Transmissions From Colony One is a radio drama set in the near-future of 2057. Twenty years prior, United States President Richard Thorpe (R-CO) announced the start of a “New Dawn,” a global attitude shift toward widespread space exploration. Technological advents such as fusion energy, worldwide high-speed railway systems, and internet speeds faster than ever envisioned laid the groundwork for an economic explosion, but it lacked a platform on which to occur. Thorpe gave the world an outlet for its immense wealth, asking people across the world to simply look up for humanity’s future.
In the twenty years since, the world has changed drastically. MECTI (Mars Exploration, Colonization and Terraformation Initiative) was established with the goal of starting a permanent human presence on Mars. This meant using fusion-propelled rocketry, the construction of a massive space elevator to make transportation from the surface of Earth to low orbit more cost and energy-efficient, and the creation of a mammoth space station that would dwarf today’s International Space Station. All of these things needed to be done in order for MECTI to work. Now, twenty years after the birth of MECTI, the first crew, MECTI-1, is about to land on the surface of Mars, in the flat expansive region of Amazonis Planitia. This will be the first manned mission to the surface of Mars, and the first of thousands of MECTI manned missions to the Red Planet.
Transmissions From Colony One chronicles the on-board recordings of MECTI-1 as the international crew of sixteen (eight men, eight women) conduct their mission…
In 2010, series creator John W. Richter read an article detailing NASA’s idea of having the first manned mission to Mars traveling on a one-way trip – meaning whomever traveled to Mars would remain. The thought of people making this concious decision to sacrifice everything for the good of a mission intrigued John greatly, and the project was born.
Transmissions From Colony One is a project years in the making, at times in different formats. It had begun as a comic book series, then as a TV pilot. It wasn’t until 2012 when Zak White, a friend and colleague of John’s, had begun airing Murder on Skull Drive, a comedic murder mystery radio play. Upon hearing it, John realized that he could not only adapt this project as a radio drama series, but produce it for almost no budget whatsoever. It meant John would need to teach himself audio production completely from scratch, but it was a challenge he welcomed.
Pre-production for Transmissions From Colony One ran from July 2012 – February 2013. John quickly partnered with friend and colleague Dustin Weiskopf as story editor and creative consultant. Without budget limitations, John and Dustin realized they could be as ambitious as possible. The number of cast members doubled, and from locations ranging from Saint Louis to Los Angeles to Japan.
Production on season one spanned from February to May, with John directing every performance in every episode. In May 2013, the first audio teaser was broadcast on the website, along with the launch of both the official Facebook and Twitter pages. The Twitter page featured “Transit Logs,” daily Tweets from the fictional crew en route to Mars from Earth, which also follow the storyline of the series. On June 23, a video trailer was released, and on July 4, the 16th Anniversary of the landing of NASA’s Pathfinder/Sojourner Rover on Mars, Transmissions From Colony One premiered.