Aired Wednesday January 19th, 2011 at 7:00 pm on KUED HD Ch. 7.1
NOVA ScienceNOW kicks off its new season with Can We Make It To Mars? premiering Wednesday, January 19 at 7:00 p.m. on KUED Channel 7.
Can humans survive a trip to Mars and back that could take two to three years? Hosted by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, this provocative episode explores the perils and dilemmas of such a journey and the innovative new technology and materials needed to make it happen.
The challenges faced by the space food lab at Johnson Space Center to serve fresh and healthy dishes that will last the long journey could inspire a "top chef" outer space competition. More serious is the threat of monstrous meteoroids, human bone and muscle deterioration, and perilous levels of radiation.
The program interviews scientists who are developing new ways to keep astronauts alive, using novel meteoroid-proof materials, artificial gravity, exercise, and new modes of transport, such as plasma rockets. But will this be enough? Astronaut Mike Massimino checks in with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on designing a less cumbersome space suit for future Mars explorers -- a form-fitting flexible suit that is more Captain Kirk than Neil Armstrong but still protects cells from the vacuum of space.
Can We Make it to Mars? also profiles young female scientist and daredevil Vandi Verma, part of the team that drives the Mars rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, who talks about the thrills and trials of driving on another planet.
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