To Mars By A-Bomb tells the unbelievable true story of how the US attempted to build a spaceship the size of an ocean liner and send it to Mars, Jupiter and Saturn.
Project Orion began in 1958 and ran until 1965, employing some of the best scientists in the world, including the brilliant British mathematician and physicist Freeman Dyson.
“Freeman Dyson is one of the few authentic geniuses I’ve ever met”, says Arthur C. Clarke. “Orion isn’t crazy. It would work. The question isn’t whether we could do it, but whether we should do it”.
The documentary features exclusive interviews with Ted Taylor, who ran Project Orion and who is also the most legendary nuclear weapon designer of all time; and Freeman Dyson who is one of the greatest theoretical physicists and mathematicians that has lived this century. Clarke talks about how he originally wrote the screenplay for Space Odyssey 2001 and he describes how he referenced The Project Orion and its use of nuclear explosives within the plot of the screenplay.
However by the time it came to filming, the nuclear references were dropped as Stanley Kubrick had become very anti-nuclear bombs and his special effects team were unable to come up with an idea as to how to visualise the actual impact of the technology.