NatGeo: Mars – WHY SO SERIOUS?! | The Synthesis

Lacey and Alex discuss the National Geographic series, MARS, episodes 1-3. Why so serious ?! A somber show that clearly Lacey and Alex just LOVE….. ish…

𝕋𝕙𝕖 π•Šπ•ͺπ•Ÿπ•₯π•™π•–π•€π•šπ•€ is a live talk show that aims to find the relationship between science and fiction in pop culture. We’ll discuss a book, movie, or show each week that’s science-focused and talk about just how realistic it is, where reality is cooler than fiction, and exactly where certain liberties were taken.


Hey folks, this is Alexander Winn Lacey Hannan, who I think set me up when the video started here with the latest episode of The Synthesis. This week, we are talking about National Geographic’s β€œMARS” episodes one through three. And I have a question to start us off, do you? 


It’s not a nice question. 


Oh God, 


who was your least favorite character? And why? Oh, all right. Good tone. 


You can pick from the people on documentary side as well. Okay. 




tipping your hand. They’re a little lace. 


You know what, let’s just let’s just be transparent about who we are and how we feel. 


Yeah, yep. Yep. And who are you? And how do you feel? 


I hate Captain but I hate him. 


I hate him. 


All right, so National Geographics. Mars is a show that came out a few years ago. And it is an interesting thing because it it jumps back and forth between documentary and narrative. So you know, obviously, like the History Channel, the Discovery Channel, National Geographic, they do a lot of documentary shows. Recently, these kind of networks like History Channel have been getting into narrative shows, like Vikings and  that sort of thing. But this is both. And that is interesting. They’re taking a nonfiction book and adapting it with a fiction story, which was, you know, ambitious. And I 


mean, usually it’s a, it’s nonfiction with reenactment, right? 


So this, this feels like the first I don’t know if it’s actually the first of its kind with documentary and the narrative. 


Yeah, the completely original story. Yeah. 


So anyway, 


but yeah, it was it ran for one season of six episodes, and then was renewed for another season of six episodes, 


we’re doing episodes one through three of season, not that anybody knows why it was allowed to come back. 


So yeah, what do you think Lace? 


Let’s start. We’ll just start with the narrative stuff. Yeah. Okay. Because I listen, I don’t have terrible things to say about all of it. So let’s just, let’s start with the bad and then move on. Okay. Get it out of the way. Okay. Yeah. I do not enjoy the narrative aspect at all, unfortunately, um, I think that we, we have a bunch of characters that are mostly uninteresting, often illogical. One example of that is, we we this is, this is kind of, in Second, the second episode, which they are trudging towards their, the outpost from where they landed their ship. And there, they’ve got alarms going off saying, you know, your co2 is going up and all of this stuff running out of oxygen. Yeah. And the doctor 


keeps talking, the doctor who is presumably the one who best understands the need for air. 


Yeah. And she just won’t shut up. Like, I’m sorry. Captain Ben is passing out. You don’t need to keep talking to him. Like you’re not. Your job right now is not to keep him awake. Your job is to get him to the outpost to safety so that you can work on him. Yeah. And if you can’t work on him, because you’ve run out of air. He’s worked. Sorry, excuse my language. This, I’m gonna try and keep it down. We’ll see how well that goes. So it But anyway, it’s just like, there are all of these little things that are just super illogical. Some of it’s within the character, some of it is within the writing. Another one is while they’re trudging along, someone notes that they’re moving too slowly. And then immediately, the doctor says to Ben, who’s awake at this point. She says, you know, we can slow down. And he said, No, you know, we have we have to go faster. And it’s like, someone just said, we’re not going to make it. We’re going to slow and choose we can slow down. 


No, no, you literally, you literally cannot, you will die. So please don’t be stupid. 


Yeah, I think so. Lacey and I had a lot of conversations after watching these episodes about the show and specifically the narrative side and sort of what what was the problem because I feel like there was a problem and I wanted to love this show so much when it first came out, you know that this is exactly up my alley. This is the hard 


siphon joy enjoying thing. 


Yeah, we love to love things and we dislike disliking things. And but at the end of the day, I feel like really most of the sort of narrative Sins of, of Mars, come back to one thing, which is they’re trying so hard to make it dramatic. And so they lean in to all this stuff about like, hey, what if the what if something went wrong? Just as they were landing? Hey, what if they landed in the wrong place? Hey, what if one of them was injured? Hey, what if you know, it’s like over and over? And hey, what if there was a fire? What if all this stuff and then they start getting in each other’s throats. And it’s like, they just, they kind of reach for every opportunity to heighten the drama. And there’s so many scenes where people are standing around looking, shaken, and looking scared and looking worried. And it’s like, at the end of the day, going to Mars is inherently dramatic, it is inherently scary, you don’t mean to make it scary. And that I feel like it’s sort of this is the story that it’s like they needed to have watched the Martian, which I think this actually came out, either just before the Martian or just after the Martian. But whenever it was, they weren’t able to have watched the Martian when they were making it. But I feel like they really needed to because the Martian is a great demonstration of how your character can be upbeat and optimistic. And you can be listening to the frickin disco music while he works. And it’s still scary, because he’s trying to survive on Mars. And there’s a there’s a line from a show called Studio 60 that I think about a lot in a lot of different contexts. But it also applies to this, which is Studio 60 is a show it’s kind of like 30 rockets behind the scenes of a show like Saturday live. And there’s a moment where one of the performers goes up to one of the show runners. And she says, I got a laugh at the table read when I asked for the butter in the dinner sketch. I didn’t get it at the dress rehearsal, what did I do wrong? And he says you asked for the laugh. And she said, What did I do at the table read. And he says you asked for the butter. And it’s just this great, simple expression of the line is funny when she asks for the butter. It’s funny, you don’t have to make it funny. If you try to make it funny, it won’t be funny. All you have to do is do it straight, do it real and it will be funny. And I feel like that’s what the creators of this show needed to learn is you don’t need to make it scary. It is scary. And there are just so many times through the show that they try to 


they try so hard and like I mean, the bright flashing light of too dramatic is Captain but yeah. And, you know, the whole time his he’s got one mode. And I feel like the writers and the director failed him. And then his acting. I can’t. I can’t say exactly. I think I think it’s probably everyone’s fault. But it’s he was Loki tense the entire time. And you know, I didn’t mind that his first like his monologue to the crew 


about before they even launched. Yeah. 


