fan of Star Trek and similar shows---nothing would inspire me more than a space colony on Mars. Unfortunately, sincere wishes do not make reality. Serious questions have been unanswered or glossed-over by the "Mission to Mars" crowd. The terrible radiation, the lack of atmosphere, uncertainty over water--these are just a few of the fundamental problems that the "Mars people" seem to think are already solved. They aren't.

    It's going to take some solid and unique advances in technology, to enable humans to live on Mars independently and with a real future. Advances in safe rocketry, habitat construction, and radiation protection. And once those are solved, what about the issues about humans living a fulfilling life on a planet where you can't step out the door? This isn't like colonizing the New World was like. I think some folks need to take-off their "dreamer" caps and get a dose of reality. Those thousands who have signed up for the Mars One expedition may have signed up for a suicide lottery.

  6. matt732

    Either explore, overcome new challenges or stagnate and decay.
    Either populate the Universe or wait for the extinction event.

  7. Erick Le Wooz

    Making a TOO giant step is the best way to stumble, with
    human loss and consequences. Right, why don't we learn to walk first before
    starting a marathon? What have we done on the moon so far? Camping! 3?, 4 days
    in a row? Blimey! What an achievement! Next (logical) step is a permanent base
    on the moon and then after human behaviour studies, problems management
    studies, resources management studies send a team for a trip without assistance
    to Mars 6 month to go , 6 month to come back. 2099??????

  8. cindy manoog

    Fng Nasa has been to fng Mars and beyond, they just are not letting you know it.

  9. freewilly

    good plan, many people have the same vision
    We will get there eventually if we can pull off the biggest trick 'fusion', and get off our dependence on fossil fuels, then space travel within the solar system will be a breeze

  10. ?????????? ???????

    I found this documentary very misleading and dangerously treading cold war / nationalist lines. The documentary claims that other space agencies in European Union, Russia and China are *actually* planning Mars missions. It then points out that USA does not -- which is precisely that: USA is not currently planning such a mission. Other nations do and the humankind as a whole will very likely travel to Mars in the next couple of decades or so. I really don't see how and on what grounds is this proposed as a 'humanitarian' mission (the documentary depicts non-American people from various countries such as India). It is clearly a *political* documentary about USA, and only really affects those who will rather see NASA step on Mars rather than the Chinese or the Russians or Europeans.

    Well, guess what: This is not the Cold War. We do not require every space agency to design a Mars mission. NASA is doing incredible research as it is, and it provides us with millions of new data and research on an annual basis.

    Space exploration is not and should not be a national concern anymore. If the documentary creator wants to go to Mars, then he can join one of the other space agencies that are currently designing such misisons.

    Man as a species will go to Mars. Hopefully, man as American, Chinese, Russian or German will NOT go to Mars. Let's not pollute Mars with our nationalist agendas.

    1. Joe Bowers

      I (respectfully) disagree. While there are certainly political issues addressed in this documentary I believe it's only to challenge NASA and the US political machine to actually do something.
      As pointed out in the film this plan didn't start or end with NASA but at Lockheed-Martin but if this is to ever become reality it would eventually fall into the hands and prevue of NASA for the US to become actively involved and from there hopefully an international collaboration.
      Any truly viable space exploration initiative will have to start on the national level but only as movement to join an international one as a whole.

    2. matt732

      I agree, we should go to space as individuals, not as nations. It is individuals who achieve excellence by their effort. Within nations a is a vast range of excellence in people and attributing success for the achievement of individuals to whole nations is racist and stupid. It's simmilar in logic to praising a whole class of students, because one is very smart. But... there is one exception: when a free nation achieves success, and the achievement is just an expression of a nation's greatness, for example the Americans landing on the moon, USA being a free nation as opposed to regimes like Soviet Russia. The pride of Americans in landing on the moon was justified, because there the "entire class of students" was really better, having freedom - the basic condition allowing human greatness.

  11. Moon Monika CH

    I liked this documentary. Not sure how realistic this all is (knowing humans) but it would be great if things went as described here.

    I just wonder - isn't the lack of the magnetic field a problem? As far as I know without it the atmosphere can be blown away by the solar winds. How are they planning to keep the atmosphere there even if it is generated over long period of time? Or did I miss something?

  12. erkki hagelin

    we cant fix our planet and your talking bringing back to life old dead planet? what are u? KIDS? take 45bil or 250bil from military and fix the smoke from factory or whatever causing problems to my home, our home!

    not to some " marsian kids " who i dont give f about.

    1. cindy manoog

      Mars is not as dead as they make you think, the atmosphere is blue grey and not red, that is complete BS. look it up, they do not want you to know it has life.

  13. Kip Keino

    If humans are to survive as a species, it's imperative to colonize outwards. There are and will always be grave problems on Earth.

