posted 03-12-2006 08:56 PM
Tonight I was treated to a viewing of Roving Mars as a birthday present from my son. He knows of my interest in the space program.
The movie is very impressive and interesting. This is particularly true of the launch sequence. I did not know that the launch sequence was so complicated with so many different rockets turning on and off. After cruising to Mars for seven months the lander plummeted through the atmosphere and bounced to a landing surrounded by large balloons. I had seen these animations on TV before, but seeing them on IMAX made a big difference.
The complexity of both Spirit and Opportunity was apparent as was the endurance capability of these golf-cart size craft, that have functioned years beyond their life expectancy. Even today they are both working on Mars surveying the terrain and sampling the rocks and minerals. At times, the angle of the special-effects camera made the spacecraft appear to be much larger than their actual size.
Actual images from the spacecraft were mixed with recreations of the movements of both Spirit and Opportunity produced by the Disney studios.
At the end of the 35-minute film I was left with two impressions: 1) that the film was too short. I have seen longer reports on Spirit and Opportunity on the Discovery/Science Channel. and 2) that MAN will some day land on the Red Planet. The film gave me the impression that the mission, while extremely complicated, was a manageable situation for a human crew. I realize that a manned mission will be many times more complicated and many times more expensive. But now it appears to be a possibility. Mars did not appear to be an "alien planet."
I recommend the film, in spite of its brevity. You will have plenty of time left after the film to go to your favorite restaurant for dinner as we did.
Another review of this film is shown here: