17 years ago
Broadcast: January 4, 2005
(NOVA airs Tuesdays on PBS at 8 p.m. Check your local listings as
dates and times may vary.)
On January 3, 2004, a rover named Spirit, cushioned inside a pyramid
of balloons, hurtled through the martian atmosphere and crash-landed
on the dusty surface of Mars. Minutes later, Spirit sent its first
message home. NOVA captured the elation of the assembled scientists,
along with the much more involved engineering story leading up to
the landing, in the award-winning documentary "MARS Dead or Alive,"
which aired one year ago. That elation is the starting point for the
highly anticipated sequel, "Welcome to Mars." In this mission update
NOVA follows the Mars rovers Spirit and Opportunity from the second
they crash-land on the planet to many months into their ongoing
mission. The story unfolds from inside NASA's Jet Propulsion
Laboratory, providing a unique, behind-the-scenes take on this
voyage of discovery, whose primary goal has been to find evidence
that liquid water once existed on Mars.
Here's what you'll find online:
Inquiry, Interview & More
Life's Little Essential
Everybody knows that liquid water is necessary for life, at
least as we know it. But just why exactly?
Behind the Scenes
Producer Mark Davis talks about his extraordinary experience
filming alongside the Mars Exploration Rover team.
Man on a Mission
Before launch, lead scientist Steve Squyres reveals his hopes
and fears for the rovers.
Mars From Afar
See some of the finest images ever taken of the martian surface.
Interactives & Video
Mars Up Close
Steve Squyres narrates this visual tour of the rovers' most
Anatomy of a Rover
Examine the robotic geologists and their suite of scientific
Design a Parachute
Create a parachute strong and light enough to safely slow the
rovers in their descent toward Mars.
From Launch to Landing
Watch an animation of one rover's fantastic journey from
Earth to Mars.
MARS Dead or Alive
NOVA's first hour-long program on the Mars rover mission is
available to view online.
Also, Links & Books, the program transcript, and the