Movie Mom

Movie Mom


An Astronaut on “Gravity”

posted by Nell Minow

What do astronauts think of Gravity?  Mark Kelly wrote about his reaction to the George Clooney/Sandra Bullock space movie in the Washington Post.  “I’ve spent a total of 55 days in space so I know what to look for, and Cuarón really was able to capture what it looks like inside and outside of a spacecraft.”

Of course, I would fail you as an astronaut and an amateur film critic if I did not touch on the big misconception of “Gravity.” A key plot point involves a space station falling out of orbit because it was hit by debris. But that just doesn’t happen. Likewise, blowing up stuff in orbit makes a big mess, but it doesn’t send a giant field of shrapnel hurtling at high velocity toward a spacecraft that is circulating Earth in an entirely different orbit.

I can say this with confidence, because I’ve dealt with my fair share of space junk. In January of 2007, China intentionally targeted and destroyed one of its satellites, and it made a big mess in orbit. Six months later, I commanded space shuttle Discovery on a mission to the international space station . As one can imagine, we were concerned about the additional space junk. But we knew that we only had to put some distance between us and the debris.

You also can’t just point at things in space, head off in that direction and expect to get there. In June of 1965, Jim McDivitt tried to rendezvous his Gemini 4 spacecraft with a spent rocket casing — and he failed.

At the time, NASA didn’t understand that by pointing at something and accelerating, you increase your altitude, slow down and instead move away.

Today, we know that the best way to join up with another spacecraft is a slow procedure that takes an entire day in the space shuttle — too long for the supercharged momentum of a movie.

But the truth is, most of this doesn’t matter. Cuarón has given us a glimpse of the awe that is the universe beyond our atmosphere. And physics aside, he does it remarkably well.

 



Previous Posts

Contest Winner -- "Earth to Echo's" GoPro Camera
Thanks to all who entered!  This contest had far more entries than any other I've ever run.  Congratulations to the lucky winner! WINNER OF THE GOPRO CAMERA: Susan D. Burkburnett, TX  

posted 11:54:55pm Jul. 29, 2014 | read full post »

Intuition -- A Short Film from Danielle Lurie
I love this short film from Danielle Lurie about a young woman who needs to learn to listen to her heart, with a wonderful performance by Montse Muñoz. [vimeo]https://vimeo.com/101953117[/vimeo]

posted 10:09:01am Jul. 29, 2014 | read full post »

Interview: Joseph Nasser of "Amber Alert: Terror on the Highway"
Reserve Police Officer Joseph Nasser produced Amber Alert: Terror on the Highway to help raise awareness of the Amber Alert system. It stars Tom Berenger as a man on the edge, making a dead rush for Mexico and kidnapping two young girls along the way. He is hotly pursued by police chief Martha Geig

posted 8:00:33am Jul. 28, 2014 | read full post »

"Guardian of the Galaxy's" Awesome Mixtape
One of the many pleasures of "Guardians of the Galaxy," opening this week, is the soundtrack featuring some 70's classics from an "Awesome Mixtape" played by Peter "Star Lord" Quill (Chris Pratt).  Here are some of the highlights. "Hooked on a Feeling" by Blue Swede [youtube]http://www.youtub

posted 8:00:21am Jul. 27, 2014 | read full post »

Comic-Con 2014: Day 2
Day 2 of Comic-Con included: an interview with "Sharknado" and "Sharknado 2" screenwriter Thunder Levin, a buggy lunch with Boxtrolls, press events with the directors and casts of four films, and appearing on the Rotten Tomatoes panel, where each attendee was given a paddle with a ripe tomato on on

posted 10:04:47pm Jul. 26, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.