National Geographic Channel has a new TV series coming in November: MARS. While I haven't seen the show yet, a bunch of short clips talking about the science behind the drama have begun trickling out. They feature a laundry list of amazing people. You've got Ann Druyan, Robert Zubrin, Charlie Bolden, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Peter Diamandis, Jennifer Heldmann, Elon Musk, Jim Lovell, Andy Weir, and many more.
If you have the slightest interest in Mars stuff, check out some of these videos. I can't wait to see more of this material next month!
1. PLANNING OUR ROUTE TO MARS
This is a two-minute intro to Mars Direct, a scenario sometimes called the "Zubrin Plan," in which humans pre-supply Mars in a series of missions prior to sending any crew there. Mars Direct, as a strategy, underlies now-famous science fiction like The Martian.
2. BACKING UP THE BIOSPHERE
What does it mean to colonize Mars, versus just visiting? Is it worth the time and money?
3. BUILDING SHELTER
Mars has a thin atmosphere, so its surface is subject to a lot more radiation than we're used to on Earth. What can we do to avoid irradiating ourselves when we land a crew on Mars?
4. CONTAMINATING MARS
Human arrival on Mars means human microbes contaminating the Martian landscape (making it difficult or perhaps impossible to determine whether there's microbial life on Mars). What do scientists think about this?
5. WHY SHOULD WE GO TO MARS?
What's the argument for going to Mars? Of course, we're all curious what we'll find there. But is curiosity sufficient on its own?