The National Geographic Channel‘s Mars mini-series directed by Ron Howard debuts on TV on November 14th. However, the first episode is now available for online streaming for free: Novo Mundo – MARS Video – National Geographic Channel.

We watched the episode last night and it was quite good. (Recommend watching it on a big screen.) The program is structured as a high production value fictional drama of a Mars mission in 2033, interspersed with documentary segments about what is happening in 2016 to make a Mars mission feasible and affordable. There is an emphasis in particular on what SpaceX is doing but they also include inputs from NASA and a variety of other sources.

Here is a nicely made short film that gives a backstory to two of the characters – Hana & Joon Seung – in the Mars series:

The ham radio station on the ISS plays a role in the story: A Guide to Ham Radio – MARS Article – National Geographic Channel.