A Day Trip to Mars and back – BBC The Planets Screening

There is a big wide world out there beyond the realms of our own planet. We all know that. But while we all have learnt the basics to astronomy in school and in life, very few of us actually get to learn about the history of our solar system and those big questions we are striving to answer like ‘Is there life on Mars?’. That is until now.

Every 10 years, the BBC gets to make a series about The Planet and the latest edition will be hitting screens in the UK on 28 May 2019 and I was lucky enough to be invited to a screening of the series last week.

This new series tells the story of our solar system with all the details about our space exploration to date and mind-blowing scientific research being preformed hundreds of thousands of miles away. I got to watch Episode Two called The Two Sisters which shared the intertwined stories of Mars and our own Planet Earth.

I love watching these series that the BBC make, but having the chance to watch it in the cinema this time around just made me want to watch every single episode with a bag of popcorn in hand, a super wide screen, an audience of 250 and surround sound.

Watching this episode in particular made me feel like I had taken a day trip to Mars and through the planet’s history and back in little over an hour.

One of the major things from watching this latest series is the narrative. Each episode really exudes the drama of each character’s back story and we have figured out how Mars is like it is and how Earth is like it is. But the most incredible thing from watching this were the visuals. No words can describe how incredibly detailed, emotive and immersive they are.

After the screening, there was a short Q&A with some of the production team, and talking about the CGI, there appeared to have been a fine balance between being visually interesting but scientifically correct. One example was that it is hard to know what melting diamonds into helium gas looks like so there was a bit of creative freedom with that one. But the graphics were also generated to replicate actual footage of space explorations but with a dramatic touch for the screen.

Besides the visuals, the series is narrated by Professor Brian Cox who just makes the series even more powerful by adding is own personal touches to it. The quote that closes The Two Sisters episode was one that was sprung onto the director on the day of filming, but was an incredibly moving statement that it just finished off the episode.

This series of The Planets is incredibly exciting – the drama, the graphics, the narrative are amazing. But there is so much of the latest scientific research in there to learn about too. I had no idea we knew so much about the relationship between Earth and Mars, and Mars as a planet itself. If this episode was just a flavour of what the rest of this series will bring, then I am going to be glued to my TV screen every week waiting for the next installment.

I hope any of you reading this will tune in to the series next week because it will not disappoint and I guarantee that you will learn something new.

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Will you be tuning in to the new Planets series? What planet are you most looking forward to learning more about?

What are your favourite astronomy facts?

If you have any questions about anything you have seen in this blog, or about this series, please ask me in the comments all of your questions!

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