I have a new favorite TV show. ‘Mars’ on the National Geographic channel. It begins (well, I don’t know if this is how the show actually began because I sort of came in in the middle, but it’s certainly a start point as to plot development)in 2016 (announced by bold, white letters on a dark screen, very dramatic)with the planning process, which is actual current scientists like Elon Musk, Neil deGrass Tyson, Anne Druyen and a few I didn’t know, but talking real science, and then switches to 2033 (bwlods) and the dramatic re-enactment, or pre-enactment, I guess we should say.
When you think about it, this is using science fiction to run a simulated training scenario, to trouble shoot for potential future problems and brainstorm on how to solve them. Quite brilliant, really. It’s Star Trek that hits closer to home.
In the episode I saw (if this turns out to not actually be a series and was a one time, one hour documentary about landing on Mars, I’ll be disappointed)the crew survived a fiery landing while the gang at NASA or whatever watched in extreme tension. One (who I guess is Captain Kirk,unless he dies in episode 2, in which case he’s Joe Redshirt)suffered serious injuries while saving everybody else’s butt during the landing and is spitting up blood while they try and make the 75 kilometer hike from the damaged ship to base camp and stoically refusing medical assistance every two seconds.
I suspect the hero dude will survive because he is Buzz Lightyear, so to speak, and they’ve already got a funny, black guy, a cute nurse, and a serious, female Asian pilot whose twin (maybe) sister is at mission control and I half expected them to pull some chintzy sympathetic mind communication thing as a stunt but they didn’t do that, fortunately.
Will Buzz Chiseljaw make it to base camp alive? How will they survive the freezing temperatures? (spacesuits,I guess) How long will it take them to build accommodation? Will it be like Robinson Crusoe’s treehouse? Will anybody have sex?
Stay tuned.


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