Watch: Wil Wheaton & William Shatner’s Dueling Narrations For NASA’s New Mars Rover

Once again NASA looks to Star Trek to help tell their story. Today the space agency released two versions of a video about the Curiosity Rover (aka Mars Science Laboratory) which is scheduled to touch down on the surface of Mars next week. And to satisfy fans of different generations one version of the video is narrated by original Star Trek star William Shatner and the other has Next Generation’s Wil Wheaton. Watch both below.        



Wheaton and Shatner preview Curiosity’s Mission To Mars

On August 5th, the Mars Curiosity Rover will go through what NASA is calling "seven minutes of terror" as the craft goes through a complicated entry procedure to land on the surface of Mars. Curiosity is the biggest rover sent to Mars yet and the landing is very complicated.

Curiosity’s "seven minutes of terror"

To help people understand the mission, NASA today released a new video all about Curiosity and its complex entry to Mars. They put out two versions of the video, one narrated by William Shatner and one narrated by Wil Wheaton. The videos and narration script are the same, so you choose which Star Trek vet you want telling the story…

Shatner version

Wheaton version

For more on the Curiosity Mars Science lab visit

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I’ll take Wils view

Shatner’s version please.

Shatner has one of the best narration voices in the industry. I have to give him the nod.

Shatner also did a fabulous job narrating the “Mars Rising” series on the Science Channel. I’m totally stoked for what will hopefully be a perfect landing of the Curiosity rover.

Wheaton was good.. but Shatner’s was better.

Shatner’s narration is the voice of wisdom and experience.
Wheaton’s is the enthusiasm of youth.
Kudos to both Trek vets. Anything that serves to heighten public interest in science and space exploration can only be for the good.

Hopefully everything goes well. There are an awful lot of “ifs” in this landing. I trust NASA to have checked and double checked everything they can, but it’s usually that thing you just didn’t consider that bites ya.

Neither as good at all. Shatner sounded like they had to re-record words he forgot to say the first time. Had lots of trouble saying “minute”.

Wheaton sounds like “Hi, I’m talking like LeVar in Reading Radio. Actually worse. I was a child actor, but I’m not him anymore! See? I have a beard! I’m someone else! I can talk intensely.” Give me his Eureka character any day.

Wil Wheaton was better, i don’t like the way Shatner is speaking… Or i’m just a too big Wil wheaton-fan i don’t know^^

I really hope that jettisoned heat shield doesn’t kill any Martians.

Captain Kirk could make first contact, have sex with their women, and negotiate a treaty by noon. Wesley would’ve been bitch slapped off the bridge and hasn’t seen a vagina since (if you count Worf’s forehead).

Argument is closed, gentlemen..

Shatner please.


“Neither as good at all. Shatner sounded like they had to re-record words he forgot to say the first time. Had lots of trouble saying “minute”.

Uh, not sure how you got that nit pick. Even with my hearing loss I had no trouble understanding either one. Particularly not Mr. Shatner.


Bill sounds like he’s reading a script whereas Wil sounds genuinely enthusiastic about the subject. A bit too much at first, actually, but he evens out as it goes on.

Shatner a bit un-enthused… too sleepy…. Wheaton… a bit too excited. Wheaton’s version commands more attention. Perhaps a Take 2?

#8 – Wow, someone must’ve peed in your Cheerios this morning!

Shatner doesn’t struggle with any words here, especially the word “minutes.” The closest thing to a problem is the word “terror,” which lots of people slur into “turrrrr” like Shatner does here. Aside from that, every word was clearly enunciated. (How do YOU pronounce “minutes” if not the way Shatner–and every person ever–says it?)

As for Wheaton, I guess you’re referring to “Reading Rainbow” (not “Reading Radio”), but you don’t know what you’re talking about. Wheaton doesn’t sound any different than he does as the host of TableTop or anything other project, including his Eureka character.

I doubt you actually listened to the narrations, since your observations don’t match even slightly what either man does here.

Wil is the cooler person.

Bill is the better narrator.

I prefer Mr. Shatner version…

Shatner always used words as a weapon. I noticed that as a kid. It impressed me. He disarmed computers and alien races with emphasis on diction and elocution. He charmed alien babes and robots into hs good graces. You could tell language was important to him. People have caricatured him and mis described him into whatever it is they say about him. I’ve since heard him say how important speaking was to him. I’d take Shat’s narration any day.