You know, if you’re not ready for this go like that was kind of a funny line. Because like at this point, 


you’re probably committed at this point. 


Yeah, but the rest of it, I was okay with it being not this big, big pep talk. Like, that’s fine. And I liked it felt grounded. But then that serious tone was his entire character. And I I don’t understand why a leader. I say that with a smidge of sarcasm, would do what he does to his crew, 


which is he doesn’t tell them things. He doesn’t communicate with them. And to me, that doesn’t he doesn’t allow them to save the day. Yeah, he’s so busy trying to save the day that he doesn’t let his team Yeah, save the day by by hiding from them what they absolutely need to know he is failing them. And that’s not what leaders do. Leaders are supposed to be communicative. And we see later that the team is falling apart because he died, which, 


like understandable, but to the same degree. They were never a team. They always felt like a group of individuals. And the Martian doesn’t feel like that. I would say in our stellar felt that way. Apollo 13 


they definitely well, Apollo 13. them not being a team as a plot point. Yeah, exactly. One of them are a team and one of them is the new guy. Yeah. 


But they, but they still managed to end up working as a team. Yeah. So it’s like, these people felt so quickly into sniping at each other or not working together. Or, you know, the, it was another example of how it just felt. The whole thing kind of felt like it was shifting under my feet, was when we find out that the captain is hurt. The women are the only ones who seem to care. And the guys are treated as pack animals 


like the the men carry the heavy stuff and beast, the beast of burden. 


Yeah, the the women are, are fretting over their sick captain and the men are there to carry stuff. 


Yeah. And it’s just like, it’s so it’s so bizarre, to me how they set up this team and I get it, there’s going to be like, when something that wrong happens. Or goes that wrong? Yes, the team is going to be affected. And things might fracture for a moment. But they’re all going to rise up to the challenge of making this work. Because we 


have to, which I think is sort of the the biggest thing that was missing is there are no triumphs. Well, actually, there is one at the end of Episode Three, we finally get a win, which is when they set up the city, in the lava in the lava tube. And it’s great, there’s upbeat music, and people are smiling and like, this is what you want. Like it’s it’s a real win. But it’s it’s three episodes of just grim kind of, like, even the documentary side, they’re talking about how like, everything is everything is trying to kill you. And Mars is a graveyard and like, they’re all these quotes about how awful it is and how dangerous it is and how just What a nightmare it is. And then people are like, it’s gonna be the greatest journey in the history of humanity. And you’re sitting there going, why it sounds like hell. And you know, the no moment exemplifies this better than at the end of episode one. They’ve had a hell of a time landing, you know, like they it was, it’s a wild ride down onto the surface, and they finally land, they realize they’re in the wrong place, like everything’s going wrong. And then finally, at the end of Episode One, they step out onto the surface, and they’re all standing together in their spaces. And they’re in sort of a, like, an elevator kind of thing, and it lowers them down. And they, they open the gate. And the captain is standing in the front, and he steps out onto the surface of Mars. And this is the first time that a human has ever stepped on another planet. And he says nothing. He doesn’t say a word, he just walks forward. And then the next person steps out. And then the next person steps out and the whole thing is silent. And then just in case you thought that it was a mistake. There is a narration line that says there was no speech, no theater. Like it’s this Reverend moment, and I’m sitting here going okay, but like, there should have been, you know, like, Where, where is my one small step for man. Like, you got to have the first words on Mars. Literally, the first words on Mars in this universe, our mission control confirms the rover is 2000 pounds over payload with all of us on board. Those are the first words that humans spoke on Mars, like, Are you kidding me? Come on. This is you’re not going to give us a triumphant moment of the first words on Mars when you’re depicting the first words on Mars, and you’re 


going to tell me that you’re not filming the entire thing, or it’s not being recorded for people back home because everybody wants to be a part of this. This is this is not just SpaceX doing this. No, no, are the SpaceX analog. This is the what is the International Space Agency. This is for all of humanity. Yeah. And it’s bizarre. Yeah, totally bizarre that they just decided to make it about them. Yeah, there’s himselves Yeah, 


it’s it’s very weird, storytelling choice to, to just have no sort of ceremony around any of this. There’s no moment where they’re like, holy crap, guys. We’re on Mars. Yeah, yeah. I feel like it just they were just leaning so hard into making it dramatic, that they missed the parts. 


I’m one of the other things that really kind of drives me crazy through the whole thing is outside of the interviews with the astronauts, we don’t really see anybody smile. And, and even then, it’s not very often. And like, Hannah, the actress who played Hannah has an incredible smile. 


And we find out in Episode Three. Yeah, yeah. 


And it’s like, it doesn’t have to be huge. It doesn’t have to be a big celebration ever. Episode but something that that kind of, like brings us in, so that we’re not just watching them be traumatized over and over. We, we want to see people win. That’s what we want.

And we get zero wins until the end of Episode Three. And it’s horrifying. And like we we see the captain died and you want to know what my reaction was? He’s dead. Good. 


That’s not what will stop getting in the way. 


Yeah, like, like I was sitting there going, we wave who gets their spleen taken out, puts on a heavy ass like, shoot, and then goes, you know, mountaineering? Yeah. And it makes it and then you realize, Oh, no, this is like, his final fantasy. And he died. And I was just like, cool. We don’t have to deal with him anymore. Which I don’t want to say as an audience member, this is a guy that I’m supposed to be rooting for. And they didn’t pull me into his character. They didn’t give me any reason to trust Him, which I’m now realizing, through this show that I need. I desperately need things to latch on to, to trust our leaders. And it, I get it, that’s that’s gonna be true of everybody. You know, we want to trust the people that are leading us. But I didn’t realize how much it mattered to me and entertainment. Yeah, you know, I don’t I don’t deal well with the corruption side. Like I’ve recently learned that through d&d, like I don’t corruption stories super bother me. 


And this isn’t 


when the leader is an obstacle when you’re sort of wishing that this guy would cut the crap. It just takes away. 


