In the year 2030, the race to be the first to reach the Red Planet is on - and China is leading the way. China has stunned the world by leapfrogging over America's long-term plans and has landed a series of advanced rovers and robotic landers in their quest to make the most important discovery in history - extraterrestrial life. Once again, America and its partners, including Canada, are thrust into a winner-take-all space race - but this time the stakes are even higher than the race to the Moon nearly seven decades earlier.
The international team accelerates its plans to launch a human mission, drawing together astronauts from Canada, the United States, Russia, France and Japan for a gruelling assignment. In a capsule the size of just two school buses, these four men and two women must work together as a team and struggle with the sacrifice of leaving friends and family behind. This elite crew - after years of training and psychological evaluations - band together for the ultimate career-making mission. This journey will last for nearly 600 days and will take them 56-million kilometres away from their lives on Earth - and the physical and psychological isolation they experience will be unlike anything these astronauts have ever known.
This mission asks for extraordinary human sacrifice, but the payoff - being the first to discover potential life on another planet - is irresistible to an astronaut with just "the right stuff." Among them, the driven mission commander who's never known failure - until he loses one of his own to the unforgiving environment on Mars; the rational flight surgeon who discovers a new spirituality as she grapples with the magnitude of her journey; the veteran cosmonaut who knows just how many rules can be broken; the brilliant French nuclear physicist; and the Canadian astronaut who will play a key role before the end of the journey. Training and determination will get them only so far, and when this crew sets out on humanity's first expedition to another world, nothing can prepare them for the unexpected danger and staggering wonder of what they will experience.