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Mars TV series mixes Elon Musk with sci-fi for mission to the red planet

Traveling to Mars and setting up a human settlement is not yet a reality, but a new television series promises to give us the closest view yet of how it might actually happen. 

Produced by Hollywood veterans Brian Grazer and Ron Howard (Apollo 13, A Beautiful Mind), the film is a combination of fact and fiction. It features an international crew of astronauts embarking on a mission to Mars and is interspersed with interviews with very real space travel professionals. 

Included in the interviews are space experts like Elon Musk, the founder of SpaceX; Peter Diamandis, the founder of the XPrize Foundation; and Neil deGrasse Tyson, the director of the Hayden Planetarium. In the brief trailer, each expert offers his or her take on what it will require to really put humans on Mars. 

But the foundation of the limited-run series centers on the fictional mission, which includes a fake website announcing the May 9, 2033 launch of the Daedalus crew. There's even a meticulously crafted press release that details the launch, which is imagined to take place at the Kennedy Space Center on Merritt Island in Florida. 

"Upon successful landing, the crew will immediately begin to secure a limited base camp and is tasked with identification of a subterranean space with access to ice and appropriate geological requirements needed to support a long-term habitation site," reads the faux press release. 

"Once the first human settlement is established, the crew must sustain itself until future landings in 2035 and 2037 expand the settlement with deliveries of both cargo and additional human occupants."

Based on the trailer alone, the series appears to be a perfect marriage of science fiction and fact, which may serve to stoke even more excitement around the notion of humans one day making a permanent home on the red planet. The series will debut on National Geographic in November. 

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