A new IMAX film detailing a realistic scenario for the first human mission to Mars debuts in California Friday at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center.

“Journey To Space” focuses on the next steps in America’s space program — the Orion spacecraft and giant Space Launch System — and concludes with a factual preview of how astronauts will get to the red planet.

The 42-minute movie is narrated by Star Trek’s Sir Patrick Stewart and features extensive interviews with NASA astronauts Chris Ferguson and Serena Aunon.

“No longer science fiction, a human mission to Mars is in the planning stages, and major steps are being taken to make it a reality within a generation,” said Bob Kresser, CEO of producer K2 Films. “Our goal in making this film was to tie together the actual hardware being built with the tremendous planning underway that will make the next steps in space exploration the most far-reaching in our history.”

The film is particularly meaningful for San Diego because of the city’s role in aeronautics and space technology. The first Orion spacecraft landed off San Diego in December, and was recovered by a San Diego-based Navy ship. A number of local companies are building parts for NASA’s space systems.

Steven Snyder, president of the Fleet Center, described the film as a “love letter to manned space exploration” and said the first human to step on Mars is alive today and could be from San Diego.

As many as four screenings are scheduled daily through April 21. Tickets are available online.

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.