For centuries, human beings have dreamt of being able to go into space and explore its mysteries. Because of our limited abilities and technology, human beings were required to use their imagination as to what being in space was actually like. Naturally, Hollywood jumped on the notion of space stories, and since then, we’ve been inundated with films that feature outer space as the setting. Interstellar, Alien, Star Wars, Star Trek, and countless other films all take place in the great vast void we know as space. Unfortunately, in order to make their films more exciting and audience-friendly, several aspects of outer space have been greatly exaggerated or even completely fabricated. I’d like to help dispel a few of those common misconceptions.
In most films that take place in space, space suits seem to have become as casual as a t-shirt and a pair of jeans. They are usually portrayed as being slim, easy to put on and incredibly comfortable. If you ask any astronaut who’s been to space, you will know that this is most definitely not the case in reality. Space suits are cumbersome, uncomfortable, and require at least two people to actually get on. You’ll usually even see a few of your favorite characters fighting in hand-to-hand combat while wearing a space suit. This is highly unlikely seeing as how space suits are actually very difficult to maneuver.
Moving at Lightspeed
Unfortunately, this is one of the greatest let downs. Star Wars has perpetuated the idea that, in the future (or a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away) we will be able to travel at the speed of light. While the technology required to accomplish this feat will probably never be a reality, it wouldn’t matter anyways. If we were to somehow figure out how to travel at the speed of light, any passengers aboard the lightspeed-traveling vessel will be turn to dust, along with the ship itself.
This is probably one of the more commonly known misconceptions. In Hollywood, apparently, if it can blow up in space, it will blow up in space in a beautiful cacophony of fireballs and booming sounds. Unfortunately, because of the lack of oxygen in space, you would not see any fire nor would you be able to hear the explosion. However, the explosion would still be dangerous, due to the fact that any projected shrapnel would continue to move very quickly until stopped by something else. This means that a piece of shrapnel launched into space could, theoretically, keep moving at a constant rate until it hits something; and the damage it causes could be very bad.
While we all love Hollywood films, it’s a good idea to take most of what they produce with a huge grain of salt. These are only a few of the most common misconceptions about space that films perpetuate. Perhaps I will continue this series in the coming months.