Roving Mars

Roving Mars is an IMAX documentary film about the development, launch, and operation of the Mars Exploration Rovers, Spirit and Opportunity.[3] The film uses few actual photographs from Mars, opting to use computer generated animation based on the photographs and data from the rovers and other Mars probes.[4] The film has been released on Blu-ray disc by distributor Disney.

Roving Mars has made over US$10 million as of January 25, 2009.[5]

Roving Mars is also the title of a non-fiction book by MER principal investigator Steve Squyres about the rover mission.

Roving Mars
Directed byGeorge Butler
Produced byGeorge Butler
Frank Marshall
Written byRobert Andrus
George Butler
Narrated byPaul Newman (introduction only)
Music byPhilip Glass
Sigur Rós
CinematographyT.C. Christensen
Edited byNancy Baker
Distributed byBuena Vista Pictures
Release date
  • January 27, 2006
Running time
40 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$1 million[1]
Box office$11 million[2]


The musical score for Roving Mars was composed by Philip Glass. A soundtrack album was released by Lakeshore Records on June 27, 2006. The album also features the song "Glósóli" by Sigur Rós.


Roving Mars received positive reviews from critics. Rotten Tomatoes reports a 70% rating based on 37 reviews, with an average rating of 6.8/10. Its consensus states that "Roving Mars is a decent thrill ride even when it starts feeling like a commercial plug for NASA's failing space program."

Entertainment Weekly gave the film a B-, stating that "Only a series of pics featuring a set of strange little nodes that look like blueberries planted in a pile of red rocks carry any kind of translatable otherworldly kick." The New York Post called it a "splendidly photographed 2D IMAX film." The Boston Globe said "Despite audiences knowing the happy ending from the get-go, [director] [George] Butler manages to inject considerable drama."

Conversely, the Los Angeles Times claimed, "Not having a way to capture images of the machines at work means that too much of Butler's film... is disappointingly made up of computer simulations.", while the San Francisco Chronicle claimed that "There aren't enough pyrotechnics in the paltry 40-minute run time to justify the ticket price."


  1. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2017-01-12. Retrieved 2016-10-05.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ "Roving Mars (IMAX) (2006)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved June 3, 2016.
  3. ^ Pasachoff, Jay (2 March 2006). "Film: Big trip to the red planet". Nature. 440 (7080): 28–29. Bibcode:2006Natur.440...28P. doi:10.1038/440028a.
  4. ^ Allis, Sam (2009-01-25). "With 'Roving Mars,' Butler shoots for the stars - The Boston Globe". Retrieved 2012-05-07.
  5. ^ "Movie Box Office | Highest Grossing Movies - Yahoo! Movies". 2011-04-20. Retrieved 2012-05-07.

External links

5th Visual Effects Society Awards

The 5th Visual Effects Society Awards, given in Los Angeles on February 11, 2007, at the Kodak Grand Ballroom, honored the best visual effects in film and television of 2006. An edited version of the awards were broadcast on HDNet.


In aerospace, Assembly, Test, and Launch Operations (ATLO), also known as Mission System Integration and Test (MSIT) is the phase of a spacecraft project that comprises building the spacecraft, testing it, and getting it launched.

Adam Steltzner

Adam Diedrich Steltzner (born 1963) is an American NASA engineer who works for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). He worked on several flight projects including Galileo, Cassini, Mars Pathfinder, Mars Exploration Rovers (MER). He was the lead engineer of the Mars Science Laboratory's EDL phase (Entry, Descent and Landing), and helped design, build and test the sky crane landing system.The media has portrayed Steltzner as a "rock and roll" engineer. NPR's Morning Edition said "he has pierced ears, wears snakeskin boots and sports an Elvis haircut," while the EE Times called him "a bit of a hipster" and a "new breed of engineer" who is media savvy.

Frank Marshall (producer)

Frank Wilton Marshall (born September 13, 1946) is an American film producer and director, often working in collaboration with his wife, Kathleen Kennedy. With Kennedy and Steven Spielberg, he was one of the founders of Amblin Entertainment. In 1991, he founded, with Kennedy, The Kennedy/Marshall Company, a film production company which has a contract with DreamWorks. Since May 2012, with Kennedy taking on the role of President of Lucasfilm, Marshall has been Kennedy/Marshall's sole principal. Marshall has consistently collaborated with directors Steven Spielberg, Paul Greengrass and Peter Bogdanovich. In addition, he received the Irving G. Thalberg award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 2018.

George Butler (filmmaker)

George Butler (born 1944) is an English photographer and documentary filmmaker.


"Glósóli" ([ˈkl̥ou̯ːˌsou̯lɪ], Icelandic for "Glowing Sole") is a song by Sigur Rós, released as part of their 2005 album Takk... Together with "Sæglópur" it was the first single released from the album, available as a download only release on iTunes in America and Europe respectively.

The name is a combination of gló- from the verb að glóa meaning "to glow, shine, glitter" and sóli meaning "sole." The second element of the name, sóli, shares its grammatical stem with the word "sól", meaning "sun". In combination "glósóli" can be understood as a childish way of saying "glowing sun" or "let the sun glow".

