Ultimate Mars Challenge Blu-ray delivers great video and audio in this excellent Blu-ray release
No synopsis for Ultimate Mars Challenge.
For more about Ultimate Mars Challenge and the Ultimate Mars Challenge Blu-ray release, see Ultimate Mars Challenge Blu-ray Review published by Brian Orndorf on February 16, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.0 out of 5.
The quest to unlock the mystery of Mars has bewitched scientists for over 50 years, dating back to early probe discoveries of the 1960s. It's a planet of untold resources and possible life, yet exploring efforts with rovers have only managed to scrape the dust off the surface. Enter Curiosity, a behemoth of a rover that was launched in 2011 in an effort to send a machine skyward capable of doing a little more than to simply collect soil samples. Here was a work of engineering mastery, with drills, wheels, and cameras able to observe and tour Mars in ways previous thought unimaginable. And while the rover made its miraculous touchdown on the red planet in 2012, the story of Curiosity begins with its construction -- a concerted effort to build a machine durable enough to withstand the harsh elements of an alien landscape.
"Ultimate Mars Challenge" details the labor of NASA's Mars Science Laboratory as they work to turn a dream of investigation into a reality. The challenge was Curiosity's enormous car-like size, requiring intense testing to secure safe passage for the big girl. We see computer models of landing scenarios, visits the country's largest wind tunnel to try out parachutes, and greet the minds that turned to bicycle technology to provide resilient wheels for the rover. The effort to construct such a complex machine of scientific study and problem solving was colossal, with cameras eagerly surveying the anxiety of construction and experimentation, surveying the tentative steps toward launch day.
The AVC encoded image (1.78:1 aspect ratio) presentation retains the feel of the original HD television broadcast, with a pleasingly crisp, fluid viewing experience. Colors are generous and true, offering stable, buoyant hues with deep blues of NASA employee outfits and the brownish range of the Mars landscapes. Fine detail is healthy, detailing facial textures with ease, while scientific scale and construction is also showcased in a vivid manner, permitting pause-worthy moments of study. Blacks aren't particularly deep but quite functional. Some banding is detected.
The 2.0 DTS-HD MA sound mix carries itself well as more of a blunt force track than a dimensional effort. Narration by Lance Lewman is deep and commanding, guiding the program comfortably, while interviewees sound equally emphasized, with emotional shifts easily understood. Scoring is supportive without overwhelming the human elements of the program, and rover sound effects register cleanly, adding to the fantasy of the CGI sequences. There's a fullness here that's welcome.
"Ultimate Mars Challenge" provides a brief but satisfying overview of the Curiosity rover mission, while sticking to the scientific roots of "Nova" by detailing the possibilities of Mars, with its vast systems of frozen water and a mystery of methane. It's also a story of human interaction, with the MSL team emerging as a family to see their youngest member off into space, with hopes that this puzzle that's been fussed over for years will come together when it counts the most, returning previously impossible images and samples from Mars for study on Earth.
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