Thursday, May 07, 2015

"Journey to Space": from Space Shuttle to Mars

The IMAX 3-D museum film “Journey to Space” (2015, 47 min.), directed by Mark Krenzien, and narrated in part by Patrcok Stewart, does convey a real experience of what it “looks like” to live on a space shuttle, space station, and what it is going to be like eventually to journey to Mars, including what the planet will look like when landing.  For an average person, it’s the closest thing possible to this kind of experience.
The film does trace the history of the space shuttle and various stations, and at midpoint covers the 1986 Challenger explosion.  Then it gets interesting, trying to show how to pull off the logistics of a journey to Mars.  The best idea is an inflatable nylon module, a cylinder maybe 50 feet across and 200 feet long, broken into living, sleeping, recreation and exercise areas. The best guess is that a round trip would take three years, with a six month “flight” each way.  The film mentions the call for volunteers to go live on Mars and never return. 
The film also covers the medical problems of prolonged weightlessness or lower gravity (on Mars it is 38% of Earth’s) and wonders whether two hours of vigorous exercise a day will be enough counter-measure. Another big issue will be radiation from solar storms and even cosmic rays.
At the end, the film shows some spectacular scenery, including the Twin Peaks Garden (homage to David Lynch), and the carbon dioxide snow cap at the poles. 

Some of the historical scenes in the early are shown in just a portion of the full Imax screen, cropped to wide anamorphic.

The official site is here. The production companies are Giant Screen and K2 Communications.
Here’s a link on travel times of light in the Solar System.  So a Facebook post could get to Mars in about 13 minutes. 

I saw the film today at the National Air and Space Museum before a very fully crowd with school field trips. 

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