Mars 1001

Someday soon, the first humans will leave for Mars. They may be someone you know. Like the astronauts of the Space Age, they'll be blasting off to the unknown. MARS One Thousand One is the story of one possible mission that carries a multi-national crew to the Red Planet. Created by Mirage 3D, with live actors working on specially built sets and in green-screen studios, this 53-minute-long presentation is a captivating exploration of the kind of mission we'll soon see blast off to Mars.

MARS One Thousand One begins with a retrospective by veteran space reporter Miles O'Brien. He's familiar to Americans as the reporter who covered so many missions for CNN and has gone on to serve as an independent science correspondent for PBS NewsHour. In this movie, he plays himself from a future perspective. He introduces us to the concepts of the Mars IRIS 1 mission and its 1001-day voyage. Producer Robin Sip and his team have painstakingly recreated a mission control, complete with launch team, and Miles reports on the mission's progress from his anchor desk throughout the trip.

Launch is flawless and the mission gets underway. The crew of IRIS 1faces a few dangers along the way, including a solar coronal mass ejection that threatens their safety. Interior scenes show us how the team lives and works together, braving the dangers and anticipating the Mars landing to come.

Once on Mars, we see the team work on the surface, exploring the landscape, looking for water, and retrieving rocks in a search for the history of water on Mars. In an especially poignant moment, one explorer visits a spacecraft that she dreamed of watching during her childhood. The show has several such moments that tug at the heartstrings, and many others that explain to the audience just what Mars is like and what science the team is doing to understand its ancient past. All too soon, the Mars portion of the mission is over and the team heads back to Earth for a triumphant landing.

MARS One Thousand One is a visually beautiful show that brings the reality of Mars exploration to audiences. It's set just far enough in the future to seem real, but with crafty science-fictional touches that tell us it's still a ways in the future. It tells a story that we all hope to see and hear in our lifetimes: a trip to the Red Planet.

Run Time: 53 minutes