How Accurate Is For All Mankind's Space Technology In Season 4? Here's What Apple TV+'s NASA Advisor Told Us

How Accurate Is For All Mankind's Space Technology In Season 4? Here's What Apple TV+'s NASA Advisor Told Us

For All Mankind's fourth season arrived for Apple TV+ subscribers in the 2023 TV schedule after more than a year of hiatus. As usual, the streaming series jumped ahead in time to advance the storyline (and pack the aging makeup onto the actors), and the arrival in the 21st century means the action is catching up with present day. So, when CinemaBlend had the chance to speak with Garrent Reisman as the show's NASA tech advisor, I got the inside scoop on just how accurate Season 4 is to real life.

Space travel has become much more common by the 21st century in the world of For All Mankind, with new spaceships and the drive to mine asteroids as just two examples of what Season 4 is doing almost entirely new. When I spoke with NASA tech advisor Garrett Reisman, production designer Seth Reed, and costume designer Esther Marquis at Apple TV+'s For All Mankind press junket, Reisman explained how the tech has evolved in relation to real life:

From a technical standpoint, it's getting much more challenging as we go out to first Season 3, and now Season 4, as we've gone beyond what we've done in reality. So now even though it's 2003 as we start Season 4, we're so far ahead of where we are today in reality in 2023. We don't have habitats on Mars, we don't have ships with people going out to asteroids, but we've thought about these things, and we have preliminary designs and concepts.

While the opening montage of For All Mankind's Season 4 premiere prior to the tragic loss of Grigory only went as far as the show's version of 2003, the technology is far more advanced than what is currently available circa 2023. Garrett Reisman – who is a former astronaut as well as current NASA advisor to the Apple TV+ show – had to face new challenges for the newest batch of episodes. He continued: 

There's material drawn but it's harder for me to say to Esther and Seth like, 'Hey, that's wrong.' Because we haven't done yet, so who am I to say? For me, what it comes down to is, okay, well, what do I think it is going to be like when we get there? And does it comply with the basic laws of physics? So that's really what I focus on. In a way it's very liberating too for me, because I don't have to just say like, 'Okay, well, this is the way it worked on the space shuttle, so let's do it that way.' I can be more creative and look at some of the awesome sets that Seth designed and the suits and the costumes that Esther designed and really say like, 'Okay, yeah, so we can get really creative here and do something completely new and innovative.' As long as it looks like it could work

Well, For All Mankind ranks among our picks for the best Apple TV+ shows for a reason, and it's not because the technology seems completely implausible! The show advancing beyond what is currently possible can allow for more creativity, according to the NASA advisor, as long as the laws of physics aren't blatantly broken. Production designer Seth Reed shared his take on the accuracy of Season 4 as well, picking up where Reisman left off: 

Honestly, every single thing is believable. You're not going to see something sci-fi in our show; you're going to see something NASA-based, and you're going to try to understand and you'll be given the clues as to why that is the shape that it is, or the way the light comes in the window. Even the design of the rover, everything is practically-based and functional. The aesthetic comes through as a 'form follows function' aesthetic, which is very, very grounded in reality and NASA-based. Even the color scheme of the various sets is grounded carefully on what NASA would do and the way things look nowadays. We push into the future but there's always that history and always that place where we started from. You'll never lose that.

Huge portions of For All Mankind have been spent in space and on Mars, but that doesn't make it sci-fi akin to Star Trek or Battlestar Galactica or Star Wars. Fans still have to suspend their disbelief for Season 4 storylines since so much hasn't actually happened in real life yet, though, and that's not going to change if the bosses stick to their long-term plans for the show. We can just safely assume that everything is as realistic to the real-life laws of physics and NASA tech as possible! 

New episodes of For All Mankind Season 4 release on Fridays for fans with Apple TV+ subscriptions, and the show will continue into the new year as part of the 2024 TV schedule. You can also find the full first three seasons of the drama on the Apple streamer.