    1. Pysmythe

      Real space colonization is the thing I wish I could live long enough to see. It is the dream that helps me get to sleep at night.

    2. cindy manoog

      Fng earthlings are too fng dangerous to go into space, there are rules and we are not allowed.

  14. Kip Keino

    Like it! in 2012 I wrote a sci-fi ebook titled; Mastodons on Mars. Check it out. Has similar themes plus more.

  15. Paul Gloor

    But the idea is, this is our home planet, it is very important and we have to protect it... pft... I think we're doing more to damage earth than any martian bacteria could.

    I think a mission to mars is a REQUIRED focal point. Without the goal, we think about all our petty things and differences and life continues a downward spiral. With a mars mission looming, we think about people living in a collapsed ecosystem and how we can make them prosper. That technology applies here... right here at home, right now !!
    It is not the realm of private enterprise to pave the way to a positive future, as can be seen how well its working now.

  16. sandae

    to maxxxeee,

    I admit what you're saying but isn't it different whether we have to survive this financial crisis of our own making and whether we want to pursue better possibility of technology and science?
    I mean we live in a complex world where what each one of us is doing always affects other people's lives. That is how animals on earth have been surviving so far. True human beings are exceptional in that we can rationalize our thoughts and exchange them beyond our biological and psychological limitation. As a result of this, our lives are always being interrupted in one way or another,most of which I believe are money related. Sooner or later, part of the world will be a "stand alone complex" world.
    But we have to divide such direct reflection of what we do everyday from scientific discoveries by a few giniuses.
    And as long as we have to live in the world of science and know if we know who we are, we should devote to being acquainted with more of the literacy for the science.

  17. tan qiu yan

    maybe then. we could establish the religion of the floating spaghetti monster

  18. Ne Larkin

    Very interesting, but would humans destroy Mars as they are destroying Earth??!!! Why not take same resources & fix the atmospheric, environmental, political, & social disasters man have created on Earth & then think about Mars after??!!

    1. Kåre Johan Teigen

      How do you destroy a baron desert, or are destruction in your eyes the breath of life.

  19. Angel San Lorenzo Hernandez

    I Agree whith Chrosmata . The lack of magnetic field may be a great problem in order to keep life in Mars but meanwhile why don´t try to reach Mars as visitors.

  20. toddy potseed

    by nature human kind are explorers. There has been always someone who wanted to see whats around the hill or across the body of water. Even though people on Mars may be a long while why not start to persue it now. It will be one step closer to happening. We did it once by going to the moon so lets do it again this time Mars. Yes we do have issues on the home front, but this could be a common ground issue to help solve them. Maybe its a pipe dream, but a dream is still a dream.

  21. pia96

    inspirational, I admire thats man's drive and passion.

  22. maxxxeee


    Great Documentary, Great idea, great people, I do really like it and the idea, but lets not loose sight of our home earth, we are in the worst financial mess we have ever had and it will get worse, about 3 billion people are hungry and about 1.5 billion are starving, huge amounts of money are spent in weapons and defense world wide, we wage war for profit or lies, we cant cure diseases such as cancer, aids, the heart, we are poisoning our planet daily, we are running out of fuel, technologies that are just amazing, cell phones, internet, etc, that educate us and let us communicate and learn are being used to dum us down. If I was an alien I would tell earth people "hey take care of your own house before you head out to change other neighborhoods, clean up your mess then maybe you can go" .................

  23. Chrosmata

    As much as I'd like to wish all of this could be true it's really just a pipe dream. Even if Mars once had an atmosphere and life, there must have been some pretty large forces that made it impossible. One of those forces is reality. Mars is roughly half the size of earth, and its core is barely molten. Meaning not a lot of gravity to hold an atmosphere if it had it. And second without a molten core, it has no shield against solar and cosmic rays. That being said even if it could hold an atmosphere, it couldn't even protect it from being scattered away from radiation. In my opinion we're not even going too much life evidence on Mars anyhow. As (again in my opinion) Mars used to be a part of the asteroid belt, more specifically the core of a protoplanet, or planet that was destroyed a long time ago. The asteroid belt is a debris belt from the event. Most of the rest of the stuff lies on the surface of the sun, the core itself lost a lot of mass and energy then, and now sits conciderably closer to the sun.

  24. cwmhale

    What about the Mars Monster!

  25. Deejay Es

    whats with these flags man , djeeezus , why don't we have an earth flag ?

  26. terry tibbs

    so, he thought about doing something like a mars mission aged 9 (a normal fantasy of his generation). has since been getting older and better at thinking about how to do this, trying to influence others about it, but isnt it time he just grew up?
    everyone knows theyve already been to mars, secretly, there wasnt any gold there and are now theyre tapping, drilling the vast resources of un-obtanium found on the secret 9th planet nibiru, because they can feed it to the lockness monster in return for its hamburger faecies.......

