Netflix Series ‘Away’ Has This Surprising Connection to Elon Musk

Netflix’s new hit series Away is a futuristic science fiction drama that is neither that far into the future nor outrageously fictional. The series centers on a group of astronauts who, led by their commander Emma Green, played by Hilary Swank, embark on a three-year mission to step foot on Mars for the first time. To make this futuristic realism work, the company looked toward Elon Musk’s SpaceX for inspiration. 

Elon Musk smiling, gesturing with his arm extendedbehind him
Elon Musk | Maja Hitij/Getty Images

What is Away? 

The latest high-profile offering for Netflix’s ever-growing television slate is unlike any other show that they’ve produced. While shows like Stranger Things focus on a highly-stylized and fictional take on the past, Away looks toward the near future for its inspiration. To do this, they tried to make the science of the show as realistic as possible. 

Swank leads an international group of astronauts who work together and do the unthinkable — step foot on Mars within the show’s universe. It’s not a journey that comes without a cost, however. Much like a real Mars expedition, the journey requires a three-year journey in which characters have to leave their families in the name of science. 

The show is not based on anything that has happened yet, but rather an interpretation of what is to come. The show has drawn from other films in the genre and worked closely with those who intend to make the events it portrays reality in the near future. This is where the show brought in the ideas laid by Elon Musk and those who work for him at SpaceX. 

How realistic is Away? 

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Away didn’t want its world to seem real to those who do not pay attention to the space industry. They tried to make it real for those who actually work for it. They consulted several former NASA astronauts and workers from SpaceX to ensure that there was some truth in nearly every detail they chose to portray on-screen, according to Refinery29.

This didn’t just include the type of technology that’s available today. The show takes place in a future just removed from our present, and makers wanted the technology to reflect that. If they made it into a futuristic Utopia that seemed unattainable by our modern standard, the human aspects wouldn’t land, either. 

With many people in agreement that the technology exists to get people to Mars, they had to ask what improvements could be made to make that journey safe and feasible. That may have been the biggest challenge. Thankfully, Musk’s company has been free with information about how they plan to get a man into the outer reaches of space. 

From the ship design to how communication with Earth can be employed, nothing went unchecked as they strode toward a realistic portrayal of fictional events. The result was a success, too. 

Did it work? 

Gregory Johnson fact-checked the show to Spectator, and while he acknowledged the creative liberties they took to amp up the drama, he praised the show for its attention to detail. Audiences agree. Away spent most of its worst week in the top spot of Netflix’s most-watched list, and the audience responded with enthusiastic praise. 

Science-fiction is often known for those stories that are too outrageous to happen. However, when science-fiction tries to represent a scientific reality, it’s a massive chore that requires patience, research, and knowledge of the everyday world. Away knows this, and the show is better for it. Every suit, ship, and other pieces of space technology was researched and executed to be close to what would happen in a real Mars mission. 

Until that mission becomes a reality, however, Away might be the best option space fans have at seeing how it would run.