On Sunday evening Nov. 2, at 7 pm CST,(in the US; check your local listings) the National Geographic channel will be showing a special documentary on the Mars Exploration Rovers. It’s called “Five Years on Mars,” and dramatizes the trials and tribulations of the rovers Spirit and Opportunity and highlights new scientific information on the planet’s geology and water history.
If you saw the “Mars: Dead or Alive” and “Welcome to Mars” shows, this one should be even better. The show will feature photo-realistic animation based on the actual landscape as captured by the rovers’ cameras, and interviews with MER PI Steve Squyres and others on the rover team.
Check out the National Geographic channel’s website that has some very spiffy downloadable wallpapers (like the one above), videos and other information about the show and about the rovers and their mission. Robert Pearlman at CollectSPACE.com also has a great overview of the show and an interview with Steve Squyres.
When the landed on Mars in 2004, they were expected to collect data over 90 Martian days, or “sols.” But ninety days have stretched into almost five years, and a short-term science mission searching for evidence of ancient water has turned into one of the greatest adventures of the space age. The rovers have trekked miles across hostile plains, climbed mountains, ventured in and out of deep craters, gotten stuck in sand dunes, and survived dust storms and mechanical failures.
Mark Davis, who also served as writer/producer/director of the award winning “Mars Dead or Alive” and “Welcome to Mars,” teams with legendary animator Dan Maas (IMAX “Roving Mars”)
Don’t miss it!