How did he get here? Like, why would? Why would anybody make him the leader at all? And then there’s, you know, his backup is Hannah, who’s the pilot, and someone back at Houston says something along the lines, and we’ve got this pilot leading the crew. And I’m like, Yeah, man, you picked her first of all, and second. Yes, the pilot, like pilots often work together with a co pilot, just in case something bad happens. And the copilot takes over. Because that’s what they’re trained to do. It’s they’re trained to lead and they’re trained to handle this. And I was just, I was, oh, I was so mad. I was you guys. I was so mad. Anyway, I, I struggled. Yeah. So I I, let’s see, is there anything else that we need to touch base on the characters? Not great. too serious all of the time. 


I will say this for the narrative portion, which is that the production values are awesome. Yeah, this looks like a movie. It does. It’s beautiful. And it’s, you know, again, it kind of makes it more tragic that I didn’t care more about the story because it looks great. This is this could be a pier to the Martian. It’s honestly like you could sort of view it as the midpoint of the Martian and gravity This is what would happen if if the gravity rules applied to the Martian story where everything goes wrong all the time. Yeah. But they do a great job with you know, the rover looks very convincing. The rocket looks very convincing the hab like they Yeah, it’s, it’s and especially in in Episode Three, when they start exploring this giant cave. There were several moments where I’ve literally like sort of stopped the video and turned to Lacey. I was like, look at that shot, just you know, her dangling by this tiny, thin rope as she descends into this massive environment. Very cool. cinematography, 


I love I love watching people AB sail in film. I don’t know why. And it’s always right before something terrifying happens. So and I don’t do horror. So it’s it’s weird that I enjoy it. But nonetheless, I do. Yeah. But yeah, I think that I think that there are just, you know, one of the last, one of the last things I’ll say about the narrative portion, is it really felt like a lot of the acting was not meant for the show. It felt like it was meant for the HBO or something, you know, it felt like they were in the wrong. They were on a TV show. That was for National Geographic. And it felt like at minimum and needed to be an HBO show for them to be in, or it was a film. There’s different kinds of acting and it didn’t jive well for me at all. So there’s just like, they just they had some odd, they made a lot of odd choices, and they didn’t make things very clear and there weren’t the redundancies that we expect a multi billion dollar mission to have. So and you know, the redundancy, we talked about this in our stellar that there weren’t enough plans and stuff like that. So I just feel like we keep being let down and I don’t want to keep being let down. So I, I don’t have high expert, high hopes for the rest of this season. But it’s kind of where I’m at at the moment, anyway. 


Well, there’s an interesting thing that I found myself noticing throughout the show, but especially after episode one, which is that they kind of so you know, the whole show is, is, is designed around this sort of two sided structure. So we cut to the narrative side in 2033. And then we cut back to the modern day in I think, 2016. And they’re talking mostly about SpaceX. It’s a little bit of an ad for SpaceX, which, you know, is fine, because SpaceX is our best chance to get to Mars. But the odd thing is that they don’t really parallel each other that much. They’ll talk about stuff in the documentary side, and then the narrative side doesn’t represent that, like they’ll talk, you know, the the first time that I think I really sort of bumped on it is, in Episode Two, there’s this big period where on the documentary side, they’re talking about how, you know, on the journey to Mars, you’re going to be in zero G. And they talk about the toll that that takes on your body, and they talk about modern astronauts, and some of the things that they have to deal with, and how, you know, we may not know for years, what they’re sacrificing because of the radiation, and you know, all this stuff. And especially, they talk about how you’ll be really weak when you get to Mars, because you’ve spent so many months in zero G, that you won’t have the muscle mass. But then the characters in the narrative side aren’t weak, that they’re not representing what the documentary is describing, which I thought was odd. Like, I kind of want to learn more about, you know, like, did they shoot all the narrative stuff? And then do these interviews? What was it that led them to highlight these really big things? And then not do that? In the I 


mean, I think that it’s because it’s specifically made to be a a new form of storytelling, because otherwise, it would just be like all of those crime shows where it’s like, we’re going to interview the investigator, and then we’re going to recreate it. Yeah. And I think I think it’s interesting that they weren’t recreating what they’re talking about. 


Yeah. I mean, it doesn’t need to be one to one. But it just, it seems like when you’re when the whole point of a show, is to depict realistically how something would work, you would do that, you know, like you would take the thing that you’re pitching as being an element and make it an element of the story. 


I hear that but I don’t know that the narration is really all that realistic. 


I feel like that was what we were sort of build with a show. Like I agree. What I’m saying is, I think that it isn’t really but it’s odd, because that seems to be the whole point of this show is documentary match with narrative that the implication is that we’re going to be showing you in the narrative what we’re doing in the documentary, but 


that would just but to me, again, that it just comes back to trying to tell a story, while telling the true story of what it’s going to look like to get to Mars rather than recreating the true story. Because that’s, that’s like the true crime stuff. Yeah. And so I imagine that they were trying to figure out how to navigate that. And I wouldn’t mind it if some of it overlapped a little bit more. But I, I, I hear you. Yeah. Just a response to imana economist. So in talking about like, the different styles of acting, 


your mom economist, by the way, asked in the comments, I’d love to hear more about these different types of acting for different media. 


Oh, yeah. Sorry, guys. So they’re, they’re like, you can kind of think of it as breaking it down for different levels. When you’ve got that really, really simple. Simplified acting. You’re talking about something that’s going to be on HBO, you’re going to we’re looking at suddenly, I’m not coming up with any of my what’s the one that recently Oh, shoot, I’m gonna look it up. I’m gonna look it up while we’re sitting here. The the actor from Arrested Development, What is his name? You’re not gonna whatever. But he’s got this really like dramatic TV show that’s in like, the third or fourth season. And that is, it’s really pulled back. The show with Yeah, Jason Bateman. And I We’ll figure out the title of it. But then you’ve got something. So like a couple steps up, you’ve got the CW, which is melodramatic. So you know that’s going to be Riverdale, it’s going to be your DC shows, it’s going to be your vampire shows, where it’s teen drama is really the audience 


heightened emotion. 


