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Nova Science Now: Can We Make It to Mars

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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(Mar 01, 2011)
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Editorial Reviews

Host Neil deGrasse Tyson will tackle one of science s major challenges in each episode, framed as a simple question that ordinary people wonder and worry about. Neil will guide us as he explores dramatic discoveries and the frontiers of research that connect each central, provocative mystery. Episode includes: 1) Space Dangers - Can we protect Mars-bound astronauts from deadly meteroids and the ill effects of radiation and zero gravity? 2) Next-Generation Space Suits -
Today s suits are notoriously bulky. MIT s Dava Newman is out to change that with a radical, and sleek, new design. 3) Space Food - How do you keep food fresh on a three-year round-trip to Mars? NASA scientist-chefs are cooking up some ideas. 4) Plasma Rockets - With a small sun for an engine, a new rocket might be able to zip us to Mars and back in under three months. 5) Profile: Vandi Verma - A daredevil engineer born in India now drives the Mars rovers.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Hosted by Neil Degrasse Tyson
  • Directors: n, a
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: PBS
  • DVD Release Date: March 1, 2011
  • Run Time: 60 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B004D7SBH0
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #66,132 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

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Neil Degrasse Tyson is a great host and the show is very interesting. It sites many of the technical challenges that will be faced if a manned Mars mission is attempted.
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This doc doesn't mention "War of the Worlds." I haven't seen Tom Cruise's remake anyway. From what I heard, human weapons did not kill the attacking aliens, germs did. Here, the work asks can we get to Mars and calculating many knowns and unknowns makes the journey so daunting.

The challenges are large. Will meteorites destroy the ship? Will the lack of gravity make human bodies turn to mush? How will we bring food and will the food stay fresh? Will radiation break down our genes and cells? How will a rocket not run out of fuel?

Here's my big beef: I think the work should have set out the parameters from the start. For example, the work ends by discussing a mechanical rover already on Mars. Why didn't the work start by saying, "We've put rovers on that planet, now what about humans?" It's only DEEP within the work that they speak about the distances between the two planets, the temperature on Mars, how the planet gets pelted with space rocks, etc. Many viewers may have asked naively, "It's our next-door neighbor. Haven't we already visited it?" In many ways, this work puts the cart before the horse.

I always confuse centripetal with centrifugal and this work helped me to distinguish between the two. Neil deGrasse Tyson is often narrating in front of screens that are incredibly fake. I couldn't listen to his words as I was astonished by how cheaply a blue screen was used behind him. Like all the installments in this series, there's a segment that has no narrator and is entirely written. This is fine if you want to read and can do so quickly. However, if you are more of an aural person, this will be irritating.

The work tries to be diverse too. It has interviewees of both genders. It emphasizes the life and work of a South Asian woman. The narrator is a brothaman, etc.
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