IMDb > "Nova" Mars Dead or Alive (2004)

"Nova" Mars Dead or Alive (2004)

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Nova: Season 31: Episode 9 -- NASA gambles on two rovers sent to determine if the red planet ever had conditions suitable for life.


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Mark Davis (writer)
TV Series:
Original Air Date:
4 January 2004 (Season 31, Episode 9)
NOVA goes behind the scenes at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory to offer a look at the construction and launch of two Martian exploratory rovers: "Spirit" and "Opportunity". | Add synopsis »
User Reviews:
Reasonably interesting but not great See more (1 total) »


 (Episode Cast)
Mark Adler ... Himself - Deputy Mission Manager, MER
Jim Colvin ... Himself - Rover Engineer
Juan R. Cruz ... Himself - Landing Systems Engineer, MER
George H. Diller ... Himself - NASA Countdown Voice, Kennedy Space Center (voice)
Ho-Jin Huang ... Himself - Test Engineer
Joel Krajewski ... Himself - Rover Engineer
Gentry Lee ... Himself - Scientist, Mars Program, Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Wayne Lee ... Himself - Entry, Descent and Landing Systems Engineer, MER
Dan Limonadi ... Himself - Rover Engineer
Randel Lindemann ... Himself - Rover Systems Engineer, Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Rob Manning ... Himself - Systems Engineering Manager, MER
Dan McCleese ... Himself - Scientist, Mars Program, Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Greg Miehall ... Himself - Engineer
James Newell ... Himself - Test Engineer
Tom Rivellini ... Himself - Landing Systems Engineer, Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Neil Ross ... Narrator
Steve Silverman ... Himself - Technical Director, Planetary Systems, Raytheon
Steve Squyres ... Himself - Lead Science Investigator, Mars Exploration Rovers
Adam Steltzner ... Himself - Landing Systems Engineer, Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Pete Theisinger ... Himself - Mars Exploration Rovers Project Manager, Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Art Thompson ... Himself - Rover Engineer
Ed Weiler ... Himself - Associate Administrator, NASA

Episode Crew
Directed by
Mark Davis 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Mark Davis  writer

Produced by
Paula Apsell .... executive producer
Laurie Cahalane .... coordinating producer
Anna Davis .... associate producer
Mark Davis .... producer
Nathan Gunner .... associate producer
Stephen Sweigart .... supervising producer
Melanie Wallace .... senior series producer
Original Music by
Tom Phillips 
Film Editing by
Lauren Aguirre 
Nathan Hendrie 
Susan K. Lewis 
Production Management
Maureen Barden Lynch .... post-production manager
Lola Norman-Salako .... unit manager
Regina O'Toole .... post-production supervisor
Art Department
Anna Davis .... graphics
Jay Harlow .... illustrator
Tyler Howe .... senior designer
Sonali Patel .... designer
Anya Vinokour .... senior designer
Sound Department
Douglas Alexander Arnold .... sound
K.C. Clayton .... sound
Paul Gramaglia .... sound
John Jenkins .... sound mixer
Jayme Roy .... sound
Bob Schuck .... sound (as Robert Schuck)
George Shafnaker .... sound
Visual Effects by
Kees Veenenbos .... animator
Camera and Electrical Department
Brian Dowley .... camera operator
John Beck Hofmann .... camera operator
Robert Jaye .... camera operator
Marten Kaufman .... camera operator
Mike Kennel .... camera operator
John Monsour .... gaffer
Scott Hulme .... additional camera operator: documentary (uncredited)
Animation Department
Anna Davis .... animator
Editorial Department
Heydar Adel .... additional editor
Patrick Carey .... post-production assistant
Darcy Forlenza .... editorial assistant
Rick Groleau .... managing editor
Lexi Krock .... associate editor
David Levin .... assistant editor
Jacqueline Mitchell .... editorial assistant
Rebecca Nieto .... post-production editor
Melissa Salpietra .... assistant editor
Jen Siebenmann .... additional editor
Mark Steele .... colorist
Mark Steele .... on-line editor
Peter Tyson .... editor in chief
Rachel VanCott .... editorial assistant
Music Department
Martin Brody .... music theme
Mason Daring .... music theme
Michael Whalen .... music theme
Other crew
Kristine Allington .... project coordinator
Jamie Biggar .... interactive team
Kit Buckley .... video script
Diane Buxton .... publicist
Linda Callahan .... production coordinator
Gabriel Cohen-Leadholm .... paralegal
Queene Coyne .... administrator
Juliane Crump .... location assistant
Ivan Hadingham .... senior science editor
Ethan Herberman .... researcher
James Heuser .... intern
John Beck Hofmann .... production assistant
Brenden Kootsey .... developer
Alan Kwan .... developer
Nancy Marshall .... paralegal
Tacita Morway .... senior developer
Jonathan Renes .... publicist
Alan Ritsko .... managing director
Susan Rosen Shishko .... legal counsel
Juan R. Cruz .... special thanks
Anna Davis .... special thanks
Matthew Golombek .... special thanks
Rossman Irwin .... special thanks
Stephen Kulczycki .... special thanks
Tim Parker .... special thanks
Jim Rice .... special thanks
Tom Shain .... special thanks
Colleen Sharkey .... special thanks
Jennifer Trosper .... special thanks

Series Crew
These people are regular crew members. Were they in this episode?
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
David Condon  development producer
Daniel Hart  developer
Mark Hobson  (episode "Orangutan - Man of the Forest")
Alan Kwan  developer
Lisa Leombruni  development associate
Tacita Morway  developer

Produced by
D.J. Roller .... producer (one episode)
Original Music by
James Yannatos 
Cinematography by
Sam Henriques (lighting cameraman) (multiple episodes)
D.J. Roller (multiple episodes)
Sound Department
G. John Garrett .... production sound mixer (multiple episodes) (1985-)
Rob Whitehurst .... sound recordist (1992-)
Other crew
Gary Martyn .... production assistant
Sallie McGuire Nicholas .... production assistant

Additional Details

57 min


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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful.
Reasonably interesting but not great, 5 September 2006
Author: Susan Jordan ( from Hollywood, California

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This tells the story of the construction of the robots which are exploring the surface of Mars. It is interesting but there is too much made up tension and too much centering on the stress of the engineers who constructed the devices. I don't think that they have any reason to be unhappy. If they weren't building the Mars Rovers they would probably be working on weapons systems. The skills they have are not easily transfered.

One of the problems they deal with is the parachute which fails to open in a wind tunnel test. It is interesting to see how it is solved. I had no idea that the engineering of a parachute was so complex. However the design of a parachute would seem not to be be most interesting event in a trip to Mars.

All in all the production would have been much better it it had more about Mars and less about engineering.

Nova has gone down in the past few years.

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