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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Kids will learn more about space exploration.
Some planets are too far away to send humans to, so it's important to send robots first to gather information.
Positive Role Models
NASA scientists and engineers worked hard for years through trial and error to build robots that would withstand the harsh conditions on Mars.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that the stunning visuals of Mars' red surface may attract younger viewers, but much of the 2006 documentary Roving Mars focuses on scientists' technical efforts to create the Mars robots, making this a better bet for older kids. Descriptions of trial-and-error planning, building, and testing, then launching and landing do eventually lead to the excitement of collecting data communicated by the two robots that roamed Mars' surface for years. Kids interested in space exploration will love the photographs taken by the robots, but note that much of the film is made of computer-generated animation, allowing realistic glimpses of what take-off and landings looked like. The film was originally designed to be shown in IMAX theaters. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Computer-generated images simulating take-off, flight, and landings make this documentary beautiful and informative. Anyone interested in humankind's highest achievements in space exploration will be inspired by the hard work that went into conceiving and building the robots seen here. Though tRoving Mars isn't the most dramatic documentary, once the robot design problems are solved, simulations show that the parachutes designed to break the fall at landing are exploding, and the engineers must design new ones as the deadline for launch nears. Scientists who worked on the project explain the instrumentation on board, including cameras, microscopes, drilling tools, and spectrometers. As one puts it, in any major project, setbacks are guaranteed, and that's not a bad philosophy for getting through life.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.