DISCOVERY HD THEATER and NASA JPL Bring HD images of Mars and Saturn Missions Into American Living Rooms
-- Spirit of Exploration Airs Wednesday, February 16 at 8 PM (ET) in HDTV --
When Opportunity landed on Mars in January 2004, scientists at mission control held their collective breath, then cheered wildly as the now famous Rover parachuted, landed, bounced and finally came to rest on the Martian surface. This and other precarious maneuvers in outer space are captured in the HDTV world premiere of SPIRIT OF EXPLORATION airing on Discovery HD Theater at 8 pm (ET) on February 16.
Produced in 1080i high def by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), footage from inside mission control as well as high resolution imagery and animation comes to life. SPIRIT OF EXPLORATION features footage from the Mars Rover missions and the more recent travels of the Cassini-Huygens spacecraft as it slipped through Saturn's rings, providing the first ever detailed images from The Ringed Planet and one of its 33 moons, Titan. Team members and onlookers celebrate as the precarious maneuver is met with success. Both missions are beaming extraordinary images and information to scientists back here on terra firma. To date, both the Mars Rovers have been exploring The Red Planet for three times as long as originally expected.
"The cutting edge discoveries these scientists make each and every day are phenomenal and when shown in high def, it's all the more riveting," Clint Stinchcomb, senior vice president and general manager Discovery HD Theater and VOD, said. "The super high resolution computer animations truly bring these historic events to life. As a network, we're privileged to work with JPL to bring these high quality images to HDTVs across America."
"This is an amazing time in the history of space exploration," said Blaine Baggett, JPL's executive manager for the Office of Communications and Education and the producer of Spirit of Exploration. "We are pleased to share these incredible missions -- and their spectacular images -- with the American public.
SPIRIT OF EXPLORATION also features interviews with MER (Mars Exploration Rover) mission leaders Stephen Squyres and Pete Theisinger, NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe and numerous other team leaders, and an appearance by California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
On February 16, Discovery HD Theater is pairing SPIRIT OF EXPLORATION with METEOR MESSENGERS, a documentary depicting the 1998 NASA mission to the North China Sea to research the annual solar phenomenon called The Leonid Meteor Shower.
In cooperation with NASA, Discovery HD Theater also features regular interstitials, called EXPLORING OUR UNIVERSE. Updated weekly, these three-minute shorts transmit images from across the universe into living rooms throughout America. EXPLORING OUR UNIVERSE (formerly known as MARS UPDATES) has included special shots from The Mars Rovers, some in 3D high definition, and more recently images from Saturn and Titan. These shorts will continue throughout 2005 with the depth of imagery expanded as NASA and JPL missions continue to make scientific breakthroughs.
Discovery HD Theater is a 24-hour high-definition (HD) network from the creators of the Discovery Channel. Offering compelling real-world entertainment in virtually all categories of entertainment created by Discovery Networks, Discovery HD Theater showcases programming about adventure, nature, wildlife, science and technology, world culture and more - all designed to provide viewers with the highest-quality television experience available. Discovery HD Theater is available through DIRECTV, DISH Network, VOOM, and the majority of cable companies nationwide, including Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Charter Communications, Cox Communications, Brighthouse Networks, Insight, Mediacom and numerous others. Visit the network at www.discovery.com/hd.
NASAâ€™s Jet Propulsion Laboratory is a federally funded research and development facility specializing in robotic exploration of the solar system. JPL missions also turn a watchful eye on Earth, using spacecraft and instruments aboard NASA satellites to expand knowledge of our home planet. Ground- and space-based telescopes managed by JPL are peering into the cosmos to learn more about the origins of the universe and search for Earth-like planets. JPL is managed by the California Institute of Technology for NASA.