Living on Martian Time

Living on mars
In 2008, NASA successfully landed a robotic machine called Phoenix in the northern polar region of Mars in an attempt to uncover water and organic material from the frozen environment atop the Red Planet. Overseeing the mission was space engineer Peter Smith, a man who disdains his unofficial title as "world's greatest Martian photographer" ("Don't call me that . . . It diminishes the science," Smith is fond of saying) despite his talent for preserving "little Mars vignettes" for all on Earth to see. Smith is also known for other accomplishments, including the device he spent five years building—an excavator that could scoop up Martian soil samples for analysis on command from its operators 200 million miles away, ultimately proving that there was water on Mars in some form. The other epic achievement was his decision to find a fresh voice to tell the story of searching for life forms on other planets. Smith chose Andrew Kessler, a 32-year-old creative director for Huge, a New York design and marketing firm, who holds a degree in mathematics. Kessler may not be a scientist but he was fascinated and understood outer space well enough to co-produce the documentary Mars: The Quest for Life for the Discovery Channel.

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