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The First: Hulu’s new series about a human mission to Mars feels pretty real

Suspending disbelief is a prerequisite for watching most major sci-fi films and series as of late. For me, I have to do the same for series like The First, which debuted on Hulu on September 14 and put a fictional twist on real-life US space policy.

One of the difficulties with envisioning a human mission to Mars today is that it requires a real suspension of belief to accept the idea that the United States or any other entity in the world would mount such a mission now or in the near future.

Sure, NASA has on- and off-again plans to send people to Mars in the 2030s. But anyone who follows space policy closely knows that the agency has neither the funding nor the mandate to make that happen any time soon. There is also little appetite in Washington D.C. or in some quarters of NASA to confront the very real risk of sending humans to Mars. At some point, if we’re going to do that, we have to accept the possibility that people will die.