National Geographic Martian Mega Rover 720p HDTV x264-DHD - 1.45 GB
Surging with confidence after the phenomenal success of the Mars rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, NASA scientists and engineers had big plans for the next mission – a mega rover, the Mars Science Laboratory, aka the Curiosity rover. “There was a group adrenaline rush throughout the entire Martian community,” says engineer Gentry Lee, “that was almost like, ‘we can do anything!’” This would be rocket science on steroids – a roving laboratory built to last years, not months, and travel a dozen miles or more over rugged Martian terrain, carrying a dream payload of scientific instruments designed to settle once and for all the question of whether Mars is or was ever was a place that could support life.
Martian Mega Rover, premiering tonight at 10P, tells the gripping, inside story of how those ambitious plans collided with enormous technical challenges and setbacks that doubled the budget and forced the launch date to slip more than two years. Veteran writer/producer/director Mark Davis, whose Emmy winning 2008 NGC production Five Years on Mars told the story of the Spirit and Opportunity mission, spent years embedded with the engineers and scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, capturing the dramatic mix of anxiety, despair, and elation that played out over the long struggle to get the Curiosity rover to the launch pad and on its way to Mars. He describes the experience: “The work these people do and the way they handle pressure is the most impressive thing I’ve ever seen. It’s been a privilege to watch it happen it from the inside.” Along with the human drama, Davis also brings the rover to life, visualizing the challenges it will face landing and operating on Mars with vivid, photorealistic CGI by Mars visual effects specialist Dan Maas.