Tag Archives: Pluto

A day in the life of a filmmaker: Working with Commander Chris Hadfield

We are just one week away from the premiere of one of our most exciting original documentaries to date, Miniverse.  The film features the always wonderful CuriosityStream advisory board member Michio Kaku, as well as astronomers Derrick Pitts and Laura Danly, and is hosted by former astronaut Chris Hadfield.  All of you space fans out there may remember Commander Hadfield as a YouTube sensation for his performance of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” aboard the International Space Station.  Well, it turns out he’s just as fun and creative to work with as you might imagine.  We sat down with Doug Cohen, executive producer of Flight 33, to live vicariously through him about working with one of the world’s greatest astronauts.

Q: What was Chris Hadfield (CH) like to work with?

A: Chris is a former fighter pilot and an astronaut, so the things that felt like challenges to the rest of us were no sweat to him.  To quote one member of our crew, “Chris Hadfield is the best human being I’ve ever met.”  It’s not just that he’s charming, curious and tireless; it’s also that he sings, plays guitar, tells great stories and, of course, he’s been to space!

Q: What was the funniest thing that happened while shooting Miniverse?

A: Chris had spent the whole day driving at about 40 miles per hour through the Mojave Desert while chatting with astronomer Laura Danly.  We kept his speed down to reduce the amount of road noise during the conversation.  As the sun set, we prepped to shoot beauty shots of the car driving down the lonely desert highway.  I radioed to Chris that he should drive past the camera, and since we weren’t rolling sound he was now free to go as fast as he wanted.  When I called “action”, he put the pedal to the metal and whipped past us at 122 miles per hour with poor Laura Danly holding on for dear life!  That’s the last time I tell a former fighter pilot to drive as fast as he wants!

Q: Describe the dynamic between CH and Michio Kaku.

A: They were excited to meet each other!  It was fun to watch the contrast between astrophysicist and astronaut. Michio made it clear that despite his fascination with space, he had no interest in doing something risky like traveling to Mars.  Chris, on the other hand, said that the danger is precisely what makes him want to do it.

 

Q: Between CH and Derrick Pitts?

A: Derrick would have liked to be an astronaut himself, so he was thrilled to be Chris’ guide for the outer planets.  The two of them bonded over some packets of freeze-dried “astronaut ice cream.”

 

Q: Between CH and Laura Danly?

A: When we asked Laura if she wanted to participate in the program, she said “you had me at Chris Hadfield”.  They had a lot of time to talk as we drove from the mountains to the desert, and it was amazing how many things they saw reminded them of Star Trek episodes.

 

Q: What’s the hardest part of shooting so much inside of a car?

A: We had five cameras rolling inside the car at all times, plus cameras affixed to the exterior and to a chase car.  That’s a lot of cameras that need a lot of tending.  You are constantly stopping to troubleshoot misbehaving gear.  We studied how James Corden does it for Carpool Karaoke and how Seinfeld’s team does it for Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, and took the best ideas from both.  The difference with our show is that we were really traveling from place to place, so we couldn’t just stake out a route on a local road and keep circling.  The entire country was our “set”.

Q: Why did the cops keep pulling CH over?

A: We had no problems in most of the country, but in New York and Washington, D.C. the police were extremely “curious” about this car with cameras all over the windows.  Sometimes, we would neglect to remove our prop license plate that said “ROCKET”.  That also drew the attention of the police on a couple occasions.  One officer removed the license plate and cut in half!  Luckily, we had made an extra one.  In general, when we would tell the cops that we were making a science documentary with an astronaut and a bunch of astrophysicists, they let us go with nothing more than a confused look.

Q: Are there any funny stories from shooting in NYC near the Freedom Tower?

A: We shot at the Brooklyn Bridge across the river from Freedom Tower just before sunset, and as we were shooting, people were lining up to meet Chris and Michio.  This actually happened almost everywhere–hotel lobbies, the steps of the Washington Monument–people from all over the world would show up and ask for an autograph or a selfie.

Miniverse premieres the week of April 17, only on CuriosityStream, and will be available in standard, HD and Ultra HD 4K resolution.

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A Rendezvous With The King Of Planets

NASA’s Juno orbiter is speeding toward Jupiter with a flyby expected on July 4th.  Leading up to that rendezvous, CuriosityStream is giving viewers an exclusive, behind-the-scenes look into the story behind the mission to the gas giant.  Destination: Jupiter is a new, short-form documentary available now on CuriosityStream, in ultra HD 4K, as well as HD and standard definition.

The Juno Mission is one of the most highly anticipated planetary explorations to date.  Scientists hope it will help reveal the mysteries of Jupiter’s violent storms, its composition and formation, as well as uncover some secrets about our own planet Earth.

Destination: Jupiter chronicles the inside story behind the ground-breaking mission, featuring interviews with its chief scientists, as well as captivating CGI produced by NASA’s Scientific Visualization Studio.  Also, get a sneak peek at some of the state-of-the-art technology on board the spacecraft that will help it power through and survive Jupiter’s severe high-radiation environment—the harshest in the solar system.



 

And stay tuned in with CuriosityStream.  On July 4th, Juno is expected to officially catch up to Jupiter and enter its orbit.  Mission scientists will be anxiously awaiting the first signal of success… a communication that will take 48 minutes to travel back to Earth.  And in the coming days, CuriosityStream and Destination: Jupiter will bring you the nail-biting action from mission control at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

If we’ve peaked your curiosity about other destinations in our solar system and you’re ready to dive deep into the mysteries of the galaxy, you’ll enjoy CuriosityStream’s Destination: Pluto, an original, 13-part series following the New Horizons mission from its inception to its close encounter with the dwarf planet, as well as Destination: Mars, a 5-part series chronicling a bold plan to land humans on the red planet.

