In a fantastically orchestrated science fiction ploy, one man interrupted your program and--despite a disclaimer--struck terror into millions of Americans.
What has kept this love affair with Mars and Martians going on for so many years? In the 1930s there was no space program yet, no fly-by planetary encounters, no orbiting observers, no surface landers. One thing that kept interest so high was works of science fiction that captured our imaginations. Writers brought us fascinating tales of Martian kingdoms. Movies, television programs, and radio broadcasts put vivid images of Martians and life on Mars in our minds.
This was probably one of the best known works of science fiction about Martians. Orson Welles adapted H.G. Wells' book The War of the Worlds for a radio broadcast. It was aired on Halloween night in 1938. The broadcast sent many people all over the country fleeing from Martian invaders and their deadly heat rays. Many people believed the story, since the War of the Worlds broadcast was aired like a special news report. The story appeared to break in through live music to inform listeners of the invasion. Many people did not hear the disclaimer that stated the story was only fiction. When people heard that aliens were invading they panicked.
Mission to Mars. An educational site created for the ThinkQuest contest.