Photo: National Geographic
"One Strange Rock"
Premieres Monday, March 26 at 10 PM ET/PT on AMC
The 10-part cinematic event series, hosted by Academy Award®-nominated actor Will Smith, explores the fragility and wonder of planet Earth, a curiously calibrated speck of a planet in the harsh universe. Integrating Aronofsky’s distinctive style with Root’s iconic storytelling, ONE STRANGE ROCK is a visual journey that alternates from the microscopic to the cosmic and reveals our planet through an alien lens. The series explores some of the questions many of us take for granted: Why is Earth the only planet (that we know) to support life? How fragile are the perfectly tuned systems that sustain this living planet? What are the greatest threats to the environment and human existence on Earth? Are we alone, and where did we come from? Is there really no place like home? Smith contemplates these questions and guides viewers on a full-sensory, unprecedented exploration, bolstered by an elite group of eight astronauts who provide their unique perspectives and relate personal memoirs of the planet seen from a distance.
“When you’re in space 250 miles above our planet, you see the whole world in a totally new way,” says former astronaut Nicole Stott. Adds former astronaut Leland Melvin, “And that new overview perspective of feeling extraordinarily linked to everyone and everything is the message we want to bring down to the planet.” “In ONE STRANGE ROCK, we’re creating a visual bible by blending everything -- astronomy, anthropology, biology, chemistry and physics -- to reveal Earth from space as an incredible myriad of working systems,” says Darren Aronofsky, who personally collaborated with European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Paolo Nespoli to record exclusive footage with NASA record-setting astronaut Peggy Whitson during her mission on the International Space System (ISS).
“The series is nothing short of epic with filming across six continents and 45 countries and with remarkable access on the ISS,” says Jane Root, CEO and Founder of Nutopia. “To get the ultimate big picture, both the narrative and our innovative camera technology transport viewers across little-known locations rife with cosmic and macro imagery and astonishing, extreme paradoxes.” Earth is a teeming bubble of life in the blackness of space made possible by the dynamic forces and twists of fate uncovered throughout the series. Each episode unpacks fascinating facts with themes that make us rethink what we know about the planet; for example, half of the world’s life-supporting oxygen comes from single-celled phytoplankton, a hundred of which could fit on a pin head, and our cameras delve straight to the source. ONE STRANGE ROCK’s title itself derives from the intricate, finely tuned, perfectly adjusting abilities of our planet to sustain life.
In order to tell this definitive story of our planet, ONE STRANGE ROCK has been in production for more than two years in 195 locations with 139 shoots, capturing footage equivalent to a 22-year movie marathon. Each hour-long episode explores the monumental events: genesis, cosmic violence, the cycle of life/death, human intelligence and alien life, sacrifice, oxygen, survival vs. destruction and how the planet has shaped life and life has shaped the planet. The astronauts guiding the journey through each episode are the following:
Chris Hadfield – Former astronaut Hadfield is the first Canadian to command the International Space Station (ISS) and the only Canadian to ever have boarded the Russian Space Station Mir. Hadfield has left Earth three times and spent a total of 166 days in space.
Jeff Hoffman – Logging 21.5 million miles in space, Brooklyn-born astrophysicist and former astronaut Hoffman has flown to space five times, one of which was the first mission to repair the Hubble Space Telescope.
Mae Jemison – Former astronaut Jemison just celebrated the 25th anniversary of her mission to space aboard space shuttle Endeavour, making history as the first African-American woman to go to space.
Jerry Linenger – Former astronaut Linenger, who survived the most severe fire ever aboard an orbiting spacecraft, spent nearly five months on the Russian space station Mir and logged 50 million miles on that mission alone.
Mike Massimino – The first person to send a tweet from space, former astronaut Massimino flew on two space shuttle missions to repair the Hubble Space Telescope.
Leland Melvin – The only person drafted into the NFL to have flown to space, former astronaut Melvin blasted off to space twice and logged more than 565 hours there.
Nicole Stott – Known as the “Artistic Astronaut,” former astronaut and aquanaut Stott, who became the first astronaut to paint in space, logged 104 days in space and nearly three weeks on Aquarius undersea habitat.
Peggy Whitson – Astronaut Whitson just completed her third journey to space, setting a NASA record for the most cumulative days in space — 665.
“We astronauts have risked our lives to further our understanding of everything beyond ourselves to experience the world more clearly,” explains Chris Hadfield regarding his missions in space and his hope for the series. “I really wish that everyone could see the world the way that I’ve had a chance to see it,” says Chris Hadfield. “And now you can.”