Five tips for future Mars explorers

Mars miniseries
The “Mankind to Mars” panel presentation incorporates video clips from National Geographic Channel’s “Mars” miniseries. (NGC / Imagine / RadicalMedia)

If you want to maximize your chances of weathering Mars’ harsh radiation environment, get in the habit of eating broccoli.

That’s a bit of far-out diet advice from Ray Arvidson, a veteran of robotic Red Planet missions going back to the Viking landers in the 1970s.

Arvidson, a planetary scientist at Washington University in St. Louis, was among a trio of space experts holding forth at “National Geographic Live: Mankind to Mars,” a multimedia panel presentation hosted by the Seattle Symphony at Benaroya Hall.

The traveling show is inspired by the National Geographic Channel’s hybrid docudrama TV series, “Mars,” which finished its first six-episode season last December and has gotten the green light for a second season.

Arvidson and his fellow panelists – “Night Sky Guy” commentator Andrew Fazekas and Vanderbilt astrophysicist Jedidah Isler – make liberal use of video clips and graphics from the TV show to make their points about the prospects for finding traces of life on Mars, and perhaps building settlements there.

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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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