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January 1973. The first manned expedition on Mars led by the Colonel Edward Carruthers of the American Space Fleet has finished with the loss of the communications with the Earth. To solve the mystery, a new crew takes off onboard Challange 142 for a rescue mission. In fact, rocket Challange 141 crushed on the red planet. Carruthers is the only surviving member out of the nine that composed his crew. Charged to have killed them, he is going to be led in front of a martial court and will certainly be executed. But while the rocket readies to take off from Mars, a stowaway monster embarks in its lockers.
Martian rescue expedition
Challange 142, led by the Colonel Van Heusen leaves the Martian ground without any problem but a first victim is rapidly to deplore: Joe Keinholz disappears without leaving any trace. While all put to the research of the disapeared man, Gino Finelli is the next victim of the monster. This time Van Heusen and his men have to admitt. Joe and Gino have been attacked by a monster that climbed onboard on Mars and the former prowls in the lower decks of the rocket. The appearance of the monster exonerates totally Carruthers who finally explains that members of his crew disapeared in the same circonstances.
Van Heussen would like Carruthers to admit his crimes
The monster is finally noticed in the aeration ways of the vessel. The Colonel Van Heussen traps their entries with the help of grenades. Unfortunately, the trap remains without effect and the thing seems insensitive of the attack. An other attempt with the help of gas will not be more fruitful and in the fight Van Heusen is injured at t he foot,an injury that foul and that provokes a leukaemia due to a space bacterium. Blood is necessary to maintain casualties in life, but blood reserves are in the lower decks of the rocket. It is now a question of surviving between the monster and the crew.
Lieutenant James Calder and Carruthers decide to walk outside the rocket to access under the monster in a lower deck. Despite the ingenuity of a new plan to electrocute the thing, Carruthers must quickly turn back, while Calder remains trapped in the room, only surviving thanks to a blowtorch he uses to repeal the thing...
Calder attempts to repeal the thing
Spoiler ! the end of the story is revealed below…
Impotent, the rest of the crew flees on the bridge, the highest floor of the rocket. But the monster that seems invincible gets their level. In a last effort of surviving, all dress their spacesuits and as the beast arrives on the bridge, they open the exit sieve, depriving thus the monster of the necessary oxygen for its surviving that finally dies. On the nineteen men and women who step on Mars, only six are back. A hard test that allows to qualify Mars of "Death Planet".
The crew finds refuge on the bridge
The scenario of this film is a deja vu experience. The pursuit inside the aeration corridors of the vessel, members of the crew who disappear one after another, the extraction of the monster out in space... many common resemblance with "Alien", the famous cult film directed by Ridley Scott. Alien existed already in 1958.