A replica landscape of the planet Mars was unveiled this week in London’s Trafalgar Square by the London-based creative PR agency Taylor Herring, as part of an ambitious campaign to promote the upcoming National Geographic docu-drama series chronicling a fictional, but heavily realistic, voyage to the red planet, which is due to air on November 13. A team of artists worked overnight to lay a giant 400 square metre canvas over the surface of the capital’s iconic landmark, complete with matching geology and the Airbus Mars Rover prototype; “Bridget.” It's a barmy, but brilliant concept that stunned commuters and tourists alike.
Surface imagery from the Martian planet was used to create the huge canvas and took a team of artists and engineers two months to painstakingly produce the replica rocky landscape featuring craters, ravines and canyons. Commuters and tourists awoke on Monday morning (November 7) to see the nation’s most famous public square turned into an intergalactic scene. Produced by the Academy Award and Emmy-winning team of Brian Grazer, Ron Howard and Michael Rosenberg, the aptly titled “MARS” is an epic six-part series which is set both in the future and in the present day, which aims to redefine TV storytelling by combining feature-film-quality scripted drama and visual effects with documentary footage.
The eye-catching, 400 square metre canvas uses imagery from the surface of Mars, complete with chasms, craters and canyons. To complete Trafalgar Square’s transformation into the Red Planet, specialist designers meticulously created 3D fibreglass rock sculptures to replicate the Martian surface geology. The Mars Rover “Bridget” is a prototype created by Airbus, which is pioneering the building of the vehicles in the UK with support from the UK Space Agency. This prototype was driven remotely by British ESA astronaut Tim Peake when he was on the International Space Station. Airbus is currently developing the ExoMars rover vehicle for the European Space Agency’s 2020 mission to search for life on Mars.
Kirsty Howell, Head of PR at Fox Networks Group UK, said: “It is no longer a case of if, but when we will reach the Red Planet, and this will happen within our lifetime. National Geographic is going further, as pioneers committed to pushing boundaries, and our thrilling new docu-drama ‘MARS’ blurs the line between the future and reality in a gripping way, never before seen on television. An epic space odyssey, telling the story of mankind’s colonisation of the Red Planet, what better way to celebrate the launch of the new series than bringing Mars to Earth and sending Londoners out of this world. The incredibly realistic landscape unveiled today in Trafalgar Square shows that life on Mars is closer than we think.”
Set in the year 2033, MARS tells the story of the Daedalus crew, following their epic journey as the first manned mission to the red planet and their attempts to colonise it. This exhilarating space odyssey is interwoven with present day documentary with space visionaries such as Neil deGrasse Tyson explaining the science behind the drama, and how modern-day pioneers and technology will make the colonisation of Mars a reality. The quest to send humans to Mars has become a modern-day space race for top scientists, and the new global series brings this race to life by linking the scripted narrative in real-world science in an extraordinary format. The writing team worked with an extensive group of experts including former NASA astronauts and engineers, to use science to build and hone the story. The show also features an unprecedented collection of interviews with top scientific minds, with exclusive access to film with Elon Musk, the founder of Tesla and SpaceX, truly bringing together the world’s leading minds in a way never seen before.
Benjamin Hiorns is a freelance writer and struggling musician from Kidderminster in the UK.