So the Mars "Curiosity" rover is scheduled to make landfall on the red planet very late tonight/early tomorrow morning to investigate what cool clambakes are going on next door. (UPDATE: And, unlike Total Recall, it landed on Mars successfully! Zing!) Or, you know, signs of life. (But really, what's more lively than a clambake, right?!) And even though millions upon millions of dollars have been spent, and the country's most brilliant minds have spent countless hours testing the highly advanced technology, there is still that moment of uncertainty about the rover's landing. It's what is known (in the biz!) as the "seven minutes of terror," when a bevy of things could possibly go wrong. There will be tense emotions and fear-laden checkpoints as the crew at mission control hold their breath and wait for the best- — or worst- — case scenarios to occur.
Now, maybe it's just us, but if this doesn't sound like a blockbuster summer movie waiting to happen, we don't know what does. So why not play out the best- (and worst-) case scenarios that could bring this event the blockbuster luster it needs to make a cinematic transition, right?
First we need to understand the basics: In order to go from flying machine to land-bound rover, mechanical-systems engineer Tommaso Rivellini explains that "the vehicle reconfigures itself seven times." During those reconfigurations, a large amount of technical (and natural) things could go wrong — hence the "seven minutes of terror" moniker. And what plays better to an audience than terror and suspense? NOTHING! Which is exactly why this event is begging for a movie to be created in its honor. Get at me, Hollywood. I've got big, bankable ideas below, just waiting to be made.
Movie Option No. 1: Landed
Pixar is proud to present this summer's biggest blockbuster, Landed. Landed is the heroic story of a little Mars rover that could and how heroes come from even the unlikeliest of sources. All his life, Curio dreamed of being like his step family, The Shuttles. After taking Curio in when his parents were turned into scrap metal, Curio always felt as though he wasn't good enough. He was the black sheep; afraid his parent's fate would land him in the trash heap. When Curio is found by a NASA intern named Judd (voiced by Zac Efron), both of their lives change, Forever. Judd and Curio go on to helm a risky mission to Mars, and everyone is counting on Curio even though many unknowns lie ahead. This heartwarming tale also features the voice acting of Morgan Freeman, Taylor Swift, Wanda Sykes and John Ratzenberger. Coming to theaters in 2016!
Movie Option No. 2: Mars: Mission Out-Of-Control
Are you ready for a laugh-out-loud comedy of intergalactic proportions? This summer, Adam Sandler and Columbia Pictures present Mars: Mission Out-Of-Control! Sandler plays Artie, a bumbling janitor at NASA's Mission Control. Cleaning up on the night of the big Mars launch, he accidentally gets himself locked into the control room — all alone! Forced to oversee the operation while the rest of the crew attempts to break back into Mission Control, Artie must not only not mess up the mission, but also make sure that NASA doesn't look bad. This raucous comedy also stars David Spade, Drew Barrymore as astrophysicist Dr. Dana Mercurio, and Rob Schneider. Coming to theaters Summer 2013.
Movie Option No. 3: Mission Control
Bradley Cooper makes his first grab for Oscar buzz in Mission Control, the spellbinding drama from the producers of Avatar. Cooper stars as mechanical-systems engineer Jonathan Ronnards, a brilliant mind that helped create the logistics of the epic Mars "Curosity" rover mission of Summer 2012. The tense but riveting drama showcases the high-octane thrill of working in space, and what happens when you're the only man able to save a mission worth billions of dollars. With pressure at home to be a better father, pressure at work to be perfect, as well as a boss who takes all the credit for Ronnards' work, Cooper displays a masterstroke performance of a man finally getting his dues by saving the mission when times were bleak, and the rover was on another planet. Also stars Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts as Cooper's wife, Elizabeth Ronnards, Asa Butterfield, and Philip Seymour-Hoffman. Mission Control lands in theaters Summer 2015.
Are you planning to watch the Mars rover land this evening? If so, set your alarms because the whole thing goes down at 1:31am EST (10:31pm PST), and you can catch it all on the NASA website.
[Photo Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech]
Follow Alicia on Twitter @alicialutes