And then the next step is going to be your comedies that are over a little bit more over the top, even, you know, even when you’ve got characters who play a lot smaller, like, you’ve got the office, you’ve got Michael Scott. And then you’ve got Jim Wright, and they still live in, they still inhabit the same world. But there’s really big, and then Jim is playing to the camera. And then you’ve got the next step, which would be like Nickelodeon, and Disney and, and things like that. So that’s kind of that’s, that’s what I mean when you’re talking about different styles of acting. And the Jason Bateman show is Ozark on Netflix. And now you know, that’s even Handmaid’s Tale, it’s really pulled back. So you’ve got a couple different levels that you’re talking about. And I felt like this played a lot more in the was the tone of this was a lot more in the three, where it’s it was very melodramatic writing and all of that stuff. But all of the actors were in Ozark. And it was pulled back so much that it made it even more dramatic, in a way that it was like, let us tell you how high the stakes are, without, without really the story owning up to how they would have prepared for this. 


And I guess I guess that’s a good way of putting it for a lot of the things that we watch on the synthesis is, there’s a there’s an asymmetry in the quote unquote, realism that they tried to attribute to the consequences. And the realism that they tried to attribute to the actions of our heroes that like in you know, Mars is trying to sell us the same thing that gravity tried to sell us, which is the stakes are high, but the prep was low. You know that like, in the Martian, the stakes are really high, and things go wrong a lot. But they also prepped for a lot of them, you know, our hero is capable of responding to them. And so there’s a symmetry because the the danger is really high. But the capability is also really high. Apollo 13 was the same way. Everything is going wrong. But our heroes are smart. And they’ve got NASA behind them, and they can handle it. Gravity and the Martian are in this weird zone where they’re trying to sell us on stakes, not the Martian, or Yeah, gravity and Mars are trying to sell us on stakes, that are sort of Apollo 13 caliber. But with people that are not the crew of Apollo 13 caliber, you know, the the it just doesn’t match up. And I think that’s where a lot of this sort of friction comes from here. Yeah. We do have a question from another listener, which is, who should be campaigning planetary exploration corporations or governments? is probably one of the biggest questions in space exploration right now, thanks to SpaceX leading the way, honestly. So Elon Musk has said a number of things that are contradictory over the years about what exactly he plans to do, because on the one hand, he’ll say stuff like we’re planning to build a city on Mars, we want to build a city of a million people by so by by such and such year, there was also that very weird thing where apparently every person who uses every person who buys a Tesla now has to sign a contract, which includes a clause recognizing Mars as an independent planet. This came out like six months ago, and everybody was like, that’s not a thing. Like that’s not gonna hold up in court. That’s not a thing. Yeah. But yeah, I get that I get the impulse. You have the option to do it. You might as well give it a shot. But but you kind of have to ask why, like, does that mean that Elon Musk is already planning on doing some shady stuff on Mars? And he doesn’t want to answer two laws on earth like what is the what is the thought behind this anyway? But on the other side, Elan Musk has also said some stuff about how they don’t want to build cities on Mars. SpaceX is not in the business of building cities on Mars, but SpaceX is not in the business of settling or colonizing Mars. What SpaceX wants to be. He made it very clear, SpaceX is a transport company. SpaceX wants to get you to Mars so that you can build a city on Mars like whoever Are you are you can hire SpaceX to take you to Mars, and then you can do what you want. And so, to me, the the answer to who should be doing planetary exploration is corporations or governments. Governments are, I am not the kind of anti government person that a lot of people are these days, I think that there is a place for, you know, government funding and government action. But one thing that it is hard to argue with is that governments have a lot of waste, whereas corporations are often very tightly controlling their revenue and their expenses. And so to me, the best answer is both. The best answer is SpaceX takes NASA to Mars, that SpaceX failed to Yeah, SpaceX is gonna run the numbers and keep it inexpensive, and keep it affordable and keep those ships moving. And then NASA can do the work on the plane. Well, 


and NASA isn’t going to be as you know, there’s not gonna be as much exploitation. Yeah, exactly. planet that or would do more of the people. 


You know, like you. You don’t have to be some flagwaving socialists to recognize that a lot of corporations really screw over their people. Yeah. And if you are going to Mars and you can’t come home, like there are so many stories of corporations, even with just like bases, you know, in remote areas, where, you know, they basically charge you your entire paycheck just in random, because where else are you going to stay? Yeah, and that kind of thing is just too easy to do on Mars, especially if you have all of the people driving your cars signing waivers that declare Mars to be an independent planet. Yeah, so I trust NASA way more than I trust SpaceX. I guess, I guess that’s the best way to put it. I trust NASA more than I trust SpaceX, but I trust SpaceX as accountants more than I trust NASA’s accountants. Yeah. 


I mean, I think that’s, that, that’s pretty reasonable. I also expect that government governments would clash over who does this belong to? Yeah, in a way that would move the conversation forward? In terms of who should it belong to? Because I think it belongs to Earth until it doesn’t. But maybe, maybe that’s not true. You know, like, it really is going to take a lot of conversations, to figure out the best way forward, and, and actually looking forward long term. And a lot of corporations, they’re going to look long term in in terms of their company and their profits, not in terms of their people. And, you know, again, it just comes back to exploitation of resources. And I think that the government, governments would be a little bit more wary of doing that. 


Yeah, I think that, you know, at its core, again, regardless of where you are on the political spectrum, at their core, a corporation operates on property. That is the thing that a corporation exists to do as it exists to acquire and produce property, and then sell that property to someone else, at which point it becomes their property. Like, the whole thing is about property, whereas a government fundamentally, right, or like good government, or bad government, a government is about rights. A government is about what people are allowed to do. It’s more focused on the people than the stuff. And at the end of the day, I would like the conversation around Mars to be more about people than about stuff. 


Yeah. And I mean, of course, this is a pretty big generalization because we can look at some very specific countries in this world, rather large ones who burn through resources like nobody’s business. Yeah. However, when you’ve got scientists leading the charge on what happens with resources, and then you’ve got governments and politicians arguing over the laws, and who does this belong to I feel like what you’re going to end up getting is something that is better than just any one of those three groups, the scientists versus the politicians versus the corporation’s any one of them, I think, would be doing it for their own powerful reasons. And by working together, it’s it’s a lot more likely that we’re going to get somewhere that’s healthy for a planet. We’re all of those. For those who don’t know, I very much believe in planetary rights. 


