The upcoming fourth season of "For All Mankind" proves that an alternate space history series needn't be all about the Apollo-era of the past.
In fact, it can be as current as this week's headlines.
On Thursday (Oct. 12) — just a day after NASA revealed its first sample returned from an asteroid and on the eve of the launch of the agency's first mission to a metal-rich asteroid — Apple TV+ dropped a new trailer featuring a familiar-looking space rock. It isn't clear if the focus of the "new gold rush" on "For All Mankind" is Bennu, the same target as NASA's recently completed OSIRIS-REx mission, but it and Psyche, the target of NASA's newly launched mission of the same name, seems to have at least inspired the new season's direction.
"This asteroid, it could change everything," says astronaut Danielle Poole (Krys Marshall) in a scene from the two-minute trailer.
The rocky world certainly appears to affect the series' approach to settling Mars and its burgeoning colony.
"Rocketing into the new millennium in the eight years since season three, Happy Valley has rapidly expanded its footprint on Mars by turning former foes into partners. Now 2003, the focus of the space program has turned to the capture and mining of extremely valuable, mineral-rich asteroids that could change the future of both Earth and Mars," a season synopsis reads. "But simmering tensions between the residents of the now-sprawling international base threaten to undo everything they are working towards."
The trailer switches from scenes of new recruits arriving to work on Mars to what appears to be a mining operation on an asteroid's surface going awry.
"We can capture the most valuable known object in our solar system," says Dev Ayesa (Edi Gathegi), the founder of Helios, a commercial spaceflight company introduced in the third season of the series. "Building a new world for our future."
The trailer's release was timed to coincide with a "For All Mankind" panel and screening of the new season's first episode at New York Comic-Con on Thursday. The fourth season is set to make its global debut on Nov. 10 on Apple TV+, followed by a new episode weekly every Friday through Jan. 12, 2024.
In addition to Marshall and Gathegi, other returning cast members include Joel Kinnaman (veteran astronaut Ed Baldwin), Wrenn Schmidt (flight director and NASA manager Margo Madison), Cynthy Wu (astronaut Kelly Baldwin) and Coral Peña (flight director Aleida Rosales). New series regulars include Toby Kebbell as oil platform worker Miles, Tyner Rushing as Happy Valley worker Samantha, Daniel Stern as the new NASA Administrator Eli Hobson and Svetlana Efremova as Soviet official Irina Morozova.
"For All Mankind" was created by Golden Globe nominee and Emmy Award winner Ronald D. Moore ("Star Trek," "Battlestar Galactica") and Emmy nominees Ben Nedivi and Matt Wolpert ("Fargo," "American Crime Story"). Nedivi and Wolpert serve as showrunners and executive produce alongside Moore and Maril Davis of Tall Ship Productions, as well as David Weddle, Bradley Thompson and Seth Edelstein. "For All Mankind" is produced for Apple TV+ by Sony Pictures Television.
The first three seasons of "For All Mankind" are available to stream on Apple TV+.
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Robert Pearlman is a space historian, journalist and the founder and editor of collectSPACE.com, an online publication and community devoted to space history with a particular focus on how and where space exploration intersects with pop culture. Pearlman is also a contributing writer for Space.com and co-author of "Space Stations: The Art, Science, and Reality of Working in Space” published by Smithsonian Books in 2018. He previously developed online content for the National Space Society and Apollo 11 moonwalker Buzz Aldrin, helped establish the space tourism company Space Adventures and currently serves on the History Committee of the American Astronautical Society, the advisory committee for The Mars Generation and leadership board of For All Moonkind. In 2009, he was inducted into the U.S. Space Camp Hall of Fame in Huntsville, Alabama. In 2021, he was honored by the American Astronautical Society with the Ordway Award for Sustained Excellence in Spaceflight History.