James Neihouse

James Lawson Neihouse (born April 3, 1955) is an American cinematographer who has been involved with many of the most memorable and successful IMAX 2D and IMAX 3D films to date.

John Beck Hofmann

John Beck-Hofmann (born 1969) is an American director, cinematographer, composer and actor. He is sometimes credited as John Beck [1].

List of IMAX films

This is a list of films shot partially or in full with IMAX cameras, either on 15/70 film or with the IMAX/Phantom 3D or the IMAX/Arri digital cameras. Films that may have been projected onto IMAX screens using a standard 35mm print, such as Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith, are not listed. The US premiere dates are displayed where available. Due of the ease of downconverting, most IMAX 3D films have also been remastered and exhibited in 2D, with an appropriate name change (for example Space Station 3D becomes Space Station).

List of Walt Disney Pictures films

This is a list of films produced by and released under the Walt Disney Pictures banner (known as that since 1983, with Never Cry Wolf as its first release) and films released before that under the former name of the parent company, Walt Disney Productions (1929–1983). Most films listed here were distributed theatricaly in the United States by the company's distribution division, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures (formerly known as Buena Vista Distribution Company [1953–1987] and Buena Vista Pictures Distribution [1987–2007]). The Disney features produced before Peter Pan (1953) were originally distributed by RKO Radio Pictures, and are now distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. Some films produced by Walt Disney Pictures are also set to be released under the parent company's streaming service, Disney+.This list is organized by release date and includes live-action feature films (including theatrical and streaming releases), animated feature films (including films developed and produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios and Pixar Animation Studios), and documentary films (including titles from the True-Life Adventures series and films produced by the Disneynature label). For an exclusive list of animated films released by Walt Disney Pictures and its previous entities see List of Disney theatrical animated features.

This list is only for films released under the main Disney banner. The list does not include films released by other existing, defunct or divested labels or subsidiaries owned by Walt Disney Studios (i.e. Marvel StudiosMVL, LucasfilmLFL, Touchstone Pictures, Hollywood Pictures, Miramax Films, Dimension Films, ESPN Films etc.; unless they are credited as co-production partners) nor any direct-to-video releases, TV films, theatrical re-releases, or films originally released by other non-Disney studios.

Mark N. Hopkins

Mark N. Hopkins is an English-American filmmaker, best known for his award-winning film Living in Emergency.

Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter

Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) is a multipurpose spacecraft designed to conduct reconnaissance and exploration of Mars from orbit. The US$720 million spacecraft was built by Lockheed Martin under the supervision of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). The mission is managed by the California Institute of Technology, at the JPL, in Pasadena, California, for the NASA Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C. It was launched August 12, 2005, and attained Martian orbit on March 10, 2006. In November 2006, after five months of aerobraking, it entered its final science orbit and began its primary science phase. As MRO entered orbit, it joined five other active spacecraft that were either in orbit or on the planet's surface: Mars Global Surveyor, Mars Express, 2001 Mars Odyssey, and the two Mars Exploration Rovers (Spirit and Opportunity); at the time, this set a record for the most operational spacecraft in the immediate vicinity of Mars. Mars Global Surveyor and the rover Spirit have since ceased to function. Opportunity has remained silent since June 10, 2018, and NASA declared its mission complete on February 13, 2019. As of that date, 2001 Mars Odyssey and MRO continue to remain operational.

MRO contains a host of scientific instruments such as cameras, spectrometers, and radar, which are used to analyze the landforms, stratigraphy, minerals, and ice of Mars. It paves the way for future spacecraft by monitoring Mars' daily weather and surface conditions, studying potential landing sites, and hosting a new telecommunications system. MRO's telecommunications system will transfer more data back to Earth than all previous interplanetary missions combined, and MRO will serve as a highly capable relay satellite for future missions. It has enough propellant to keep functioning into the 2030s.


The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA, ) is an independent agency of the United States Federal Government responsible for the civilian space program, as well as aeronautics and aerospace research.NASA was established in 1958, succeeding the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA). The new agency was to have a distinctly civilian orientation, encouraging peaceful applications in space science. Since its establishment, most US space exploration efforts have been led by NASA, including the Apollo Moon landing missions, the Skylab space station, and later the Space Shuttle. NASA is supporting the International Space Station and is overseeing the development of the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle, the Space Launch System and Commercial Crew vehicles. The agency is also responsible for the Launch Services Program which provides oversight of launch operations and countdown management for unmanned NASA launches.

NASA science is focused on better understanding Earth through the Earth Observing System; advancing heliophysics through the efforts of the Science Mission Directorate's Heliophysics Research Program; exploring bodies throughout the Solar System with advanced robotic spacecraft missions such as New Horizons; and researching astrophysics topics, such as the Big Bang, through the Great Observatories and associated programs.