    1. David Griffith

      Yep, he should grow up. It's not like everyone's childhood dream to take a ship to the bottom of the ocean, or fly through the air, or walk on the moon have ever been fulfilled. Damn kids, and their imaginations, they simply have no place in today's world.

  27. Pythus

    nice soundtrack

  28. Hussain Fahmy

    Conversion of the Weapon Industry to Space Development could generate lost employment and begin life in Space.

  29. TheDanishViking

    Great movie!

  30. Devon Griffiths

    The idea of colonizing Mars is not just science fiction, it's science fantasy. It has no Van Allen belts and is exposed to direct solar radiation. It does not have the gravity to hold an atmosphere. Even if it did, the idea of creating a breathable atmosphere there when we cannot even maintain this one is absurd. Nor will it do anything to solve our population problems - it could not do so, even if it were perfectly suited to human life right now. The cost of transporting millions or billions is greater than all the resources and production we have.

    It could be worthwhile to send a manned expedition, but colonization of planets in gravity wells is simply not the future of space exploration.

    Yes, we could build artificial environments on Mars - but why? We can build them much easier in space itself. If humans are to become a spacefaring species, they must learn to live in unfamiliar environments, not familiar ones. We stay out of gravity wells and acquire the resources we need in low-grav environments, using centrifugal force to create artificial gravity. We obtain energy from the sun, water and minerals from asteroids, never having to expend massive amounts of fuel to enter and leave gravity wells. Gravity wells are prisons and I believe a spacefaring species does not move between them, but simply escapes them altogether.

    1. John Pepper

      @ Devon Griffiths Couldn't agree more and nicely wrote btw.

    2. David Griffith

      Err -- Mars DOES in fact have enough mass to hold an atmosphere, though does have a weak magnetic field which makes the planet susceptible to solar radiation, you are correct on that point.

      So, 'how do we strengthen that magnetic field?' is the question. By the time that question needs to be answered, it will probably be a simple problem to solve. Mars has a lot of geothermal energy. Maybe that could be put to work in a giant, planetary electro-magnet to artificially enhance the existing magnetic field?

      My point, is what was explained in the movie as 'using a twenty-first century mind to solve twenty-third century problems' (or something to that effect). There's a lot of energy there that can be used, or generated some other way that can solve this problem.

      Also, we wouldn't simply be transporting millions or billions of people from Earth... That would be foolish. For a long time it would be scientists on research missions, and eventually some settlers, but who would they consist of? People who can be self-sufficient, and have scientific skills. For a long time, these are the only types of people Mars could afford to have. And they would eventually have children, and develop a community -- so long as they have the resources for this expansion. And thus leads to the crux of my argument, shipping billions of people to a planet that has a few vacancies isn't just unrealistic, it is impossible (if the intention is for them to live). Their expansion rate will likely be based on their ability to adapt to this environment through scientific progress that makes their lives easier, which isn't going to happen in 10, 20, or 50 years.

      As for your opinion on space faring civilizations... I don't think we can really be where you suggest until we leave our solar system entirely. That's years, years ahead of what we can accomplish on Mars. And besides, in all of the work done there, a lot of valuable and necessary specialized technologies and data can be gathered on space travel, and living in inhospitable places.

      I'm also not discounting your ideas on fuel expenditures from planets to space. I think it would be almost entirely necessary to have a lunar, or space base to launch and serve for heavy transit. That being said, Mars will have to be sustainable anyways and can't rely in any large part on what Earth sends (at least after the beginning). I would imagine that we could have infrequent 'bulk supply' missions to get materials to a Moon base, then ships, building, etc. could be constructed there and launched on separate missions more cheaply. But all of this might be moot if we can find a more efficient fuel.

    3. maxxxeee


      Great Documentary, Great idea, great people, I do really like it and the idea, but lets not loose sight of our home earth, we are in the worst financial mess we have ever had and it will get worse, about 3 billion people are hungry and about 1.5 billion are starving, huge amounts of money are spent in weapons and defense world wide, we wage war for profit or lies, we cant cure diseases such as cancer, aids, the heart, we are poisoning our planet daily, we are running out of fuel, technologies that are just amazing, cell phones, internet, etc, that educate us and let us communicate and learn are being used to dum us down. If I was an alien I would tell earth people "hey take care of your own house before you head out to change other neighborhoods, clean up your mess then maybe you can go" .................

