With all the conflict and controversy that comes with being an Earthling, it’s easy to imagine how much easier things would be in space. Either one longs to start a moon colony or go to Mars. Then you go see a movie like “Gravity”, after which it hits you how being space isn’t necessarily the calm and peaceful solution that you previously imagined.
There is the possibility that for all the testing, preparation, and professionalism, you may run into a worst case scenario that makes crazy little Earth seem a beacon of serenity. These movies will strongly challenge any desire to go to space. You may even spontaneously drop down and kiss the ground to thank it for being there.
Sandra Bullock‘s character successfully demonstrates one of the most absolutely horrifying situations that could happen to an astronaut. The woman is caught in an unexpected debris shower during a simple spacewalk. Meanwhile, her shuttle is destroyed and the space novice is left with no contact with Mission Control back on Earth. If that weren’t stressful enough, the air supply is dangerously low. What happens is something you must go and see the movie to find out, but based on this premise alone, it’s hard not to be absolutely terrified of being in a similar situation, literally holding on for dear life.
There are brave men and women who leave behind the concept of gravity to go and experience space travel. This movie perhaps represents a chance to experience a similar adventure indirectly, from the safety of a chair that won’t be floating off any time soon.
A team of astronauts are literally charged with giving the Sun a jumpstart. Granted this is one of those “we have no choice but be in space” missions, there is a section of the movie that speaks to the terrible decision to stop at a galactic version of that old seemingly abandoned house in the middle of nowhere. Which, of course, turns out to be a terrible decision.
The threat of being burned to a crisp during a successful mission is bad enough: If space missions also mean being faced with slasher horror movie scenarios, perhaps living in an igloo isn’t such a terrible thing after all. They’re actually pretty cozy once you get used to them.
The movie “Alien” demonstrated why we’re better off not knowing the answer to the question of if we are really all alone in the universe. Being technologically advanced enough to move through inhabited space means the possibility of having to deal with creatures that are bizarre and twisted for absolutely no reason.
The aliens invade your body and then explode painfully from your chest, only to then mysteriously grow into a giant monster in a matter of hours.
Alien taught us that being an astronaut is fun until something big and ugly drools on you in the dark of space where no one can hear you scream, because there’s no sound in space. Thank you, Ridley Scott.
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
Beneath all the symbolism is one fundamental lesson: You never want to make computers so smart, they will rationalize their way into killing you. In a way, that represents an underlying fear humans have about AI and machines today.
Though scientists can currently sooth us with the fact that tech today isn’t nearly as complex as the human brain, who’s to say one day this may no longer be the case? If you’re in space counting on a computer to let you in from a spacewalk, the last thing you want is for it to tell you the reasons why it can’t do that, Dave.
Apollo 13 (1995)
Some of us dream of going to the moon. We pretend that the In Situ Troll logger for monitoring water levels is practice for when we’re checking the resources for our space trip. “Houston, we have a problem” may be something we say when prepping for the trip. It’s a neat quote, until you’re saying it as you float thousands of miles away from everyone you know and love.
The line was made memorable by Tom Hanks in the space classic, “Apollo 13”. The movie is based on the true story of the failed Apollo 13 mission. This movie is jarring not for being speculation about what can happen; it actually DID happen.
Now, even if after watching all of these movies you’re still ready to take your chances as an astronaut, there’s nothing wrong with that. More power to you. But if something inexplicably drools on you right as debris comes flying in from nowhere, don’t say we didn’t warn you.