Marco Grob and Time Magazine Take a Year in Space with NASA
When Neil Armstrong was walking on the moon, Marco Grob was in Switzerland watching, enraptured. It ignited a curiosity in him that has never abated. “My first recallable memory in my life is the moon landing,” Marco says. “For a Swiss guy with my background we would watch everything space related like it was The Big Thing.” As the years went on and agencies found themselves reaching towards the stars, Marco was on the ground with his eyes locked on the same celestial map. It all happened an arm’s length away, playing itself out on TV. Until now.
On March 27 of this year, astronaut Scott Kelly launched out of Kazakhstan to the International Space Station where he’s spending a year in Earth’s orbit as a way to better understand how humans are impacted by time in space and help us prepare for manned missions to Mars. But long before Kelly escaped the Earth’s atmosphere, Marco and Shaul Schwarz began their work with Time Magazine to document Scott’s preparation for this historic journey, for a series called “A Year in Space.”
When they started doing the work with Kelly and Time, Marco and Shaul didn’t have the approval of NASA yet. They had the story with Time, but not NASA. Instead, they just jumped in to tell the story. After connecting with Kelly time and time again, he saw the value and depth of the story Time was trying to tell, they were all able to convince NASA.
A large part of Kelly’s preparations for the trip are practice space walks, conducted in a gigantic water tank. Marco and the rest of the team were able to join Kelly on his last practice run before launch, providing them access to parts of astronaut training that had never been seen before. These dives simulate the experience of being in space, complete with suits and creating actual reliance on life support technology. For these reasons, Marco and the team had to train for their singular session with Kelly. “It was probably the hardest thing any of us had ever done. It was really intense,” Marco says. “When we went into the spacewalk with Scott it became clear pretty quickly why the training was so hard. We were under water for probably seven hours.” The challenge wasn’t simply how difficult it is to be under water managing equipment and staying alive. Marco and the rest of the team also had to shoot a series. “With shooting you go through air more quickly, it distracts you from other elements you need to pay attention to during diving,” he explains.
Over the course of filming, they visited Kelly at home, meeting his family, and conducting interview after interview. They found themselves friends on the other side of filming, and more than six months after they met, Marco watched Kelly get launched into space. Which, let’s not forget, is incredibly dangerous. “The take off was extremely, extremely emotional for us because we became friends with the man,” Marco says. “They strap him on top of a tank with liquid oxygen and petrol and then they light a candle. And you see that so many times on TV. But when you know the man and you’ve spent time with the guy and you were at his house, and he was at my house. It’s nerve-wracking. It’s scary and brutal and loud. That was unforgettable.”
Bernstein & Andriulli is thrilled to welcome Marco Grob to our roster. You can find his portfolio here.
The trailer for A Year in Space as well as the first two episodes can be seen on Time.com.