Enjoy the adventure, and stay curious!

 

 

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Celebrating the Pluto Flyby!

A team from CuriosityStream witnessed the historic moment of the Pluto Flyby!

“The Pluto mission is a human endeavor” said Alan Stern, as the crowd at The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory patiently awaited the highly anticipated flyby of New Horizons by Pluto on the morning of July 14th, 2015 just minutes before 8:00am.

The big lit screens gave the count, five minutes away and everybody was standing by; American flags in hand, we saw media, scientists, mission team members and international visitors come together for Pluto’s final reveal and well deserved comeback. Bill Nye, the Science Guy, joined the enthusiastic group to the side of the stage, as the buzz starting growing. Multiple electronic devices on hand, cameramen filming on their mobiles and video equipment simultaneously, and a man three seats down surprised that the picture he sent had just reached the other side of the world “I just sent this to Australia!” he exclaimed looking at his screen. There was even a replica of the New Horizons probe turned into a hat that was passed around among some lucky heads.

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Before we could even realize it, the countdown had started. Nervous eyes scanned the room looking for a sense of understanding of what was about to take place. Alan Stern and New Horizons team members encouraged everybody to join in — “Make sure they can hear us all over the world!”. A countdown like no other; actually, one of the best countdowns you could ever witness. Far beyond the hype of New Year’s and watching fireworks in the sky, this was it: a once in a lifetime event, for all the talented individuals from the New Horizons, NASA, and JPL teams, that took nine years of continuous monitoring and a very long waiting period.

And so it went, from 10 down to the last second, the hundreds of people gathered for the early morning event loudly raised their voices as they experienced history in the making. This time, there were no pictures, no live transmission on screen, no man floating down the iconic stairs or a spacecraft roughly landing on a red planet. As invisible and low key as the Pluto flyby was, it was also a collective mind-blowing understanding of how far we have come – the final frontier of our solar system has now been explored. And as a lonely probe continues to fly into the unknown beyond Pluto and onto the Kuiper Belt, we are certain that we can now welcome a new chapter of space exploration and the next set of discoveries — lead, as always, by the curious ones.

Laura Santana

Marketing and Production

Relive the excitement of July 14th, 2015!

 

 

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Destination: Pluto

The New Horizons mission launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida on January 19, 2006.  Since then, NASA’s space probe has traveled a million miles a day for nearly 10 years to reach its destination, Pluto!  It will gather its closest images on July 14, 2015 — the 50th Anniversary of the Mariner 4’s flyby of Mars.  However, this mission will collect 5,000 times more data than the Mariner 4!

Five episodes about the New Horizons mission are now available on CuriosityStream.com and include expert interviews with principal investigator, Alan Stern.  Watch Destination: Pluto, and dive deep into the #PlutoFlyby!

Best,

Elizabeth Hendricks North

President | CuriosityStream

 

 

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Welcome to CuriosityStream!

CuriosityStream is officially more than two months old! I’m delighted to report that more and more people each day find that we are the best place to satisfy their curiosity about our world.

Recently, I’ve been traveling the world talking to filmmakers and producers about CuriosityStream. From MIPDoc in Cannes to INPUT in Tokyo, most everyone I’ve spoken to has shared an interest in our new home for quality informative documentaries and series. We continue to refine CuriosityStream so that subscribers can explore a new and fascinating area or idea each and every day.

Navigation

It takes a great team to find captivating content and to create the platform to share that media. It also requires a vision for organizing and presenting it to you, the viewer. At CuriosityStream, we’ve known from the start that people don’t find documentaries or factual programs by titles. They find content by searching areas and topics of interest. We’ve built CuriosityStream to do that curation work for you up front, by tagging shows thoughtfully and thoroughly by topic and many multi-sub-topic areas. This work is invisible to our members, but it enables them to easily use the top menu bar to select one of our many sub-topics, from Genetics to Artificial Intelligence to Philosophy. Often programs satisfy multiple areas of interest, so our system delivers unique and compelling recommendations to feed your singular curiosities. Perhaps watching our BBC series Vikings leads to a recommendation to learn more about another of England’s conquerors, William the Conqueror. Or perhaps your curiosity about Pluto leads you to learn about the difference between asteroids and comets. We dive deep into the science with the astronomers from the Lowell Observatory. Did you know it was Lowell Observatory that ultimately named the dwarf planet Pluto, discovered by Percival Lowell in 1930?

With CuriosityStream, we are also experimenting with new types of entertaining yet informative media. Our Curiosity Retreat Lectures (filmed at Gateway Canyons Resort & Spa at our annual Curiosity Retreats) provide expert deep dives into topics as diverse as the future of nanotechnology to understanding the Middle East. And in our Curiosity Studio, we interview world-renowned experts on a dazzling array of topics. These interviews are produced with compelling visuals and form the basis of our Curious Minds series… making topics like quantum computing more accessible. Try it yourself: I bet you will be able to describe a qubit to a friend after watching our Curious Minds: Quantum Computing series with Chris Monroe.

With so much to explore, I can only hope you take time to enjoy your own personal journey of curiosity.

Best,

Elizabeth Hendricks North
President | CuriosityStream

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