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What needs to be done to get us to Mars

Daedalus crew on "Mars"
The crew of the fictional Daedalus spaceship touches down on the Red Planet in “Mars,” a miniseries making its debut on the National Geographic Channel. (Credit: National Geographic Channels)

The “Mars” miniseries premiering on the National Geographic Channel is only the latest in a decades-long string of media projects laying out a vision for settling Mars – but this time, the creators say they’re sure the vision will actually come true.

“We’re in a zeitgeist moment right now,” producer Justin Wilkes told GeekWire. “There are enough people talking about Mars, thinking about Mars, dreaming about Mars, and now there are people who actually have the means to do something about it.”

The people leading the pack are at SpaceX, where billionaire founder Elon Musk has made the establishment of a sustainable city on Mars his lifetime goal. The 45-year-old Musk and other space luminaries lay out their case in “Mars,” in interviews that are interspersed with a fictional movie-style narrative about the first human mission to the Red Planet in 2033.

Musk sees the push to Mars as an evolutionary imperative, to ensure humanity’s survival in the event of a global catastrophe on Earth. Wilkes sees it the same way: “At its most basic level, it’s backing up the human species,” he said.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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