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Space Film "Gravity": Can Science-Fiction Ever Get The Science Right?

dryriver (1010635) writes | about 10 months ago

1

dryriver (1010635) writes "The BBC reports: "The relationship between science and science fiction has always been tempestuous. Gravity focuses on two astronauts stranded in space after the destruction of their space shuttle. Since Gravity's US release (it comes to the UK in November) many critics have praised the film for its scientific accuracy. But noted astrophysicist Dr Neil deGrasse Tyson, director of the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, had several issues with the accuracy of Gravity's portrayal of space. Through a series of posts on Twitter, Tyson — who later emphasised that he "enjoyed the film very much" — highlighted various errors. He noted the Hubble space telescope (orbiting at 350 miles above sea level), the International Space Station (at 250 miles), and a Chinese space station could never be in line of sight of one another. On top of that, most satellites orbit west to east, yet in the film the satellite debris was seen drifting east to west. Tyson also noted how Sandra Bullock's hair did not float freely as it would in zero-gravity. This is arguably not so much an error in physics, but a reflection of the limitations of cinematic technology to accurately portray actors in zero-gravity. That is, of course, without sending them into space for the duration of the film. The Michael Bay film Armageddon is known for its woeful number of inaccuracies, from the space shuttles separating their rocket boosters and fuel tanks in close proximity to each other (risking a collision) and to objects falling on to the asteroid under a gravitational pull seemingly as strong as the Earth's. More than one interested observer tried to work out how big the bomb would have to be to blow up an asteroid in the way demanded in the movie. Answer: Very big indeed. Nasa is reported to have even used Armageddon as part of a test within their training programme, asking candidates to identify all the scientific impossibilities within the film."
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Not if the science isn't sexy ! (2)

macpacheco (1764378) | about 10 months ago | (#45123431)

Producers don't care about all tiny details.
Heck, reporters often don't care about digging deep enough, then why those who are paid to entertain should ?
It's interesting the interviews George Lucas gave after selling his brand to Disney, where we was brought in as a consultant where his role in the meetings was exactly to remind producers / screen writers / ... of the facts about the Star Wars universe (mainly how technology works there, zero g this, laser that, ...) showing that his logic was based on base rules instead on sexyness factors.
Sorry I couldn't resist... The dumbness of Hollywood producers never cease to amaze me. Too much Cocaine if you ask me.

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