Episode Summary

Written and Directed by Michael Jorgensen

Dr. Paul Delaney, Professor Physics and Astronomy at Toronto’s York University; and Dr. James Garvin, Lead Scientist for Mars and Lunar Exploration at NASA, guide us though the primary challenges.

International co-operation is key

Leonid Gorshkov of Russia’s Energia Space Agency proudly shows a mock-up of the world’s first manned interplanetary spacecraft, Klipper.  After 40 years of building and launching the Mir space station, the Russians have invaluable experience in deep space.

It will take at least six months to travel the 56-million kilometres to Mars. The window for a safe return trip might take 1½ years to open. The European Space Agency is tasked with finding the best trajectory for the mission.

The effects of zero gravity can lead to dramatic loss of body strength and bone mass. Radiation may prove deadly. Scientists are developing space suits that are both protective and flexible. They are also puzzling over how best to create artificial gravity.

Experiments are being carried out in some of the harshest places on Earth. NASA is field-testing a prototype Martian suit in Arizona’s inhospitable Meteor Crater; scientists are searching for life organisms in Chile’s hostile Atacama Desert; and others are testing drills for trying to reach water through the frozen tundra of the Canadian Arctic’s Devon Island.

The search for life on Mars may give clues on how that planet could be colonized. Should a major disaster occur on Earth, the inability to emigrate to another planet would make humans as vulnerable as the dinosaurs in ages past.

Links and References
James Garvin
Dr. James Garvin began his NASA career in 1984 and is currently chief scientist for NASA’s Mars Exploration Programme and the newly initiated Lunar Exploration Initiative. He is a co-investigator on the Mars Orbital Laser Altimeter on board NASA’s Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft, which is operating in orbit around Mars. Garvin was the lead scientist on the NASA team that restructured Mars exploration in 2000 and the first scientist in NASA to endorse the strategy of sending twin Mars Exploration Rovers to the surface of the Red Planet in 2003. Since then Garvin has worked with the scientific community to develop a discovery-responsive program of robotic exploration for Mars. He is currently also involved with the development of exploration measurement goals for the 2008 Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter mission. He is a frequent guest on television as a space expert and in 2003 filmed ‘Mars on Earth’ in Iceland for the Discovery Channel. He has never “met a rock that lied to him” and he hopes humans will some day bring priceless rock samples from the Moon and Mars for scientific study on Earth.

Pascal Lee
Dr Pascal Lee holds a M.E. in Engineering Geology & Geophysics from the University of Paris and a M.S. and Ph.D. in Astronomy and Space Sciences from Cornell University. He is co-founder of the Mars Institute (dedicated to furthering the scientific study, exploration and public understanding of Mars), a planetary scientist at the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence Institute and the principal investigator of the NASA Haughton-Mars project. Lee’s research interests focus on Mars, asteroids and impact craters. He is particularly interested in the history of water on Mars and in the geologic and physical conditions that allow life to develop on planets. Lee often visits the Earth’s polar regions and other extreme environments to explore possible parallels and differences between the Earth and Mars. He is an advocate of human planetary exploration and has written and lectured widely on planetary science and exploration.


“Mars Rising” Episode 1 Journey to the Red Planet
Scientists and experts
in order of appearance
Nationality Company or Institution
Paul Delaney Canadian York University, Professor of Physics and Astronomy. Director, York University’s Observatory
James Cameron Canadian NASA Adviser. Science team 2009 Mars Science Lab. Member Mars Society. Three time Academy Award-winner (‘Titanic’)
James Garvin American NASA’s Chief Scientist Mars Exploration Program and Lunar Exploration
Scott Horowitz American NASA, Exploration Systems
Sergei Stoiko Russian Human Interplanetary Missions
Head of Design
Leonid Gorshkov Russian RSC Energia, Exploration Strategist, Spacecraft Designer
Loredana Bessone Italian European Space Agency, Aurore. Human Mars Mission Study Manager. NEEMO assessment
Stan Borowski American NASA Glenn Research Center, Advanced Concepts Manager Space Transportation Projects. Nuclear thermal rockets.
Jerry Linenger American NASA Astronaut, MIR Cosmonaut. Aboard International Space Station MIR for 132 days
Rostislav Bogdashevsky Russian Centre for Cosmonaut Training, Moscow
Jeffrey Hoffman American Former NASA Astronaut, 1,000 hours Space Shuttle, Professor Aeronautics & Astronautics MIT
Dave Williams Canadian Canadian Space Agency, Astronaut. Crew commander NEEMO 9. Training for 3 space walks Shuttle Endeavour August 2007
Chris Hadfield Canadian Canadian Space Agency, Astronaut. First Canadian to operate Canadarm in space. NASA Chief of International Space Stations
Steve Metzger American Tuscon, Planetary Science Institute. Nevada Test Site, dust devil velocity
Ruslan KuzminRussian Russian Vernadsky Institute Russian Academy of Sciences,
Pascal Lee American NASA Haughton-Mars Project, Devon Island. Science fiction author, TV producer
Adam Stelzner American NASA, Landing Systems, Mars Science Lab
Neil Cheatwood American NASA Langley, Research Engineer
Dave Graziosi American NASA, ILC Dover’s lead design engineer for the projected Mars ‘softer’ space I-suit.
Chris McKay American NASA, Planetary Scientist
John D.Rummel American NASA, Planetary Protection Officer
John Hirasaki American Apollo 11 Recovery Engineer
Brian Glass American NASA Ames Research Centre