I was I was about to say, I keep talking about the the sort of the systems and you keep pivoting it back to environmentalism. 


I mean, I can’t help myself I’m I, I truly believe that a planet has rights on its own. Which we we absolutely believe in because otherwise We wouldn’t have national parks and we wouldn’t have a UNESCO sites. And we we totally believe that as as a collective that the Earth has, to some degree, right. So it’s on whether or not people want to admit it. Otherwise we wouldn’t have these things. 




I will, you sort of you bounced off one more good point, I think, which is that really, you know, if you imagine, like, if you sort of, if you take the extreme of both side, the extreme corporate and the extreme governmental, on the extreme corporate, the people who are going to be going, are the corporate people, like they’re going to be going to set up mining outposts, and, you know, profits, profit generation centers, and like everything in that in that Martian outpost is going to be revenue driven, because that’s how the corporation works. Whereas if you imagined the pure governmental side, they’re not going to be sending politicians, like politicians don’t want to go to Mars, politicians want to be in Washington, they’re going to be sending scientists, you know, the US government doesn’t have a space program, the US government has NASA. And NASA is good. And so I think there’s there’s also an asymmetry in just sort of the on the ground experience between a corporate and a governmental outpost, the corporate is going to be focused on doing corporate things, the governmental is not going to be focused on doing governmental things, they’re gonna be focused on doing science things. 


And here’s the deal, the government can’t do it by itself, because the power power changes too often. So yes, it depending depending on, you know, because we are, we live in the US and we are both American. We talk about it about Washington, but it’s going to be a global effort more, most likely, to some degree, right? One can only have one can only hope. But I feel like the Oh, no, I think it just slipped right out of my mind. Just, oh, what I was gonna say, Sorry, I got there, I got there, I found it. The government would have such a problem. Because every you know, depending on where you you’re living, every for eight years, whatever, you’re going to have politicians going, we’re not making any money. We’re losing money on this. And one of the nice things about corporations is I’m gonna, I’m gonna say its name. Amazon lost money for what, 20 years. And people were still like, this is going somewhere. Yeah, we’re gonna let it It might be in the red now. But the whole point is that it’s not going to stay there. 


Ironically, corporations which come and go are better at long term planning than governments, which can last for 1000 years. 


So you know, this. What do you think actually just kind of contradicts what I said, like five minutes ago, but I think we’re talking about two different things. So you know, don’t don’t question the internal logic we’ve got going here, guys. Does that answer the question? We should move on to the documentary stuff? Yeah, so on the documentary side, and I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry. I know. I just said that. Listen, the reason we can talk about this forever, is because of terrigenesis. Like, these are the conversations we have in the office. These are the the arguments that I’ve had with friends over too much wine. And my stances
have changed. I think I’m in a stance now that’s not going to change anytime soon. But we could have this conversation found your local minimum, you’ve 


worked your way down to the point. Yeah. to the to the base point of your beliefs. 


Yes. Yeah. So anyway, I want you to know that we could do this forever. 


Oh, yeah. We could just have the show about that. Like, we could just talk about the ethics of space exploration and just 


Yeah, and 


it’s 200 episodes, and each one is eight hours long 


as we’re all yelling at each other because 


we’re just getting madder and madder you’ll be able to watch you know, I was about to say you’ll be able to watch our divorce in real time. Except I think that you and I are pretty much on the same page about most of this stuff. So yeah, you’ll be able to watch our murder by our employees. 


Yeah. Listen, for any for those of you who play terrigenesis I am I have a question. Yeah, just I mean not through through it’s like 90 and then maybe 10% something else but do you have you ever settled on faction? 


I love them all. I if I had to pick one I would if I had to pick one I would probably say USA just because I love the the human experience I love the the exploration the sort of that that James T Kirk kind of thing. 


And then we’ve got we have an absolute through and through guy and 


100% raging guy in in the US. 


I don’t know that we have anybody who’s totally horizon. 


Oh, yes, we do. He just works at our publisher. Is is 100% horizon. Yeah, yeah. Are we we’ve got all the TerraGenesis factions represented, and we 


could absolutely just talk your ear off about it. So I wanted I want, I know, we took like 20 minutes to have that conversation. But 


I think it’s almost got out and you have pulled us back. Yeah, 


I know. But I thought it was a really it was really interesting question. Yes. And 


no, it is very relevant to this episode. Yeah. You know, it is the that is one of the things because, you know, I was talking earlier about how there are things that they talked about in the documentary side, and then they don’t do it in the narrative side. One of those that I sort of appreciate is that it’s not SpaceX. They keep talking like the documentary side, don’t get me wrong. I really enjoyed the documentary, but I don’t Yes, the narrative side, I’ve got a lot of problems with the documentary side is super cool. That being said, it’s hard to argue that this isn’t just like an ad for SpaceX, like all they do is talk about how great SpaceX is and how they’re pushing us into the future. And they’re showing like all these, you know, heroic moments and heartbreaking moments and all this stuff, and it’s, it’s an ad for SpaceX, but I appreciated the fact that it’s not SpaceX in the narrative. They made up their own Ilan musk and their own sort of SpaceX equivalent is way easier to look at. 


And not to body shame. I’m 


sorry, that was that was incredibly rude. Sorry. 


But yeah, so getting into the documentary side. Yeah, I think it had a lot of good info, and I really appreciated that it. I liked the fact that they showed SpaceX failing. Like that was Yeah, I mean, they framed it in a very sort of martyr tragic what you know, like it wasn’t framed so much as a failure as just like a tragedy. But But still, 


I noticed there was it What was interesting for me was it’s humans, all I care about are humans. We see at one point, this rocket exploded, we’ve been watching them prep for this launch and all of this stuff, right? And then it takes off. And then it explodes. And it’s, you know, that sucks. But later, we see. Another one must explode, something goes wrong. And they’re focusing on the people. And it’s just this crowd, in some room watching. And you see this woman who’s middle aged, just completely lose it. I’m like, getting choked up, because it was so heartbreaking to watch her. Watch this rocket. And I had, you know, seeing the first rocket exploded. I was like, God, that sucks, man. And then watching another one explode. But seeing the reactions of the people, I was just like, Oh, my God, your life’s work. I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry. Yeah. And I there’s they brought me into the, the experience, I think more than the narrative side by quite a lot. Yeah. So I, I’m all about the documentary side. I’m all about it. 


