Thursday, February 11, 2016

Scientist Faction or Geek-Fic

Here is some striking video from the International Space Station.  The first two are short, the third one is a little longer - 20 minutes, 33 seconds.

I got into watching these because I watched "The Martian" a couple of times in the last couple of days.  

The first time wasn't really a fair trial.  I was coping with the death of a dog friend, and the same morning, a while before I got the news, I spilled a really big smoothie on my desktop computer keyboard.  

I was able to get the keyboard washed and working after a couple of hours, but I probably didn't wait long enough to be sure it was completely dry, because after a day or two it went tits up on me.  So now I have a nice, wireless keyboard and mouse.  I've taken apart the old keyboard and I think I will be able to salvage it for a back-up keyboard... 

Keyboards are strange inside.  All Mylar sheets with circuits printed on them, and a squishy, rubbery sheet of I-don't-know-what with little nipples all over it.  

Keyboard gutty-wuts.
I'm not all that much into space movies - unless they have monsters.  I have a thing about space.  It's too big.  I can't wrap my head around it.  And then there's my agoraphobia.  I bet there aren't a lot of agoraphobic astronauts.

A few minutes into "The Martian" I was watching these people in space suits walking through a maelstrom of what looked like big, silver confetti, and I thought, "Hey, that looks like the same shit in the storm in "Alien."

Well, duh...  Ridley Scott.  His movies always have a lot of something in the air. "Blade Runner," "Alien," and even "Legend."

Blade Runner
OK, so junk in the air, strobes, smoke and motion-sickness inducing camera angles.  There was very little smoke in "The Martian," but there was an Imperial Butt-Load of dust and stuff.  It was classic Ridley Scott.

But all that aside, it was a cool film.

From Wikipedia

The Martian is a 2015 American science fiction film directed by Ridley Scott and starring Matt Damon. The film is based on Andy Weir's 2011 novel The Martian, which was adapted into a screenplay by Drew Goddard. Damon stars as an astronaut who is mistakenly presumed dead and left behind on Mars. The film depicts his struggle to survive and others' efforts to rescue him. The film's ensemble cast also features Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig, Jeff Daniels, Michael Peña, Kate Mara, Sean Bean, Sebastian Stan, Aksel Hennie, and Chiwetel Ejiofor.

"The Martian" gets high marks for cultural and ethnic diversity.  Some of the good guys were even Chinese.  And it's always a treat to look at Chewitel Ejiofor.  There was even a plump Asian guy.  How cool is that?

The story was compelling, but it did tend to sidetrack you into thinking, "Hey! What happened to the Space Program? Why aren't we all doing this, instead of watching a Scientist-Faction movie about it?"

I tell you, if I was in Matt Damon's shoes, stuck on Mars with an insufficient food supply, a four-year waiting-period for company and nothing but disco music, I would have had way more melt-downs.

The geek-factor was high.  Clever astronaut, to figure out how to grow potatoes in freeze-dried shit.  Doing all the science to get all those kilometers to his ride home.  The whole camera communication thing.  It really got you rooting for the guy.  He deserved to get saved at the cost of billions of bucks.

Yup.  Pretty good movie.  I bought it.  Now you go buy it too.

If you'd like to know more about JPL’s role in making The Martian, go HERE
Oh, yeah. The martian scenery was excellent!

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