One of National Geographic’s breakout series last year was ‘Mars.’ A mix of documentary footage within a scripted drama format, ‘Mars’ was unique in that it dealt with the issues of today then took that same issue and placed it in a futuristic setting, in the case of Season 1 it was what would travelling to Mars really be like? While last season focused on the trials of travelling to Mars and the possible challenges the crew (and ultimately the first inhabitants) will face, Season 2 now explores what happens when humans begin to actually colonize the Red Planet. Has humanity learned anything in the millions of years they’ve inhabited Earth?

With the present day goal of getting to the planet Mars, many of what the program addresses no longer seem fanciful. As Season 2 showrunner Dee Johnson explains:

“It’s not even sci-fi, because it’s grounded in reality, which I really dig. The documentary elements help explicate these issues that we’re exploring so our characters don’t have to.”

Season 2 will also show a more intimate side of what living on Mars will be like:

“Season 2 is also about their personal lives, people will hook up and fight and question leadership.”

Taking place 5 years since Season 1, surviving life on Mars has become a little easier with the development of a colony dubbed Olympus Town. People have begun to carve out a life, start relationships, and even increase the population! But of course, with an untapped resource that can be capitalized upon, there will be a monetary element that seeps through a seemingly ideal presentation.

As Jihae who plays Joon Seung laughing says, “They’re in a good place … and then the others come.”

And that’s where Esai Morales’ character comes in. Morales plays Roland St. James, a businessman who works for the company Lukrum Industries and has sent a mining crew to Mars to see what resources they can obtain for profit. What makes this aspect of the story interesting is that one of the question ‘Mars’ poses is does wanting to industrialize really all that bad?

Morales describes the motivation of his character in rather a matter of fact way:

“It’s a symbiotic relationship. Science develops the technology and the know-how that fuels capitalism, and capitalism funds the research and development that scientists need. It can be a real catch-22. People will either see the capitalists as robber barons or genius saviors. It’s just a matter of perception and perspective.”

This conflict between scientists and businessmen weighs heavily in Season 2 and mirrors a lot of what we see happening right now in the current political atmosphere.

Season 2 of ‘Mars’ will tackle many more issues and bring to the forefront a lot of heavy questions you may not have thought about when thinking about what life on that planet will be like. Most of all, it will make you wonder if humanity has learned anything or are we destined to repeat the same mistakes.

Catch Season 2 of ‘Mars’ on the National Geographic Channel and let us know what your conclusion is!