Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Accuracy and Science in Space Sci Fi

So there's this Tumblr, Things that Cost More Than Space Exploration written (curated?) by somebody who takes Tumblr as a medium seriously, which is pretty cool in and of itself. The examples given are also pretty cool.

I found the Tumblr at the same time I located and perused this non fiction book, Scientific American: Inventions from Outer Space: Everyday Uses for NASA Technology, by David Aaron Baker. It includes things like actual UV protection glasses lenses (I guess there's a gel layer or something? I've only skimmed it so far) and water purifiers (both particularly useful things in space, one would assume).

Coronal Loops in the active region of the sun, from NASA website

And speaking of NASA, I watched the movie Europa Report the other day. Apparently NASA (or maybe just one NASA scientist? I'm a little unclear) had input in the movie's development, trying to make the space travel as realistic as possible. I dug it, for the most part, with only a few nitpicky problems (WHY WOULD YOU TRIM SOMEBODY'S HAIR ON A SPACE SHIP?!). My demand for accuracy notwithstanding, I'm able to suspend my disbelief fairly well in the watching of movies, only revisiting them later and realizing my dissatisfaction with certain points. I'd seems I'd heard NASA has an interest in being involved with peoples' scifi, to help with accuracy and such (And perhaps get more attention in the public eye, so maybe they can get some more funding again....), and there is a crapload of information on the NASA website, from fact sheets on research centers to pictures taken by our various picture taking devices (Hubble, etc.) There's even a NASA Kids Club!

 I happened upon Europa Report as a "You might like this if you watched Event Horizon", and so of course, I've fond subsequent titles for if I liked Europa Report (Apollo 18, Moon).  But anyway, flaws aside, Europa Report does use some real science, and I felt it was well acted (though they did this thing where two of the male main characters were of a certain build and coloring, so I was constantly going "Wait, is it a crew of six? Is it five? Is the thriller part of this movie that there's a GHOST CREW MEMBER? Oh no, there's the sixth guy. Okay."

So now I kind of want a movie or book with a ghost crew member. Which might also have to do with having watched the anime Another, in which a specific third-year high school class would frequently develop a ghost classmate.

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