Opportunity (rover)

Opportunity, also known as MER-B (Mars Exploration Rover – B) or MER-1, and nicknamed "Oppy", is a robotic rover that was active on Mars from 2004 to 2018. Launched on July 7, 2003, as part of NASA's Mars Exploration Rover program, it landed in Meridiani Planum on January 25, 2004, three weeks after its twin Spirit (MER-A) touched down on the other side of the planet. With a planned 90-sol duration of activity (slightly more than 90 Earth days), Spirit functioned until it got stuck in 2009 and ceased communications in 2010, while Opportunity was able to stay operational for 5111 sols after landing, maintaining its power and key systems through continual recharging of its batteries using solar power, and hibernating during events such as dust storms to save power. This careful operation allowed Opportunity to exceed its operating plan by 14 years, 46 days (in Earth time), 55 times its designed lifespan. By June 10, 2018, when it last contacted NASA, the rover had traveled a distance of 45.16 kilometers (28.06 miles).Mission highlights included the initial 90-sol mission, finding extramartian meteorites such as Heat Shield Rock (Meridiani Planum meteorite), and over two years of exploring and studying Victoria crater. The rover survived moderate dust storms and in 2011 reached Endeavour crater, which has been described as a "second landing site". The Opportunity mission is considered one of NASA's most successful ventures.Due to the global 2018 dust storm on Mars, Opportunity ceased communications on June 10 and entered hibernation on June 12, 2018. It was hoped it would reboot once the weather cleared, but it did not, suggesting either a catastrophic failure or that a layer of dust had covered its solar panels. NASA hoped to re-establish contact with the rover, citing a windy period that could potentially clean off its solar panels. On February 13, 2019, NASA officials declared that the Opportunity mission was complete, after the spacecraft had failed to respond to over 1,000 signals sent since August 2018.

Sandi Sissel

Sandra "Sandi" Sue Sissel (Born August 9, 1949) is an American cinematographer, director and producer. Her interest in photography was apparent as early as high school, where she was a photojournalist for her school paper. She is best known for her work in documentaries such as Salaam Bombay!, Chicken Ranch, Mother Teresa (1986) as well as TV shows like 60 Minutes, and feature films like Mr. and Mrs. Smith. She has been a member of the American Society of Cinematographers since 1994 and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences since 2004.

Spirit (rover)

Spirit, also known as MER-A (Mars Exploration Rover – A) or MER-2, is a robotic rover on Mars, active from 2004 to 2010. It was one of two rovers of NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Mission. It landed successfully on Mars at 04:35 Ground UTC on January 4, 2004, three weeks before its twin, Opportunity (MER-B), which landed on the other side of the planet. Its name was chosen through a NASA-sponsored student essay competition. The rover became stuck in a "sand trap" in late 2009 at an angle that hampered recharging of its batteries; its last communication with Earth was sent on March 22, 2010.

The rover completed its planned 90-sol mission. Aided by cleaning events that resulted in more energy from its solar panels, Spirit went on to function effectively over twenty times longer than NASA planners expected. Spirit also logged 7.73 km (4.8 mi) of driving instead of the planned 600 m (0.4 mi), allowing more extensive geological analysis of Martian rocks and planetary surface features. Initial scientific results from the first phase of the mission (the 90-sol prime mission) were published in a special issue of the journal Science.On May 1, 2009 (5 years, 3 months, 27 Earth days after landing; 21.6 times the planned mission duration), Spirit became stuck in soft soil. This was not the first of the mission's "embedding events" and for the following eight months NASA carefully analyzed the situation, running Earth-based theoretical and practical simulations, and finally programming the rover to make extrication drives in an attempt to free itself. These efforts continued until January 26, 2010 when NASA officials announced that the rover was likely irrecoverably obstructed by its location in soft soil,

though it continued to perform scientific research from its current location.The rover continued in a stationary science platform role until communication with Spirit stopped on March 22, 2010 (sol 2208). JPL continued to attempt to regain contact until May 24, 2011, when NASA announced that efforts to communicate with the unresponsive rover had ended, calling the mission complete. A formal farewell took place at NASA headquarters after the 2011 Memorial Day holiday and was televised on NASA TV.

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the

Mars Exploration Rover project for NASA's Office of Space Science, Washington.

Steve Squyres

Steven Weldon Squyres (born January 9, 1956) is the James A. Weeks Professor of Physical Sciences at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. His research area is in planetary sciences, with a focus on large solid bodies in the Solar System such as the terrestrial planets and the moons of the Jovian planets. Squyres is principal investigator of the Mars Exploration Rover Mission (MER). He is the recipient of the 2004 Carl Sagan Memorial Award and the 2009 Carl Sagan Medal for Excellence in Communication in Planetary Science. On October 28, 2010, Squyres received the 2010 Mines Medal for his achievements as a researcher and professor. He is the brother of Academy Award-nominated film editor Tim Squyres.

The Kennedy/Marshall Company

The Kennedy/Marshall Company (KM) is an American film-production company, based in Santa Monica, California, founded in 1992 by spouses Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall.

It presently has contracts with Paramount Pictures, Spyglass Entertainment, DreamWorks Pictures, Universal Pictures, 20th Century Fox, Warner Bros. Pictures and the Walt Disney Motion Pictures Group. Kennedy and Marshall are co-founders with Steven Spielberg of Amblin Entertainment.

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