Imagining a deadly asteroid is set to hit Earth in just six months, a new CBS thriller provides a fictional scenario for how the U.S. government and private interests might try to prevent the impending apocalypse. As we wait for the show, called "Salvation," to air tonight (July 12), a couple of new video clips hint at the tensions surrounding this situation.
One clip shows Darius Tanz, a tech entrepreneur played by Santiago Cabrera, trying to get insider help from Grace Barrows, a Pentagon official played by Jennifer Finnigan, during a Washington, D.C., soiree.
"People are drinking, dancing, celebrating, with no idea that the world is coming to an end," Tanz says, before insulting a plan proposed by Harris Edwards (played by Ian Anthony Dale), deputy secretary of defense on the show. [In CBS' 'Salvation,' Approaching Asteroid Sparks Geopolitical Fires]
"He's loyal, but a bureaucrat," Tanz warns.
"What do you mean?" Barrows asks.
"I don't think he's telling either of us the whole truth. What if I told you the government's plan is bullocks and I have a real plan, but I need someone on the inside?"
You'll need to watch the show to find out what the plan is, but there are hints that Tanz may be getting some help from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. A separate clip (above) shows astrophysics student Liam Cole (Charlie Rowe) tackled against the wall by a security guard while trying to meet with Tanz.
After the guard lets him go, Cole makes a sudden move, and the guard pulls a gun on him. "Easy!" shouts Cole. "I've got a flash drive in my pocket with all the data."
To a stern-looking Tanz, Cole explains that he has been running simulations to see how asteroids and comets interact with each other. He adds that NASA routinely studies near-Earth objects that are already known.
"I'm looking for the ones we've missed, and I found one," Cole adds.
While the clips don't give much hint of the science of the show, in real life, NASA works with a network of telescopes to monitor known near-Earth objects, and to find new ones. The entire catalog of known objects is available online.
Viewers of "Salvation" can breathe easy for now, though; while NASA remains vigilant for threats, the agency has not found any dangerous asteroid or comet bearing down on Earth.
The first season of the show will include 10 episodes this summer, and it airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. EDT (8 p.m. CDT) starting July 11.
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Elizabeth Howell (she/her), Ph.D., is a staff writer in the spaceflight channel since 2022 covering diversity, education and gaming as well. She was contributing writer for Space.com for 10 years before joining full-time. Elizabeth's reporting includes multiple exclusives with the White House and Office of the Vice-President of the United States, an exclusive conversation with aspiring space tourist (and NSYNC bassist) Lance Bass, speaking several times with the International Space Station, witnessing five human spaceflight launches on two continents, flying parabolic, working inside a spacesuit, and participating in a simulated Mars mission. Her latest book, "Why Am I Taller?", is co-written with astronaut Dave Williams. Elizabeth holds a Ph.D. and M.Sc. in Space Studies from the University of North Dakota, a Bachelor of Journalism from Canada's Carleton University and a Bachelor of History from Canada's Athabasca University. Elizabeth is also a post-secondary instructor in communications and science at several institutions since 2015; her experience includes developing and teaching an astronomy course at Canada's Algonquin College (with Indigenous content as well) to more than 1,000 students since 2020. Elizabeth first got interested in space after watching the movie Apollo 13 in 1996, and still wants to be an astronaut someday. Mastodon: https://qoto.org/@howellspace