Mars (Doctor Who)
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Mars, the Red Planet
|Notable races||Ice Warriors|
|Notable people||Sutekh, Bret Vyon|
|Genre||Science fiction television|
Mars, the fourth planet in our solar system, has been featured in the Doctor Who fictional universe on a number of occasions. In the various Doctor Who serials which feature the Ice Warriors, mention is made that Mars is their homeworld.
History within the show
In Image of the Fendahl (1977), the Fourth Doctor suggests that nine million years prior to the 20th century, the malevolent entity known as the Fendahl passed by Mars on its way to Earth, fleeing the efforts of the Time Lords to trap it forever in a time loop.
Mars at that point was described as "dead", but from other accounts it is clear that it also housed the civilisation of the Ice Warriors, a proud, warlike but noble race who were capable of spaceflight. When the planet became more and more inhospitable, the Ice Warriors sent an expedition to Earth, but the ship crashed and was frozen in a glacier, unable to report back (The Ice Warriors, 1967).
Around 5000 BC, a powerful race of beings known as the Osirans reached Mars and set up pyramid-like bases there. They also travelled to Earth and influenced Ancient Egypt, seeming to the Egyptians like gods. One of their number, the evil Sutekh, who had destroyed their Planet and was the inspiration for the God Set, was imprisoned in a tomb on Earth, kept in a state of paralysis by an energy beam transmitted from the main pyramid on Mars itself. Sutekh would remain a prisoner until 1911 (Pyramids of Mars, 1975), when he took control of the Fourth Doctor and sent him to Mars to destroy the power source. The Doctor did so but was able to make Sutekh die before he escaped his prison.
During the late 20th century, Mars was a target of space exploration. The British space programme sent a series of manned missions to Mars. Mars Probes 6 and 7 made contact with a group of radioactive aliens orbiting the planet on a peaceful survey mission (The Ambassadors of Death, 1970). On 31 October 2006, the Guinevere One probe was launched by the British Rocket Group for an intended landing on Christmas Day, but was intercepted by the alien Sycorax before it could do so ("The Christmas Invasion", 2005).
The first human colonists arrived on Mars in 2058 and established Bowie Base One, a massive Bio-dome where frozen Martian water deposits were used to grow vegetation. On 21 November 2059, the colony was destroyed when mission commander Captain Adelaide Brooke initiated Emergency Code Five. There were no survivors. The Tenth Doctor's arrival on the day of the disaster revealed that a viral life form had caused an epidemic at the base after infecting the water supply. He surmised that the Ice Warriors may have attempted to contain the contagion by keeping it frozen underground. Breaking the Laws of Time, the Doctor rescued Adelaide and two of her colleagues from death and returned them to Earth. However Adelaide killed herself to keep the timeline intact. ("The Waters of Mars", 2009)
The Ice Warriors had not given up their ambitions to colonise Earth, however. In the mid-21st century a strike team was sent to take control of the planet's teleportation network, T-Mat, and use it to transport seed pods to Earth that were designed to terraform its environment to one suitable for Martian life. This plan was foiled by the Second Doctor and his companions (The Seeds of Death, 1969), and the Ice Warrior Fleet was drawn into the Sun.
Some time after that, the Ice Warriors' frozen ship was discovered by scientists during another ice age on Earth, and the thawed crew's attempt to seize the base was also stopped by the Second Doctor (The Ice Warriors, which the Radio Times listing placed in the year 3000, though other accounts claim around this era Earth was devastated by solar flares).
Centuries later, Mars and the Ice Warriors were part of a Galactic Federation that included Earth, Alpha Centauri and Arcturus. Mars was also the only planet to contain trisilicate, a valuable ore in The Curse of Peladon (1972). However, fifty years after the events of that story, in The Monster of Peladon (1974), trisilicate was also being mined on the planet Peladon. The Virgin New Adventures novel Legacy by Gary Russell places these events around the 39th and 40th centuries.
By the 41st century, mankind had established a colonising presence on Mars, as the Space Security Agent Bret Vyon claimed to have been born in its Colony 16 (The Daleks' Master Plan, 1965). In the far future, under the influence and control of the Usurians, a colony of humans temporarily moved to Mars, then on to Pluto after the depleting of Earth's natural resources (The Sun Makers, 1977).
During the events of "The Long Game" (2005), which takes place in the 2001st century, Mars is now stated to be home to a University of questionable reputation, although no further reference to the planet is made.
In many Doctor Who stories Mars has been terraformed for human habitation, though The Dying Days by Lance Parkin states this process is unnecessary as Mars can indeed support human life. The Dying Days, set in 1997, tells of a takeover of the United Kingdom by the Argyre Clan of Ice Warriors, whose nests on Mars are in turn destroyed by humans. The invasion was beaten back with the help of the Eighth Doctor, Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart and Bernice Summerfield.