The opening to the documentary The Mars Underground rivals with the best science fiction sfx Hollywood has to offer. It also gives one more arrow in the quiver of those who think the moon landings were a hoax a la Capricorn One. This documentary, which airs as part of the CBC Newsworld Passionate Eye series on Sunday July 19th 2009 at 10 P.M. is a must see for anybody interested in space, NASA, and anyone who works outside the system to realize a dreams.
The Mars Underground is way cool to watch. The opening, a shot of the 2016 Mars landing gets your attention. So does the statement man has not traveled further than some 380 miles away from earth since the moon landings 40 years ago. Of course being about space explorations and engineers who work or do not work for NASA, this documentary has a very high nerd content. This is more than made up for by the visuals.
The documentary clearly shows the main obstacle to Mars exploration is the conflict between the step-by-steppers and naysayers at NASA versus other engineers who believe we already have all it takes to send man to mars. Watching these segments will remind science fiction fans of the classic scene between the engineer who says it’ll never work and the engineer who goes ahead and does it anyways successfully.
Officially, the current and NASA plan is to complete the space station by 2010, phase out the shuttles, build a moon base (the documentary doesn’t say how) on the moon by 2020, and go to Mars … later.
Dr. Robert Zubrin, former NASA employee and former employee at Lougheed Martin Marrieta who in the nineties developed a spacecraft capable of getting to the red planet, makes a very solid case that we can’t wait that long and going sideways instead of forward is only going sideways. His parallel with the history of China and its first steps at exploration before pulling back is ominous. His plan to how to get to Mars is brilliantly simple and plausible.
In the end, The Mars Underground is a battle between people who want to take it a baby step at a time and those who want “a giant leap for mankind”
There are so many moments in this documentary that are thought provoking it is hard not to want to pause and talk about it. If you do not have TiVo, you will certainly want to record The Mars Underground which airs Sunday July 19th 2009 at 10 P.M. on CBC Newsworld.