Mythbusters extend contract & add development deal/Phoenix Mars lander officially dead

May 25, 2010

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I’ll start off by simply saying that I think Mythbusters is one of the greatest things ever created on television. This show is not only a nerd’s dream come true, but it’s also entertaining enough that the non-nerds can enjoy it as well… and in the end everyone learns something. The show is easily the Discovery Channel’s greatest success. The show’s success reaches FAR beyond ratings, however, in that it cleverly promotes scientific and critical thinking to the masses. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that many kids who would’ve otherwise never been interested in science have become interested in it because of this show. These guys prove that science and critical thinking are cool. The value of continually educating people about science, and especially keeping a steady flow of young people into the field of science, is absolutely essential for the well-being of humanity. I think that the value of this show’s contribution to society may never be fully realized, but I will continue to tirelessly promote it. At risk of boring you, the reader, I will now cut to the chase: the news via i09 that made me jump for joy this morning. To know that this television series is here to stay for many more years and also that its creators and stars will be involved in many spin-off projects makes me absolutely elated. I’ll simply give you the full press release from the Discovery Channel:

LOS ANGELES, CA, — Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage, co-hosts of Discovery Channel’s MythBusters series, have signed a multi-year deal to co-executive produce the popular science show. In addition, Hyneman and Savage have formed a new production company and they will team with BermanBraun to develop and create additional television series with Discovery Channel.

Building on their production activities, Hyneman and Savage will extend their activities to video games and a live show to take on tour around the country. The duo, along with BermanBraun, also will create and produce a new branded web initiative.

“We’re excited not only to continue on the MythBusters series for Discovery, but also to expand our reach into additional opportunities in television, the internet, touring, video games and more. We could not have accomplished this escalation without the dedicated efforts of our entire team, and we’re also extremely grateful to Discovery for their continuing expressions of confidence.” said Jamie Hyneman.

“Adam and Jamie infuse science with their special brand of humor, tenacity and passion,” said Clark Bunting, President and General Manager of Discovery Channel and President of Science Channel. “Now that they are taking on co-executive producer roles, viewers are guaranteed to see even more of their smart and engaging personalities throughout the new shows.”

Lloyd Braun and Gail Berman said: “Jamie and Adam have a truly special appeal and speak to a dedicated and wide-ranging audience. We are excited about developing new series, which speak to that audience and continue to build on the unique Jamie and Adam brand.”

MythBusters, the longest running series on Discovery Channel, which airs on Wednesdays at 9PM ET/PT, is produced by Australian producer Beyond Productions, and began airing on the network in 2003. Dan Tapster is the executive producer for Beyond Productions; Tracy Rudolph is the supervising producer for Discovery Channel.

Credit: NASA

My other piece of science news comes from NASA (surprise surprise). The Phoenix Mars Lander mission has been officially ended after new images of the lander taken by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter show structural damage to the solar panels. It’s very important to remember that this mission was a resounding success, and the lander lasted as long as it was supposed to. It gathered valuable scientific data, and found exactly what it was looking for- water ice just underneath the Martian “topsoil.” However, Phoenix landed in a northern area of Mars which is covered in frozen CO2 (dry ice) during the Martian winter. Since the probe landed in the Martian fall, it was expected that it would be covered in ice and not survive the winter. The following Martian spring began in January, and the mission scientists decided to attempt communications with the probe just in case it somehow survived. They got no responses for several months, and now that they’ve analyzed the photos from the MRO, they’re certain that the lander cannot function due to the solar panel damage. Again, this is in no way a failure, but rather a minor disappointment in the mission. I guess after the massive success of the Spirit and Opportunity rovers (which have now broken the record for longest-running Mars misssion), NASA thought they might get lucky and get a little more life out of Phoenix as well. (Via Discovery News)

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