These days, it seems we can’t stop talking about Mars. From Andy Weir’s The Martian to Kim Stanley Robinson’s Mars trilogy now on hold for further development at Spike TV, everyone’s favorite red planet has become the focus on many current science fiction works. No doubt it’s a focus for science fact also, as NASA tracks discoveries on the planet’s surface with the Curiosity Rover and Elon Musk pursues the Space X project.
With all this obsession, we have to ask: What would it take to actually send a manned mission to Mars, with the intent of building a colony there?
Sci-fi and space exploration lovers won’t want to miss this exciting blend of fictional entertainment and documentary footage on what it would take to get us to the red planet in the next 15-20 years.
The scripted story portion of Mars follows a team of fictional scientists as they work to establish the first colony on another planet in the year 2033. Against the backdrop of the harsh realities of life beyond Earth, the characters struggle to survive and to get along. Produced by Ron Howard and Brian Grazer, and directed by Everardo Gout (Banshee), the miniseries promises some compelling entertainment rooted in hard science. Events in the series are extrapolated from research happening right now at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab, Space X and other organizations focused on astrophysics and the study of our solar system.
That’s where the other side of NatGeo’s genius comes in. The documentary side of each episode brings viewers face to face with the likes of Elon Musk (naturally); Peter Diamandis, whose XPRIZE spurred on advances in private-sector spaceflight; respected astrophysicist Neil Degrasse Tyson; scientists at NASA and others. The interviews from real-life planetary experts and space aficionados help to shed light on what makes a journey to Mars and attempts to colonize it plausible and promising.
The six-part miniseries airs on Monday nights on the National Geographic Channel, whose website features a special education section. After the miniseries ends, it will be streamed free for two months beginning on December 24.