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“Our aim is to redefine fact-based storytelling,” said Tim Pastore, President of Original Programming & Production for National Geographic Channel at the screening of their upcoming miniseries, MARS. The innovative series tackles storytelling in whole new way by combining a fictional story of the first manned mission to Mars with documentary style interviews to explain the science of reasoning of what is happening in the story. The story is set in 2033 and is based on the book “How We’ll Live on Mars” by Stephen Patranek; examining the scientific, logistical and cultural challenges of a mission to the red planet. The interviews offer a throwback to present year and speak to the best and brightest minds who are tackling a Mars mission, like Elon Musk, author Andy Weir and former Apollo astronaut Jim Lovell.

The mix of drama and documentary blurs fiction and reality to create a unique product unlike any that has been made before. The premise driving the whole project, both in real life and in the series is that Mars is the next frontier for mankind, both to quench our curiosity and to ensure our survival as a species.

But who would really want to go Mars? Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun and the second smallest planet in the Solar System, after Mercury. Visually, it’s a big red ball in the sky. Ben Cotton, who plays Mission Commander Ben Sawyer, told Hollywood on the Potomac he would probably have second thoughts. “It depends on how you look at it, I suppose. If you look at it from the perspective of history, if we become an interplanetary species we ensure the future of humanity then that might be inspiration enough to go, ‘Okay, I’m doing something bigger than myself.’ But yeah, I might rather be in a bar. Last I heard, they aren’t filming anything in Mars and I like acting.”