Nat­Geo’s ‘Mars’ pits sci­ence against in­dus­try

The Idaho Statesman (Sunday) - - FUN & GAMES -

It’s 2042 and the IMSF has es­tab­lished a colony on Mars. But now it needs ad­di­tional fund­ing that can be raised only through a partnership with pri­vate in­dus­try, which sup­plies much of the drama of Sea­son 2 of Nat­Geo’s hy­brid drama/doc­u­men­tary “Mars,” which re­turns this week.

Premier­ing Mon­day, Nov. 12, the six-episode sec­ond sea­son finds the as­tro­nauts of Olym­pus Town liv­ing on and ex­plor­ing the Red Planet and its mys­ter­ies. But to keep the ex­pen­sive mis­sion go­ing, it part­ners with Lukrum In­dus­tries, which agrees to pro­vide fund­ing in re­turn for the lu­cra­tive rights to Mars’ nat­u­ral re­sources. Which puts it in direct con­flict with the sci­en­tists at the base.

That’s made clear in Mon­day’s opener, when the Lukrum space­craft’s en­try into the Mar­tian at­mos­phere sprays Olym­pus Town with de­bris and sends ev­ery­one div­ing for cover. Ten­sions are fur­ther height­ened when the Lukrum con­tin­gent’s com­man­der Kurt Hur­relle (Jeff Heph­ner, “Chicago Med”) in­forms base chief Hana Se­ung (cast re­turnee Ji­hae) that they will need to tap into their al­ready lim­ited wa­ter sup­ply if they’re to be able to es­tab­lish their own out­post and sur­vive. Need­less to say, Hana and her crew – in­clud­ing hy­drol­o­gist Javier Del­gado (Al­berto Am­mann), physi­cian Amelie Du­rand (Clé­men­tine Poi­datz), Lt. Com­man­der Mike Glenn (Gun­nar Cau­th­ery) and engi­neer Robert Fou­cault (Sammi Rotibi) – are less than thrilled with the ar­ro­gant new­com­ers.

At first blush, Hur­relle comes off as a first-class jerk, but Heph­ner ex­plains he’s merely a guy do­ing a job in the hopes of mak­ing a lit­tle money for his wife and young daugh­ter.

“On a very mi­cro level in­side that macro is a guy like Kurt,” the ac­tor ex­plains, “and a group of th­ese min­ers and this cor­po­ra­tion who they’re go­ing to help fa­cil­i­tate this fi­nan­cially and help with some of the sci­ence while they’re there, but at the same time they’re there to make money and to profit off what Mars has to of­fer.

“And the doc­u­men­tary side of the show re­ally fits in so well be­cause we see ex­am­ples on Earth of­ten in our daily life and the cre­ation of our own civil so­ci­ety based on fos­sil fu­els. I mean, that’s been an ugly busi­ness but it’s got­ten us to this point. So it’s a take-the-good-andthe-bad kind of a mo­ment.”

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