Free Falling


Went to see “Gravity” this afternoon, and, well…HOLY CRAP IF IT ISN’T THE BEST $%#@!& SPACE MOVIE EVER.*

What’s really great about it is this isn’t science fiction…it’s just highly realistic fiction in a spectacular setting.

I don’t know what else to say except “stunning”. If you’re thinking about seeing it, don’t think. Just GO. And don’t even question whether or not you should kick in the few extra bucks for 3D: don’t see it without 3D. You’ll be catching your breath more than once.

Space nerds will have a few minor squawks, namely that the Hubble and ISS are in vastly different orbits. That was my only gripe; I’d have handled it differently but last I checked nobody’s paying me to write scripts. Yet.

I was surprised to see some criticism of the triggering event, namely a debris shower in orbit that initiates all this destruction and grows exponentially worse as more stuff is hit. It’s called an ablation cascade, also referred to as the Kessler Effect.

There was some fear this would happen a few years ago when the Russians tested an anti-satellite missile by blowing up one of their old spy birds in orbit (which not coincidentally is exactly the premise of Gravity). We’ve done it too, but in this instance there was no warning or coordination–they just did it.

How to clean up all that crap is of course the bazillion-dollar question. And it begs the question of what might happen in the aftermath of an actual space war: and I’m not talking Star Destroyers, all it would take is the destruction of a few satellites to put everything in their orbit at risk. Fortunately there are some smart people thinking about that.

More on the hazards of spaceflight (which we need to start figuring out how to mitigate as the commercial age begins) at Popular Mechanics.

*At least until someone buys the rights to Perigee.

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