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The author of The Martian is writing a NASA TV pilot for CBS

The author of The Martian is writing a NASA TV pilot for CBS


Exploring the work and lives of NASA personnel

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The Martian promotional stills (FOX)

The Martian was a huge success in both bookstores and movie theaters, and it catapulted author Andy Weir into a rarified atmosphere when it comes to science fiction authors. Now, he’s setting his sights on a new medium: television.

Deadline reported that CBS has given a pilot order for Mission Control, a NASA-themed drama that “revolves around the next generation of NASA astronauts and scientists who juggle their personal and professional lives” during a critical mission.

There’s nothing beyond that, but Weir’s involvement is exciting. The Martian was an intriguing novel because of its studious attention to realism (with some liberties) as astronaut Mark Watney struggled to survive on the surface of Mars. The novel is a love letter to NASA and the work that it does, and Weir is the ideal writer to put together such a project. It’s still very early in the game: the pilot will have to impress the network in order to be greenlit for a series. In the meantime, Weir is hard at work on another hard-science novel, as well as another film with Simon Kinberg and Ridley Scott.

There are plenty of workplace dramas and comedies out there, including some about space. The short-lived 2009 series Defying Gravity was about a group of astronauts embarking on a six-year mission around the Solar System, and the 2015 show The Astronaut Wives Club was a period drama about the wives of the Mercury Seven astronauts.

Both shows earned mixed reviews and didn’t last beyond a season. Not to mention, where police procedurals and hospital dramas are a dime a dozen, there’s still plenty of room for a show about space scientists and engineers — and Mission Control presents a good opportunity to tap into the enthusiasm for space travel that’s come with NASA’s recent missions to Ceres and Pluto.