Yeah, I did think it was kind of funny that they had Andy Weir, author of The Martian as one of their experts. They didn’t lean on him too hard. You know, like, he wasn’t dominating the conversation or anything. But he was definitely in there multiple times. Just sort of talking about Mars. It wasn’t even, you know, his points weren’t even like, this is why I wrote it. In my book. He was just talking about Mars, he could have just been a guy from NASA. Yeah. Which was cool. 


I, you know, there were there were little things that I really enjoyed. There’s this point where they’re talking about launch pad, she’s like, she’s trying to remember where she wrote this down. And she slides her way through pages and pages and pages of notes. And I’m just like, I’ve just got it like, centered on my screen. I’m just there. Those are my notes. 


Shut up. Anyway. So there’s Launchpad 39. A, and this is, so it’s, you know, this piece of space history is what this launch pad is. 


This is the launch pad of Apollo 11. Space Shuttle and 


SpaceX gets 


to use it. And I all I could think of was how in is it what every Pixar movie, they somehow get a room? There’s a room number like 136? a, no, yeah, that is in its Cal Arts. And this is where you This is the room that you take intro to animation or something that everybody has to take. And so in every movie, you’re going to find this little easter egg because it’s their little, you know, a module. 


Yeah. And I’m just saying you’re going where is 39? A and all of my space movies. Yeah. Because that’s just so cool. And if you’re not going to do that one, then it needs to be what is it by core, which is the Lord Just one that’s the one that was in Russia or the Ukraine. 


Which I Baikonur something. 


Yeah, Baikonur. I didn’t know how to spell it. So I misspelled it is what I did. But yeah, I was I was fascinated. It was so cool to watch people talk about the, you know, the twin, the twins, the guy going into space, and they are studying his twin here on Earth just to help see, as much as they can the differences. I don’t understand. There was a there was a line about, we will probably never know, what, 12 years, 12 years, 12 months in space does did to him, 


like what he sacrificed? 


And I don’t completely understand that. So I need you to explain to me, why is it that we can know so much about the body and anatomy and physiology and your mental space? Like we can know so much about it? And there’s a control in his brother? Yeah. And they won’t probably know. 


Well, it’s I don’t think the quote was, we’ll never know, I think the quote was, we won’t know for years. 


No, they said, We will likely never know just how much Oh, fair like, and I can’t quite wrap my I mean, basically, it’s because zero G is weird. Like, there’s just there’s sort of no equivalent to it. And so who knows, like, you know, we can make estimates about what that would do. The list of things that happened to your body and zero G is, is strange. There are a lot of things that are not what you would expect. You know, your eyes change shapely your bones lose mass, like, there’s their weird stuff. It’s not just like you get weak because you don’t have to stand up, which you would sort of expect. But there’s a very strange phenomenon that has happened to the body. And of course, nobody’s been in space for that long, like 12 months is I don’t know if it’s still the record, but it was up there. You know, there’s there’s never been anybody that stayed in space for five years, let alone 40 years. Right. So it’s just this sort of dot dot dot question mark around what is that going to do long term? And how quickly do you bounce back from it? 


I guess it kind of I guess it not kind of, but it does make sense. There. There are enough things that they’ve been like, yeah, this is true about pregnancy. But we don’t know why. And I’m sitting here going, but how we’ve gotten this far, and it’s been, you know, 1000s upon 1000s of years of pregnancies. Yeah. So well, I guess. Yeah. 


So one thing that I often find useful in that, in those sorts of instances where you you ask how have we not figured this out after, you know, 200,000 years of Homo sapiens of modern Homo sapiens existing? There’s a point that I’m pretty sure. It was made in the book sapiens, which, by the way, if you haven’t read sapiens, read sapiens, it’s incredible. And it will literally change how you view humanity. But there’s a point that they that he makes in that book, which, again, changed the way I view the world, which is that we haven’t been working on this for 200,000 years, we’ve been working on this for like, 400 years, we’ve been working on it since the beginning of the scientific revolution. And before that, people just thought it was ghosts, you know, like they did, there was no, like, people would find their way to sort of herbal solutions, because they just noticed that, hey, I put this spice in my stew, and it helped my acid reflux. So I guess maybe the spice has something to do with it. But there was no kind of systemic approach to the problem, no, real growing of knowledge, in the sense of trying to separate what is true from what is just suspected. And so oftentimes, there are these questions around like, Yeah, what how does this work during pregnancy? Or, or that sort of stuff? Where? How have we not figured that out? Well, it’s because we haven’t actually been looking for that long. You know, you can trace back a lot of things that are just fundamental about our world that, like, they didn’t know about that in World War Two, you know, like, plate tectonics? Well, they didn’t know about in World War Two. And that’s not that long ago, 


even just say, like, people will talk about how there’s been this rise in autism. Well, no, the definition of autism has changed. And if the scope had been the same as when they first decided this, you know, like, yeah, oh, we have a name for this. Then the numbers would have been higher. Yeah. And you have to disseminate the information and you have to get the information to doctors who are going to be able to diagnose this. So like, I guess, yeah, okay. No, I can I retract my question so that we can move on. 


And one last point is just that. The thing about Kelly, that was so cool was that they did have a control group in the form of his brother because they were twins. But even then, I don’t know the exact numbers on how many people have been to space like total, since you know, Eureka garden, but it’s probably less than 100. That’s probably a lot less than 100. It’s, it’s not that many. And with a sample size that small, it’s hard to say, what is the effect of zero G on the human body? And just what is the effect of zero G on him? You know, yeah, like, there are a lot of things that like, if I go to, to high altitude, I’ll be fine. But if you go to low out the high altitude, it’s going to kick your ass because whatever is different in your biology, you know, that sort of stuff. And so it can be hard to figure out exactly what is consistent with that few people to look at. Yeah, so 


just as a for our listeners soflo commented about is there is it they’re drowning. And I want to put this out there that if they can find a way they’re gonna do it to probably do it. 