    4. Devon Griffiths

      Indeed. One thing people do not seem to grasp is that any sort of long-term or long-distance space exploration simply is not possible for a culture that cannot manage limited resources in a closed system indefinately. The idea that it can is a joke. There is no possibility at all for space exploration at any range or for any duration, when this spacecraft we already live on cannot be managed, despite such an abundance of resources and such eminent suitability for our habitation.

      If there are spacefaring races out there, they are all past masters at lossless resource management in a closed system. There is zero chance that any of them are incapable of maintaining the atmosphere, land, food, water, and population on their homeworld. Learning to do that would be just the first baby step in becoming a truly spacefaring civilization, the easiest part, since a homeworld would already have plentiful resources and be far more forgiving of waste than the hostile depths of space could ever be.

    5. Stevie_Mc

      Also agreed - but not 100% - our problem is that the wrong people are making the decisions for the wrong reasons. Unfortunately, the people in power operate a philosophy of greed and that is why people like you and me see our resources being squandered, however, they are squandered in exactly the right way to make some people extremely wealthy and powerful.

      The mistake that these "Elite" have always made throughout history is that they get far too greedy and when the gap between the richest and the majority grows too great - well, there is usually a re-balance.

      I do have some hope, though. I believe that ordinary people are far more informed now due to the Internet. I believe that we have a slim chance that in the harsh light of global scrutiny we, as a species, can start to make the right decisions and that we can reach for the stars again.

    6. Crystal Neubauer

      My computer is insistent that I pose as someone else; sorry Crystal. I hope you like my position.
      Mars should be explored by humans. Terra forming mars is impractical. I would still go to Mars even with the fore knowledge of no return simply to advance the possibility of success after we find a more suitable goal for long term or more complete emigration elsewhere.
      Current teaching suggests that the lack of protection from a viable magnetic field in conjunction with a weaker gravitational field led to the untimely demise of the Martian atmosphere. The cost and time to correct these issues suggest it may be unwise to just show up and start producing a new atmosphere.
      The value of Mars as a learning tool, a staging post, a stepping stone, etcetera is too important to pass up. Yes , humans should go. Humans should search for signs of life. Humans should mine asteroids for resources. Humans should move humanity forward.
      Sure doesn't sound like one mission to me.
      I like the good doctor's passion but have to accept the possibility his demeanor strikes many people as always angry and I suspect that may affect his chances for securing funding. Bummer. I would really like to go on that ride.

    7. Aidan Skillings

      Did you think radiation in space would be less damaging than radiation on Mars? That said, centrifugal force generated gravity is not as easy as it sounds. Why add to the technological challenges when nature has already solved them? But you're right, Mars colonization is not something that will solve population problems. The only feasible solution there at the time is to start building vertically more often, or start creating cities on the seas, kind of like those massive oil rigs. But I digress, Mars colonization can give us experience, reinvigorate the space industry and inspire people. Not to mention, we can learn much more about Mars and the potential for extra-terrestrial life on foot than through an immobile and slightly clumsy robot. Mars DOES have something to give us. And I say it's worth the challenge.

  31. marcosanthonytoledo

    The space program has been a dog and poney show for the last 40 years we waste more on stupid unnessary wars than we ever spent on the space program it about time we invest in our real future for once greaqt show.

  32. scruffy12u

    full of hope that one day it will happen in my life time but as on earth it all down to cash

  33. joshua89

    What a great and inspiring documentary. I do hope that before I shuffle of these mortal coils, I get to see mankind on others planets. Maybe even talk a walk myself.
    Keep reaching for those stars.

  34. Carl Hendershot

    Uggs seen this already.

  35. Carl Hendershot

    Finally something new.

  36. KsDevil

    I wish Zubron would stop makeing an emotional plea and begin making a scietific and economic plea. Politicans are immune to the emotions of the people but are very susceptible to their own ego and financial enticements.
    We just ned to get over the current financial mess first.
    Of course if Zubrin could find a way for an independen group to take on this project...I wonder if Virgin is heading in that direction.

  37. Crab_Nebula

    But Mars has no moon.. we gotta get to Europa , Enceladus, and Titan too.

    Name the spacecraft Astronomy Domine. In a tribute to Syd Barrett.

    1. Epicurus

      Mars has two moons, Phobos and Deimos

  38. DigiWongaDude

    Dr. Robert Zubrin is an unreasonable man trying to do an unreasonable thing - we could do with more of them. Triumph of a documentary.

  39. DigiWongaDude

    If this was made in 2006, (IMDB & it's reviews, says 2007), how does it refer to Obama three years later, in 2010 (ref 07:15). I smell a conspiracy theory. Maybe there's a secret society already on Mars...

    1. Vlatko


      The production year is 2006/2007. This is the updated edition (Director's Cut) which is released in 2010/2011.

    2. DigiWongaDude

      @Vlatko Spoilsport