Chances are you saw the news that MAVEN launched on November 18, headed straight to Mars. What you might not have seen yet is the public service announcement LeVar Burton recorded to explain the MAVEN mission. In the nearly 2-minute and 30-second PSA, Burton notes that the purposes of MAVEN – Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution mission – include answering such questions as “Where did all that Martian water go?” and “Was there ever life on Mars?” The answers, Star Trek: The Next Generation’s Commander Geordi La Forge points out, will help improve our understanding of the Red Planet and the perhaps the evolution of our solar system as well.
“NASA is thrilled to have LeVar Burton explain this mission to the greater public,” Bert Ulrich, NASA's multimedia liaison for film and TV collaborations, said in a statement. “Thanks to Burton's engaging talents and passion for space exploration, audiences of all ages will be able to share in the excitement of NASA's next mission to Mars.”