Arizona Public Media's Phoenix Mission Documentary Airing this Week on PBS

"Phoenix Mars Mission: Ashes to Ice" will air nationally on Thursday, May 22.
May 19, 2008

Arizona Public Media has announced that its one-hour, high-definition documentary, “Phoenix Mars Mission: Ashes to Ice” has been selected for national primetime distribution by PBS.

The program will air nationally airdate is Thursday, May 22, and will air in Tucson at 9 p.m. on KUAT Channel 6 and at 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. on KUAT-HD (digital 27.1, Cox 706 and Comcast 220). The program repeats through the end of May.

The national airdate is just three days before the Phoenix Mars Lander is scheduled to touch down on the Red Planet.

“This is a major achievement for Arizona Public Media and for The University of Arizona,” said Jack Gibson, Arizona Public Media’s general manager. “PBS is recognized for its superior program offerings and we are honored to be selected for such prestigious national recognition. Our producer, Tom Kleespie, and his team of photographer Martin Rubio and editor Steve Bayless worked tirelessly for months to complete this documentary in cooperation with the Phoenix Mars project team, under the direction of the UA’s Peter Smith.”

“Phoenix Mars Mission: Ashes to Ice” follows the mission’s meticulous preparations and culminates with its dramatic pre-dawn launch from Cape Canaveral in August 2007. “Ashes to Ice” features interviews with Smith and other key scientists who speak about the spacecraft's instruments and the intricate preparations that preceded the launch.

The $420 million mission is headquartered at the UA – the first Mars mission ever led by a public university.

Arizona Public Media has already begun production of a second program to trace the vehicle’s journey through landing and its subsequent experiments on Mars. The air date for that installment is planned for 2009.

“Ashes to Ice” was funded by the Desert Program Partners, a fund of individual contributions specifically designated for the support of original Arizona Public Media productions. The popular nature series, “The Desert Speaks,” now entering its 18th season, is produced by Arizona Public Media and enjoys national distribution by American Public Television, based in Boston. “

"Phoenix Mars Mission: Ashes to Ice” is the station’s first stand-alone documentary to be picked up by PBS for the national program service broadcast schedule.

Arizona Public Media is the public media organization of the UA, which includes PBS stations KUAT channel 6 and KUAS channel 27; Digital TV channels 6-1 KUAT6 Digital; 6-2 PBS Kids; 6-3 V-me (en Español); 6-4 Create; KUAS channel 27-1 PBS HDTV; the UA Channel (Cox 116/Comcast 76); classical music station KUAT-FM 90.5; NPR affiliate KUAZ 1550AM/89.1 FM; and a variety of online activities under the umbrella Arizona Public Media is a registered trademark of the Arizona Board of Regents.