Wil Wheaton Wesley Weenie

Bill is a FAR more charasmatic actor, Wheaton a better comedian. Shatners’ voiceover work has always suffered from lack of his full physical engagement in the acting.. His animated series Kirk voice was dull, and his computer game Kirk (Judgment Rites) is practically asleep. (I remember one scene when a starship literally blows up on his video screen and he mumbles “… my god…” like he couldn’t care less.)

Interestingly, you can get these clips to both play simultaneously but after a while they get out of sync. Clearly, a little editing was done to time the video to the pace of the narration.

Mr. Shatner has excellent voice skills, but I have to go with Wil’s enthusiasm on this topic.

Anyone notice Shatner makes a real cameo and Wheaton doesn’t. I bet there is a rider in a contract somewhere! HA

@21 “His animated series Kirk voice was dull”

Well, I will agree with you on that. I always felt a bit disappointed by that aspect of the cartoon.

Well, that’s what happens when an actor phones in his performance – literally. ;)

I got to give it to Shatner. His voice over work and narration is excellent.

This is not Shatner’s best voice-over work, but I have to say that I like his better. It’s not so much about talent as it is preference on the voice itself. Shatner’s voice simply fits the Discovery Channel style documentary. Will’s voice sounds more like he belongs on Animal Planet

Shatner’s delivery has a sort of gravitas that is rarely beat. He’s a knowledgable guy, too, so anytime you hear him doing voice work for scientific endeavors and shows, it feels like he’s happy to be learning something, knowing it, and helping share it. (Although Nimoy’s voice was even weightier! In fact, Trek has a pretty substantial history of great, historic voices. There’s a lot fewer modern actors who are so easily recognizable by their voices and the credibility that comes with a distinct voice.)

Wheaton’s great, too. I get a mild kick out of hearing him described as having the “enthusiasm of youth”. The man is 40, right? But he does have a youthful, jovial way of speaking.


I was also thinking Nimoy would do a great job on this.

If you’re looking beyond Trek, one name comes to mind: Morgan Freeman.

Mr. Shatner,please.


Wil Wheaton gets my vote

OMG, Shatner by LIGHT YEARS. Wheaton’s is fine but I felt I was watching the Disney Channel science minute.

BTW, i’m pretty skeptical that this new landing method NASA is trying out will work. Seems like there are way to many chances for this thing to fail. I hope it doesn’t, of course.


Shatner. Hands down.

Of course, the only reason we’re even having this debate is because Patrick Stewart wasn’t part of the discussion…

#34 So, you’re voting for Wheaton, right? ;)

Wheaton is better

Neither. Shatner is just phoning it in and Wheaton sounds like an amateur.
If Shatner couldn’t drum up the enthusiasm for a mission of this scope, then they should have hired someone who could.
Patrick Stewart or Michael Dorn would have been just awesome. And that’s what you need here…awesomeness.

Shatner always over Pestley Crusher, by 154 million miles in this instance. NASA should also the Shat to explain why this Rube Goldberg contraption failed as well. Way too complicated and makes the other rover landing inside a phalanx of air bags seem sensible. Parachute opens at 1,000 mph? Gotta get some of that cord, beats the hell out of any 550 cord. Supposedly. Good luck to them and I hope to be proven the fool on this.

Shatner gets my vote for the better narration.

Watching them simultaneously is funny :D

Kirk would never allow Wesley on his bridge.

Write-in candidate: Morgan Freeman.

Come on, NASA, if you’re gonna go, go with the best. “Through the Wormhole” is an outstanding show.

Both are good, but I think I prefer Shatner here….

I’d have to go with Bill. Will sounds like he rehearsed too much.

I’ll go with Bill too.

32. Chris Doohan – Traitor!!!!

Just kidding. Hey, how tall are the dilithium crystal vials? I couldn’t find the dimensions anywhere on your site. You know, if you advertised them as dilithium crystal meth, you could probably get ten times the price ;-)

32. Chris Doohan “Wil Wheaton gets my vote”

Uh, Chris, let’s be diplomatic here, without mentioning the other guy’s name.

Did you cast your vote for Wheaton because, in your opinion, the other guy has spent his life resembling and acting like the back end of a certain animal he likes to ride?

If protocol and political correctness dictate that you can’t answer in the affirmative, just reply, “NEVER!”

(we’ll understand) :>)

Shame, Harry.
Hang your Ballz in shame, sir.