There is ice. 


Yeah, they got ice. 


I mean, that drama. 


You could argue they did say that the captain’s punctured his lung. So that guy was drowning in his own blood. That that is the thing did comment on how much blood there was. It’s but it’s about the same thing is not my fear. It’s not the way the cliche, so we’ll see if they get there. Yeah, they, 


they might over terraform 


Yeah, exactly. I mean, Lord knows if terrigenesis is any indication flooding your world is a real danger. So my God, also slow soflo calling me out for being in love with my nerdy wife. And yes, I am. 


Hey, I lived with an animator for a while. And it was a weird ride. I mean, I like him, but it was a weird ride. 


So I think just for the last few minutes of the show tonight, you know, we’re we’re here to talk about scientific realism. And that is one area that I think for the most part, the show does really well, which you know, you have to sort of assume because that was kind of the whole point of this shows National Geographic but but at the end of the day, yes, they did a good job with with you know, depicting the landing depicting some of the challenges, it is kind of a highlight reel, you know, like, this is not a normal mission to Mars, this is kind of an What if everything went wrong mission to Mars. That being said, it is a tour de force of all the things that can go wrong on a mission to Mars, you know, you get everything from landing in the wrong place, you know, the really big stuff like landing in the wrong place, or somebody dying all the way to down to the little stuff like, Hey, you forgot to put the cover back on this thing. And now it’s covered in dust and it’s gummed up the works or, you know, the the littler kind of complications that you would have to factor in 


which as we know, if you’re going to take the cover, and you need it for something. You just need duct tape. 


Yeah. You follow Mark Watney? Yeah. Get some tarp? Yeah, 


yeah. That’s, that’s 


how. So yeah, it’s I think, for the most part, they do a really good job. And what I’m excited for is with the introduction of the lava tubes, we are finally starting to get to something new. This is something that even even Mark Watney didn’t do. You know, I, to my knowledge, this is the only sci fi thing that has ever been made, that talks about building habitats in lava tubes, which is something that people at NASA talk about all the time. And that I really appreciate. We are we are finally starting to break new ground in scientific accuracy. At the end of Episode Three. 


Yeah, I, you know, I think that they, they brought up a lot of interesting tidbits in the documentary side. And then we didn’t, we often didn’t get an expansion on those topics, like, you know, what is this going to do to the body? What is gravity going to do the body? What about you’ve got all of this time and zero G? And then suddenly, you’re landing on another planet that that landing? What does that sudden gravity change going to do to you? You know, and then you’ve got the historical things, like I said, about this launch sites. And I really appreciate it getting the I I don’t always understand the science stuff. I really appreciate getting the history, because I feel like I feel like we I have never heard of Baikonur, like, tell me more, man. It’s the it’s the largest one in the world. I would not have guessed that. I would have said the largest one of the world is probably somewhere in Florida. You know, and 


the Soviets go big. I mean, I know the kind of their move. 


I mean, when you’ve got that much land Yeah, 


why not? Yeah. 


It makes me think of the difference between New York and LA, where New York is like we’re on this island and everything has to go up and LA is like, spread it. Don’t get so close to But you know, just talking them talking about the cardiovascular system and the immune system and the muscular system of the twins. And, you know, they talk about how, if you’re going to go up in space, you, you have to be willing to give up your I don’t remember what the word was that they use, but you have to be willing to give up your connection to other people. And just these little tidbits that are just so real, that I, and I know that that’s not science based, but 


sort of like, if you’re going to Mars, you’re going to be alone with these people for a really, really long time. And, you know, there’s not the rest of your life, like, you know, very likely for the rest of your life, these are the only people you’re going to interact with. 


Yeah. And you know, they, they have a quote that actually comes from Captain Ben. I don’t know what his last name is. So he’s Captain bed, where he talks about how we have migrated, we’ve built settlements, we’ve built cities, and you know, will is a double edged sword. And are we pushing too far by going to Mars? And I feel like, narratively, it’s a little too late to ask man, but it’s worth, it’s worth actually saying out loud, you know, the way he kind of glosses over what migrating and building settlements and cities and other countries has done to those countries. And by kind of glossing over I mean, he completely, the dialogue completely glosses over it, what colonization has done and stuff like that. And what does that mean, when we take it to a new planet? But I, they, they bring up good questions, which I, I appreciate it, you know. And so, again, it’s not hyper scientific, but it kind of goes back to that question that weichen asked about, let me know if I mispronounce your name. Was that asked about, you know, who should lead the planetary exploration corporations with the government? And these are the kinds of questions we’re gonna have to talk about? These are the philosophies, we’re going to have to talk a lot about philosophy. Yeah, before we do this. So 


it’s, you know, there’s a, there’s a big thing that gets talked about when it comes to space exploration, which is the opening of a new frontier, and the fact that humanity has been without a frontier for, you know, about 100 years, maybe 150 years, for the first time ever, like human history, there’s always been a frontier, some wild forest, that you don’t know what is in it, and then we ran out. And now we’re going into space, and there’s going to be a frontier again. And I think that it’s going to be interesting to watch humanity, figure the frontier out, again, because we’re so used to a world where everything is controlled, and everything is managed, and everything is connected. That I mean, there’s sort of the obvious stuff like supply lines, and just the psychological effects of going out onto the frontier. But there’s also the cultural effects of going out onto the frontier. Because if there’s one thing that history has shown us every single time, people have left the mother country to go to the frontier, it is always that they have different ideas of the goal. The mother country is always trying to reproduce. And the people who go to the frontier are always trying to get away. And America did not become Britain. and Mexico did not become Spain, and Britain did not become France, and Europe did not become Rome. And like you can go back further and further and further and Iran did not become Greece. And like every time a country has spread into a new area, they were trying to spread what they are, and they ended up either creating something new, or blending into something new. And that was just assumed for human history. You know, like when people went to America, it was America, it was new. But I feel like we’ve fallen into this idea now that when we go to Mars, we’re going to build cities, and they’re going to be fundamentally American, or they’re going to be fundamentally, you know, familiar, and they’re just not and it’s gonna be interesting to see society wrestle with that, as Martian identity starts to coalesce. Yeah, 


because I mean, there’s a there’s a good argument to be made for it will probably be very Western To start with, and that will have 


very Western or very Chinese. Yeah, one of those two, I mean, yeah. 


