HSTM scientist reviews bloopers in space blockbusters on the Cosmonautics Day

15 April 2021
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On April 12, the Cosmonautics Day, the Higher School of Theoretical Mechanics together with the SPbPU Public Relations Department organized a popular scientific analysis of the world-famous and beloved blockbusters about outer space. Andrey Murachev, an HSTM researcher and the author of “The Mysteries of Space. Planets and Exoplanets”, showed excerpts from the movies “Interstellar”, “The Martian” and “Gravity” the students of Polytechnic University and asked them to find gross errors from a scientific point of view.

In the process of film review, it turned out that “Interstellar” was the most correct. Here, the scientist described one movie gaffe related to the physical processes that occur when the main character and the robot go into the black hole and beyond the event horizon.

A bit more inaccuracies found themselves in “The Martian,” but they are associated primarily with the artistic vision of the filmmakers. For instance, the movie shows an orange sunset, while in fact the sunsets on Mars are blue.

The largest number of mistakes are made in “Gravity”. For example, two satellites would not collide in space because they are launched in the same direction, to the east. Also, the creators misdescribed how the firefighting system on the ISS is arranged and how the fire would spread in a microgravity environment.

In both “Gravity” and “The Martian”, the astronauts are depicted in spacesuits designed for normal pressure. In fact, in the cases shown in the movies, the astronauts would have to use special spacesuits, and they would have to wear sun visors to protect their eyes to work in outer space.

Students actively participated in the analysis of the films and offered their own explanations of scientific errors. For the most interesting answers, the guys got small souvenirs, and the student who was the most active in discussing movie bloopers received a book by Andrey MURACHEV “The Mysteries of Space. Planets and Exoplanets” signed by the author.

Such a popular science analysis of famous movies allowed the young cinephiles to have an exciting time and helped them learn a little more about astronautics and astrophysics.