For all of humankind's accomplishments, a trip beyond the moon — Earth's own natural satellite — remains elusive. Space's mystique, especially a voyage to Mars, has fed a booming industry of billionaires (and ordinary citizens) trying to colonize the Red Planet.
As Earth's next-closest planetary neighbor, Mars remains the ultimate prize. To the scientists behind a new show called "Mars," the point of a manned mission is not the destination, but what we learn from the journey.
Mankind gets most of its technological creature comforts from the vast expanse beyond our world, but has yet to explore its depths, an expert explained to CNBC recently.
The ubiquitous smartphone has "a GPS receiver in it to tell you your location," Robert Braun, a professor of space technology at the Georgia Institute of Technology, told CNBC. "You probably looked at The Weather Channel this morning. That information all comes to you from space."
Braun, an aerospace engineer, was the lead scientific consultant for the new documentary fiction (docufiction) series set to debut on the National Geographic Channel on Monday. The show, made in the style of a documentary, revolves around a fictional six-person crew on humanity's first manned mission to Mars.