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“One Strange Rock” tells the story of our planet – from space. Featuring Will Smith as host and Darren Aronofsky as producer, the series highlights the world’s most unique places – including the arctic magic of Svalbard and Kautokeino.

Published: 22 March 2018

“The strangest place in the whole universe might just be right here.” 

So says actor Will Smith during the opening moments of National Geographic’s epic new nature documentary series “One Strange Rock”, which tells the story of Planet Earth in a new and exciting way. 

Through 10 episodes, eight astronauts share their experiences from space and their thoughts on Earth’s place in it, accompanied by spectacular images from 45 countries – and from the International Space Station.

Among the world’s most fascinating places, two wintery parts of Norway are included – the island group Svalbard and the Northern town Kautokeino.
 

Microalgae and extreme reindeer herding

In the first episode of “One Strange Rock” we get to tag along with glaciologist Heidi Sevestre on one of her trips to Svalbard.

There, sliding glaciers provide tonnes of nutrition for diatoms – microalgae that are essential to the ecosystem, but only observable by the naked eye from space.

The movements of the ice are difficult to see ahead of the slides, but listening through the underwater instrument hydrophone, a distinctive sound emerges.

“It sounds like Rice Krispies”, Sevestre laughingly says as she hears the melting ice crackle.

Svalbard

Svalbard.
Photo: National Geographic

Another episode takes us to the mountains of Northern Norway. Kautokeino is a visually stunning example of the arctic winter, and reindeer herd Isak Mathis Triumf provides insight into reindeer migration. He stresses the importance of reindeer moss to life north of the Arctic Circle.   

“To me, reindeer moss is more important than silver and gold”, Triumf says in the episode, adding: 

“Without it, there would be no reindeer, and by extension no me.” 

The mayor of Kautokeino, Johan Vasara, tells the newspaper Dagbladet that he is thrilled that his hometown is included in this ambitious project. 

“This kind of advertising is priceless. This is a series that will be broadcast all over the world. The TV channel and setting is just right for us. This is no Disney production, but something unique and real. It’s in line with what we want to be as an area and municipality”, Vasara says to the newspaper.

Kautokeino

Kautokeino.
Photo: National Geographic

Will Smith meets master director

The producer of “One Strange Rock” is the award-winning director Darren Aronofsky, best known for visually distinctive and inventive films such as “Requiem For A Dream”, “Mother!” and “Black Swan”. 

“What was exciting about this was taking astronomy, anthropology, biology, chemistry, physics, and trying to sort of blend them together to talk about this home that we’re all living on”, Aronofsky says.

Darren Aronofsky

Darren Aronofsky.
Photo: National Geographic

Even though Will Smith has the role of host and narrator, the eight astronauts are the ones providing the series with a – quite literally – unique perspective. They all agree that the series succeeds in conveying the overwhelming sense of being disconnected from your home planet.    

“That's one of the things I loved about the episodes "One Strange Rock". I think those colors and the essence of it is pulled out in a way like I haven't seen before”, astronaut Nicole Stott says about the series.

“One Strange Rock” premieres on National Geographic on March 26, and more trailers from the series are available here.

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