PBS and Time Inc. Partner on Two-Part Series "A Year in Space," Featuring Astronauts Scott and Mark Kelly

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27 February 2016

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A Year in Space
Photo: Courtesy of Bill Ingalls/NASA
"A Year in Space"
Premieres Wednesday, March 2 at 8 PM ET/PT on PBS
(Check local listings)
 
First Special, Premiering March 2, Premieres Within A Day of Scott’s Return and Chronicles His Yearlong Mission and Next Steps For a Mission to Mars
 
A Year in Space
Photo by Marco Grob for Time
          President and CEO Paula A. Kerger announced at the Television Critics Association Press Tour that PBS has commissioned the two-part series A YEAR IN SPACE, adapted from TIME’s original digital video series about astronaut Scott Kelly, whose current 12-month stay on the International Space Station (ISS) is testing human limits for space travel and laying the groundwork for a manned mission to Mars. The first installment of A YEAR IN SPACE, which tracks Scott Kelly’s mission from training and launch, through his 12 months aboard the International Space Station, right up through his descent and landing is scheduled to air on PBS on Wednesday, March 2 from 8:00-9:00 p.m. ET (check local listings), timed within a day of Scott’s planned return to Earth. The second installment is scheduled to air in 2017.
 
          Despite the technological “comforts” of the ISS, a year in space – the longest space mission in American history – has been described as the epitome of extreme, with extraordinarily high physical stakes. Following Scott in space and his identical twin Mark Kelly at home on Earth, the specials will tell the story of what it takes, mentally and physically, to spend a year in space and then, using what NASA has learned from the Kelly brothers, what it means for humanity as we journey to Mars and beyond.
 

          In the Kelly brothers, The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has a near-perfect, two-person sample group for biomedical research. NASA is closely tracking Scott’s physical and emotional changes, and his biological functions, down to the molecular level while he is in orbit. The agency hopes to identify precisely what changes happened to Scott as a result of 12 months in space by comparing him to his identical twin, Mark, on Earth. What NASA learns about how Scott withstands the physical and psychological difficulties will provide scientists with key data to develop methods of overcoming the challenges of human interplanetary travel.
 
         Viewers will witness the rigors of Scott’s training to live in space for an entire year and will get to know his family and their dreams, stresses, fears and loves. Interwoven into the series’ compelling personal story, A YEAR IN SPACE will also delve into the broader historical context of the mission, including the history of space exploration, the political background of the Russian-US relationship – Scott’s compatriot at the start of the mission is Russian astronaut Mikhail Korniyenk – and the science/engineering conundrums posed by interplanetary space travel.
 
A Year in Space
Courtesy of Scott Kelly/NASA
         The second episode of A YEAR IN SPACE – scheduled to air in 2017 – will follow what happens to Scott Kelly as he returns to life on Earth. Once back on the ground, NASA will study what happens to the mind and body during and after long-duration space travel. Part two of A YEAR IN SPACE also will explore the future of humanity’s attempts to live beyond Earth. What will it take – technically and socially – to travel to and establish outposts on other planets, moons and asteroids?
 
         “A YEAR IN SPACE is an incredible opportunity to immerse audiences into an exciting current event, nearly in real-time. However, it is also a compelling human drama exploring the potential tragedies or triumphs of exploration. It is as close to a feature film as any documentary can get,” said Beth Hoppe, Chief Programming Executive and General Manager, General Audience Programming, PBS.

 
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