Oscar-winning director Ron Howard, who is coming out with documentary-drama “Mars”, feels cinema can contribute in spreading awareness, and says that the goal of the medium is to inform and entertain.

“I think cinema can participate in informing population. I think they can inspire, and part of National Geographic’s goal, and our goal, is to both inform and to entertain. Entertainment is a wonderful way to stimulate people’s imagination,” Howard told IANS over phone from London.

Howard, who has been associated with showbiz from his childhood, has directed “Mars” along with Brian Grazer. The global mini-series showcases how humans will be set to leave earth to find a home on the red planet.

The six-part series — which will take the viewers to the red planet and explain the possibility of life there — will premiere on November 14 on National Geographic channel.

The director added: “If this inspires some people to take the idea more seriously and dig deeper, then great. If it only entertains and provides a really great diversion, well, that’s fine too. I think that it’s a story that can speak to different people in different ways.”

Howard has come a long way in showbiz — from being a child star in “The Andy Griffith Show” to becoming a globally-acclaimed director. He also carved a niche for himself in Hollywood as a director with films like “Cocoon”, “Apollo 13”, “A Beautiful Mind”, “The Da Vinci Code”, “Angels & Demons” and “Inferno”.

The 62-year-old thinks science is giving hints that life can sustain on another planet as well.

“Astronomers are discovering more and more regions of the galaxy, and of the universe rather, that could possibly have planets that we could live on without terraforming them. We may well find planets that are more easily habitable,” Howard said, adding that “at the moment, it’s a bit of a dream”.

“Science is telling us that it’s within the possibility of the human experience if we continue to grow and evolve our science,” the director said.

Howard hopes “Mars” ignites people’s imagination and excites them about the idea of deep space exploration.

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