Few subjects have sparked the imagination and inspired more outlandish speculation than the planet Mars. Now, as our understanding of the red planet continues to evolve, we are able to contrast the reality of life on Mars against our imagined flights of fantasy. The differences and similarities are striking. What is the probability that humans can one day occupy this mysterious planet, and how might this planetary migration impact the evolution of our species? Calling upon recent scientific discoveries, the new documentary titled "Mars Calling: Manifest Destiny or Grand Illusion?" attempts to address these central questions.
The film traces the findings and theories of early astronomers like Aristotle and Galileo to the discoveries that continue to erupt in the scientific community of today. It's a complex trajectory during which many myths are dispelled, technological advancements make way for increasingly grandiose endeavors, and our knowledge of the planet begins to come into sharper focus.
From the outside, Mars appears to be an endless dusty landscape. Upon closer examination, however, scientists can detect large patches that once hosted vast amounts of water. This recent evidence has raised hopes for future colonization. NASA, as well as ambitious entrepreneurs like Elon Musk, is currently investing time, funds and talent towards this goal. The film dramatizes their plans to cultivate the planet's primary resources - including oxygen, carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus and sulfur - in an attempt to sustain human life and produce the rocket fuel necessary to secure a return trip home.
The film indulges in a wealth of sound scientific data, striking planetary animations, fascinating satellite and rover images, and appealing narration. The film's clear narrative and welcoming tone will appeal to both Mars enthusiasts and viewers who are not scientifically adept.
Given the planet's deceptive and inhospitable environment, including a surface shrouded in toxicity and drenched by incessant showers of solar energetic particles, colonization will not be an easy task. Even so, "Mars Calling: Manifest Destiny or Grand Illusion?" is an aspirational portrait of this ongoing quest, and a tribute to innovators past and present who have played a role in making it possible.