And there’s a place for it to really not be that forever. I mean, I just think of like little things. Remember that image. In this show, when they’re I think it’s when they’re, they’re walking to the outpost, and you get to see the Milky Way and look all of its glory. Yeah, I have seen the Milky Way, in a lot of glory. And very rarely like that. And I, you know, think of all of the galaxy things that you’ll see in terms of fashion in terms of, like home decor, the the amount of star stuff, and galaxy, backgrounds on things. And that might not be a thing on Mars, because they get to see it every single day. That’s special. Yeah, I mean, it’s, it’s still gonna be beautiful, but it’s not going to be something that a majority of them don’t get to see on a regular basis. And so even just little things like that, I think are going to be really fascinating. 


Whereas on the other hand, a park is going to be the most exotic thing ever. 


And so what what is that? What does that do to a culture? What do you have that? I, you know, I remember, even just like, crying when we went to the southern hemisphere, and we were, we were at one of those dark sky reserves. In New Zealand. 


This is like tech. Oh, my God, 


I love Oh, my God, you guys. 


Go to Lake Tahoe. 


First of all, go to Lake tekapo. Second of all, do a tour. There. There are now four. We’re very lucky in the US. We are now there now for gold star, I think gold level dark sky reserves in the world. And let’s see here. We’ve got I think it’s Ireland, Nigeria, New Zealand. And now there’s one in Utah, 


I believe was in Nigeria. I thought it was in Namibia. 


It might be Yeah, I haven’t looked it up in a long time. So excuse me for not knowing. But I, when we were down there, and we saw it, you know, you get they, they take you. We were there in the middle of summer. And it was still we were in parkas it was for reason cold. And which is great for watching the stars. And they had all their telescopes pointed at different constellations. And of course, they’re ones I’ve never seen before. 


And not constellations, but like things like they’re well under the planets and Nebula and like, Yeah, but there was that constellation that looks like someone had dropped a purse of diamonds. Oh, that’s just like, Yeah, I know something about the Well, I don’t know, eemaan if you know what I’m talking about, feel free to speak up. 


But I, I cried when I saw that one specifically, it just it literally looked like I you know, when you go to fountains, and you throw in a penny, and make a wish, it kind of looked like that. But I’m diamonds and it was phenomenal. And we have nothing, nothing like that in the Northern Hemisphere. And so it’ll be fascinating to see what, what stories we tell about, about that sort of thing. Because at one point, at the very beginning of Episode One, we taught someone talks about how we’re taking our place among amongst the gods, we named our planets after gods and gave them power to dictate our lives. You know, which is a Mars is there, and Saturn is there. And this means this thing versus that thing. And now you’re going to have Mars, which is going to be a community that is mostly scientists. So it’s probably not going to be astrology, but still there’s going to be a culture that comes up around the stars that they see versus what we see. And I it’s just, it’s just little things like that, that make me so I’m so excited to see what the scientific community does with going to Mars. And I think we get a taste of it in this show. I’m more interested in what humanity does with it. It gets me very bright eyed and bushy tailed, 


you and me both. That that is the the number one thing that I love about the idea of space exploration is the development of new cultures and new stories and new mythologies, and just future history. And what people do like I just I love thinking about what are people going to do not not what are what are governments and corporations going to do? But just like people like what urban myths are going to exist on? What cuisine is going to exist on Mars. It’s all what dance is going like, 


yeah, if you’re living in 1/3 gravity, there are going to be different kinds of dance. Like I’m not just talking about different steps. I’m talking about different genres of dance that are not even possible on Earth. Yeah. And yeah, I 


think of once once we get to a city of a million people Think of what happens 400 years later, when they’re, you know, they’ve got a whole story around us, the people who were looking to even get there. Yeah. And you know, that’s hundreds of years in the future, there’s going to be mythology that is what history is. There, there’s going to be, you know, history, the way we look at it. Now, we hope that we have reliable narrators, when we’re talking about ancient history, and it doesn’t even have to be super anxious to talk, you know, Hamilton, the musical you have, there are different takes on all of these people, because who knows who the reliable narrator is. And now, because we have media, the way that it is, his machine and the and the machine of social social media as well, you’re going to have a lot more to dig through and a lot more to work with. But that doesn’t mean that there’s not going to still be mythology and still be people who float to the top of who, who do we care about when we tell these stories and people that get forgotten. 


And we’re sure George Washington was not as important to the American Revolution, as elementary school education would have you believe they sort of attribute everything to George Washington, whereas he was really just one guy. And it’ll be interesting to see as time goes on, if maybe like Neil Armstrong starts to become a bigger and bigger figure in the American space program, just in the way it’s told. Yeah.


So anyway, I again, I feel like it’s gonna be, it’s gonna be fun. And the the documentary side of this, I think we’ll talk more, 


we’ll try and talk more about the science next week. Because that is, that is the fun part of the documentary side and the science side are kind of are definitely the more fun part of this show. Yeah. So we’ll try and hit that more. But this is these are conversations, Alex and I can like we can just do whole 24 hour road trips talking about this stuff. Oh, yeah. So this gets into the detail of what we love. 


Yes. So next week, we’re going to be talking about episodes four through six of National Geographics Mars season one. So be sure in the meantime, be sure to check out our Patreon slash Edgeworks entertainment, where you can grab it, tons of cool extras and rewards for supporting us. And thank you to everybody who’s already doing so you really do make this kind of thing possible. You can also find merch and a bunch of other stuff on our website. Edgeworks entertainment calm, we’ve got terrigenesis merch, we’ve got Edgeworks merch, we got a whole bunch of really cool stuff 


working on new stuff. 


Yep, we’re working on some cool new stuff. And in the meantime, just be sure to subscribe for more episodes. And if you’re watching us on YouTube, be sure to hit the bell so you’re notified when we come up with new stuff. 


I’m going to leave you with perhaps my favorite quote from the show. 


Yeah. Are you ready? 


This is just something for you to mull and chew on for the next week. “Making humans interplanetary is just another engineering problem.” 


Excellent. See you next week. 


Bye, guys.