CU Boulder Hosts Sneak Preview Of MARS, The Planet And Nat Geo Series

Bobby Braun served as a technical consultant for National Geographic's six-part miniseries “Mars”. Image Credit: National Geographic/CU Boulder

Bobby Braun served as a technical consultant for National Geographic’s six-part miniseries “Mars”. Image Credit: National Geographic/CU Boulder

November 29, 2016 – Fasten your spaceship seat belts. On Dec. 5, CU Boulder is hosting an advance screening of two new episodes from National Geographic’s current global series MARS, produced by Brian Grazer and Ron Howard.

Free and open to the public, the event will be held in the Glenn Miller Ballroom in the University Memorial Center from 6:30 to 9 p.m. The event will include participation by CU Boulder’s incoming engineering dean and aerospace engineering sciences Professor Bobby Braun, a veteran space systems engineer who has worked on several Mars missions and served as a technical consultant for the series MARS.

MARS is a hybrid series — part scripted with a cast of nine international actors and part scripted with the world’s most brilliant minds in space exploration. The series depicts the first thrilling manned mission to Mars in 2033 and its colonization. MARS premiered Monday, November 14, at 9/8c and continues each Monday for six weeks, with the season finale December 19.

The December 5 event at CU Boulder will feature Episode 4, “Power” and Episode 5, “Darkest Days,” followed by a panel discussion. In addition to Braun, the panel will include MARS actor Sammi Rotibi, as well as MARS on-air experts Leonard David, author of “Mars: Our Future on the Red Planet,” and Stephen Petranek, author of “How We’ll Live on Mars,” a short book that partly inspired the National Geographic series.

The event is hosted by National Geographic and CU Boulder AeroSpace Ventures (ASV), a collaborative initiative that includes aerospace engineering, Earth and space science faculty and students as well as industrial partners working to solve complex problems that lead to new discoveries and innovations.

Braun spent the first 16 years of his career at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, and has also worked at the Georgia Institute of Technology and at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. He also was a core member of the science team that put the first rover on Mars and has led the design, development and flight operation of many spaceflight systems.

In his role as a technical consultant for MARS, Braun worked with the writers, producers, director, set designers and actors to help guarantee the authenticity of the series.

“I really enjoyed being a part of this team,” said Braun. “Everyone involved cared about getting it right. From the development of the scripts to the sets themselves to the way the actors immersed themselves in these characters, it was a highly interactive process built upon real-world accomplishments being made in labs around the world today. This series is an accurate portrayal of how such a mission may happen.”

MARS also features interviews and sequences with entrepreneur and SpaceX founder Elon Musk, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, NASA astronaut Scott Kelly and other leaders in the field.