January 3, 2004 was a big day at NASA — it marked 10 years since the Mars rover Spirit landed safely on the Red Planet. Although there are people in certain corners of the Internet don't believe that the Spirit rover — or its successor Curiosity — didn't actually exist. They believe that the rovers' landings on the surface of Mars are a hoax and the "footage" they transmit back to us is being filmed on a soundstage in Van Nuys by legendary director Michael Bay (or something like that). The truth is it did happen, and Nova made a documentary about it.
THIS WEEK'S DOC: Nova: Ultimate Mars Challenge
Director Gail Willumsen's 2012 special Nova: Ultimate Mars Challenge is a truly riveting exploration of the blood, sweat, tears, and stone-cold genius that went into this historical undertaking. With its myriad revelations about the Curiosity Rover — why it looks the way it does, what it does, the saga of its many years of painstaking trial runs, this documentary is sure to thrill anybody with at least a casual interest in human ingenuity. And at only 58 minutes, you can experience the ups and downs of this adventure without totally ignoring your family! (You could probably also invite them to watch with you, but I don't know you and I don't know your life.)
Documentary Club is a recurring feature in which we watch and discuss the finest documentaries available to stream on Netflix. Join in the fun, because it's easier than going to space.