Look close and you'll recognize some Planetary Society experts
The National Geographic Channel has bet big on Mars. Tonight is the U.S. premiere of their new six-part miniseries: MARS, which tells the story of the first crew to land on the Red Planet in 2033, intermixed with experts discussing the challenges of such a voyage here in 2016.
And for full disclosure, I should say that I am one of those experts in the new series, as is one of our board members, John Logsdon.
The U.S. premiere of the show is tonight (Monday the 14th of November) and the first episode is already available streaming online for free.
I believe the existence of this show is yet another example of the public’s excitement about humans exploring the Red Planet. The production values and marketing on this are top-notch, the filmmakers put a lot of work (and money!) into the show. That tells me that National Geographic predicts a sizeable audience that is hungry to understand the challenges and excitement of exploring space with Mars as our goal.
Also notable to me is the focus on SpaceX as the leading force to get us there. NASA hardly appears in the first episode. This may not be such a bad choice, as the new Trump Administration is currently evaluating whether or not to continue NASA’s current Journey to Mars focus of shift the efforts to the lunar surface. SpaceX can sustain its focus outside of politics, though it remains to be seen how their funding situation will evolve with a new Administration.
As Trump’s transition team begins its work, I hope that they will take an hour to watch MARS tonight and see the very real public support and excitement for human exploration beyond the Earth-Moon system.