The Mars 97 was a British spacecraft sent to Mars in 1997. It consisted of two modules, an Orbiter and a Lander. It was launched from Oxfordshire and coordinated from Mission Control in the National Space Museum in London.
The mission was to conduct a full geological survey of the Mare Sirenum to see if establishing a colony on Mars was feasible. However, British Science Minister Edward Greyhaven secretly planned to use the vessel to bring the Argyre clan of Ice Warriors to Earth. After the crew was killed, the Orbiter remained in orbit.
Lord Xznaal was crowned King of England later, and clan members began to enforce its rule in the United Kingdom with the support of their warship. Once in control, they created death camps for their human slaves and began experimenting on the prisoners and manufacturing the Red Death to kill the Eighth Doctor.
These actions led to Lord Greyhaven realising that the Ice Warriors had betrayed him. He triggered the Mars Orbiter's rockets by remote control and programmed the nuclear reactors on board to overload. He then set it on a collision course with the Argyre clan's holdings. Though Greyhaven was killed by Xznaal, he was too late and could only watch helplessly as the Orbiter obliterated his entire clan.
Behind the scenes[edit | edit source]
The Mars 97 mission is ignored by the Doctor Who television story The Waters of Mars, which referred to the human colony founded in 2058 as being made up of the "very first humans on Mars". Further complicating matters, an on-screen obituary in The Waters of Mars mentions that the captain of the Bowie Base One colony, Adelaide Brooke, along with two other unidentified astronauts, had already landed on Mars when Adelaide was 42 in the year 2041. The Waters of Mars clearly shows the planet as being inhospitable and uninhabitable in the 21st century, with a breach in the hull of the colony sucking air out into a vacuum. The Tenth Doctor also mentions that a flower in Bowie Base One's bio-dome was the "first flower on Mars in ten thousand years", and describes the Ice Warriors as "legends... from long ago". In the television story Empress of Mars, set in 1881, the Twelfth Doctor explains to Iraxxa that Mars' atmosphere has "all but evaporated", the surface is "lifeless", and any other Martians who may be hibernating cannot survive without help.