Mae Jemison helps us find life on Mars

olonizing the distant planet of Mars has long been in the minds of science fiction writers, scientists – pretty much all of humankind. We’ve embarked on numerous space missions of the red planet, written scores of movies and books about it and long wondered about the potential of actually living there – particularly after this year’s election.

This month, we’ll get to delve deeper into the idea of life on another planet with the new six-part series Mars, which debuts on the National Geographic Channel on Nov. 14. The docu-series plunges humans on a mission to mars far into the future, in 2033 to be exact.

To accomplish this extraordinary feat, executive producers Brian Grazer and Ron Howard – yes, that would be Richie Cunningham – pull in the brightest minds in modern science and actors to expound on this idea, including Dr. Mae Jemison, the first black female astronaut to go into outer space.

The directors of Mars originally asked Jemison to explain what going to Mars would be like on the documentary side of the project. After some meaningful conversations, she was then asked to act as a space adviser to educate the cast and crew behind the scenes on the accuracy of things like space crew operations and space exploration.

“I helped to talk about crew operations both in the script as well with the actors and the cast,” Jemison tells BLAC. “How people might see things. So we can just start to think of how many people we have involved and the different people we have involved in doing space exploration, that’s really important.


“I think the other thing about Mars, in this particular project, is it does something very interesting. It takes ideas and documentary around how one would really do a mission to Mars and juxtaposes it to a fictionalized mission to Mars based on this real idea – and it has a real diverse cast and crew. So I think it’s a real step forward to think through things this way.”

Set both in the future and present day, Mars combines documentary-style commentary with scripted fictional prose to captivate audiences in the final 90-second countdown to a possible new life. Six NASA astronauts are featured, as well as some of the most prominent minds in science – astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson among them.

“I think if you look at the diversity of the crew, you look at how things move forward and you see the intricacies about working on the ground, private and governmental partnerships,” Jamison says, you’ll notice “there are a lot of issues in the actual series that sort of reflect on where we are today – not only in space explorations, but I would say in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Look at how much of our world is intertwined.”

Mars premieres at 9 p.m. Nov. 14 on National Geographic Channel. Visit and for updates and details.

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