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Astronauts walking on Mars.

National Geographic set to launch viewers into outer space with the global event series, MARS.

Of all the planets in our solar system, none has captured our collective imagination like Mars — a mysterious, indelible part of the zeitgeist. The quest to send humans to Mars has engaged the top minds in science in a modern-day space race, and it has infiltrated pop culture through blockbusters like Andy Weir’s The Martian and through out-of-this-world tweets from astronaut Scott Kelly.

Now, National Geographic Channel; Academy Award- and Emmy-winning producers Brian Grazer, Ron Howard and Michael Rosenberg of Imagine Entertainment; and Academy Award-nominated and Emmy-winning producer Justin Wilkes, Academy Award- and Emmy-winning producer Jon Kamen, and Dave O’Connor of RadicalMedia and visionary Mexican filmmaker Everardo Gout (Days of Grace), have joined forces to launch viewers farther into outer space than ever before with the global event series MARS.

Premiering on Sunday, 13 November at 20:05 CAT on the National Geographic Channel, DStv Channel 181, MARS — which is set both in the future and in the present day — will redefine television storytelling by combining feature film-quality scripted drama and visual effects with best-in-class documentary sequences to drive forward a cohesive, edge-of-your-seat story of mankind’s thrilling quest to colonise Mars. For more information, visit www.MakeMarsHome.com.

This epic six-part global event series tells the inspiring story from the vantage point of a fictitious crewed mission to Mars in 2033. Executive producers Howard and Grazer hand-selected Gout to direct all six episodes of the series, filmed earlier this year in Budapest and Morocco.

The scripted portion focuses on Earth’s first crewed mission to MARS aboard the spacecraft Daedalus. Its maiden voyage in 2033 is crewed by a carefully selected international team of six uniquely qualified astronauts, including:

American mission commander Ben Sawyer (Ben Cotton), Korean-American mission pilot Hana Seung (Jihae), Spanish hydrologist and geochemist Javier Delgado (Alberto Ammann), French mission physician and biochemist Amelie Durand (Clementine Poidatz), Nigerian mechanical engineer and roboticist Robert Foucault (Sammi Rotibi) and Russian exobiologist and geologist Marta Kamen (Anamaria Marinca). Back on Earth, the Mars Mission Corporation (MMC) control team based in London includes Hana Seung’s twin sister, capsule communicator Joon Seung (also played by Jihae), and French CEO of the MMC, Ed Grann (Olivier Martinez).

Once Daedalus successfully lands on Mars and sets up a preliminary base of operations, British nuclear physicist Leslie Richardson (Cosima Shaw) will lead a Phase 2 settlement team along with her husband, world-renowned experimental botanist Dr. Paul Richardson (John Light).

MARS truly brings together all of the world’s leading minds in a way never before accomplished — think of the world’s largest TED talk with the most fascinating people on Earth. Those interviewed on camera for the series include the following:

  • Charles Bolden, Administrator, Former Astronaut, NASA
  • Neil deGrasse Tyson, Director, Hayden Planetarium
  • Peter Diamandis, Chairman and CEO, XPRIZE Foundation
  • David Dinges, Director, Unit for Experimental Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania
  • Casey Dreier, Director of Space Policy, The Planetary Society
  • Ann Druyan, Creative Director, Voyager Interstellar Mission, NASA
  • Charles Elachi, Director, LPL (Ret.)
  • Jim Green, Division Director, Planetary Science, NASA
  • John Grunsfeld, Associate Administrator, Former Astronaut, NASA
  • Jennifer Heldmann, Planetary Scientist, NASA
  • Jedidah Isler, award-winning astrophysicist; emerging Explorer, National Geographic
  • Thomas Kalil, Deputy Director, White House Office of Science and Technology
  • Roger Launius, Smithsonian Institution
  • John Logsdon, Founder, Space Policy Institute, George Washington University
  • James Lovell, Former NASA Astronaut, Apollo 13 Commander
  • Elon Musk, South African born businessman, CEO SpaceX, CEO Tesla Motors
  • Stephen Petranek, author, How We’ll Live on Mars
  • Mary Roach, author, Packing for Mars
  • Jennifer Trosper, Mars 2020 Mission Manager, JPL
  • Andy Weir, author, The Martian
  • Robert Zubrin, President, The Mars Society

 

National Geographic will extend the MARS storytelling in an unprecedented cross-platform effort, including a six-part digital companion prequel series. Before MARS, which will launch prior to the premiere, is an extensive digital virtual reality experience at www.MakeMarsHome.com. There will also be the MARS Experience installation in New York City this October. Further, MARS will be the November cover story of National Geographic magazine and will be featured in a stand-alone National Geographic book, MARS: Our Future on the Red Planet, on sale Tuesday 25 October. The NG Kids book, MARS: The Red Planet, will go on sale 27 September. There will be media and educational materials for kids, a touring NG Live speakers’ series and ongoing MARS coverage on nationalgeographic.com.

Premiere episodes include:

MARS: Novo Mundo

Premieres, Sunday, 13 Nov at 20:05 CAT

In 2033, the first human mission to Mars enters the red planet’s atmosphere but the crew of the Daedalus faces a life-threatening emergency when the ship’s landing system goes offline. The crew’s commander risks his life to fix the problem as mission control monitors back on Earth. In the present-day documentary, SpaceX attempts to land the world’s first reusable rocket in order to pioneer the critical technology that will help humans reach Mars.

MARS: Grounded

Premieres, Sunday, 20 Nov at 20:05 CAT

In 2033, the Daedalus crew battles across the harsh Martian terrain to reach their prebuilt base camp. A race against the clock to reach the safety of camp begins when the ship commander reveals he has been injured during landing. In the present-day documentary, NASA astronaut Scott Kelly undergoes a historic yearlong mission on the International Space Station, revealing both the physical and emotional hardships astronauts face for space exploration.

MARS: Pressure Drop

Premieres, Sunday, 27 Nov at 20:05 CAT

In 2033, the Daedalus mission is in jeopardy as the crew struggles to find a permanent shelter that can provide long-term protection from radiation. The team must locate a suitable site for their settlement before their mission is cut short. In the present day documentary, the European Space Agency and Roscosmos, Russia’s former federal space agency, partner to launch an orbiter that will help future Mars missions prepare for settlement through advanced imagery.

MARS: Power

Premieres, Sunday, 4 Dec at 20:05 CAT

Four years have passed since the Daedalus crew landed on Mars and established the first settlement, Olympus Town. A new crew arrives to help execute plans for expansion and search for life. But a dust storm threatens the outpost. In the present-day documentary, the bustling McMurdo Station in Antarctica serves as a modern example of how humans will settle Mars, as scientists look for insights on how to discover life on another planet.

MARS: Darkest Days

Premieres, Sunday, 11 Dec at 20:05 CAT

In 2037, the dust storm has lasted for months and the Olympus Town settlement’s infrastructure is suffering as well as the mental well-being of its residents. The psychological pressures of life on Mars reveal themselves while the crew is trapped inside the habitat. In the present-day documentary, scientists study the effects of extreme isolation in various long-term analog missions in order to prepare for a future manned mission to Mars.

MARS: Crossroads

Premieres, Sunday, 18 Dec at 9/8c

In 2037, a devastating tragedy in the colony forces everyone on Mars and Earth to question the mission. While the Olympus Town settlement tries to cope and continue its mission, controlling groups back on Earth struggle with a potential decision to end the mission. In the present-day documentary, commercial space company SpaceX again attempts to pioneer the rocket technology that would help mankind reach the red planet.

MARS is produced by Imagine Entertainment and RadicalMedia for NGC. For Imagine Entertainment, Brian Grazer, Ron Howard and Michael Rosenberg are executive producers. For RadicalMedia, Justin Wilkes, Jon Kamen, Dave O’Connor, Jonathan Silberberg are executive producers. For NGC, Robert Palumbo is executive producer; Matt Renner is vice president, production; and Tim Pastore is president, original programming and production.