Astronaut Chris Hadfield Reviews Space Movies, from ‘Gravity’ to ‘Interstellar’ | Vanity Fair

published on July 2, 2020

– I found after they made "Interstellar",

some of the folks told me, that when I was

on the International Space Station,

and I did a cover of a David Bowie tune,

and they were trying to
light Matt McConaughey's face

when he was looking through
the windows of his spaceship,

they actually looked at that clip of me

to see how the light, the
actual light on a spaceship,

looked, and then they mirrored that

when they were lighting Matt's face

It made me laugh that art
imitating life imitating art

My name's Chris Hadfield,
Colonel in the Air Force,

astronaut, flew in space three times,

commanded the International Space Station,

did two different space walks,

used to be a test pilot and
engineer, downhill ski racer,

occasional guitar player,
and we're here today

to look at some scenes from
different space movies

– [Astronaut] You need to detach

I can't see you anymore

Do it now

– I'm trying

[intense music]

[astronaut yells]

– Ugh

This is "Gravity", and this is the scene

where the space shuttle
explorer is orbiting the earth

and they're doing repairs
on the Hubble telescope,

and they go through some sort
of asteroid debris field

Okay, well that's a nice concept

And the visuals are great

But what happens is so far from reality

that I just, I want to turn my head

First off, this satellite goes whizzing by

at about, I don't know,
maybe 120 miles per hour

Satellites are going five miles a second,

175 thousand miles an hour

How that thing where you can,

oh, you can identify
the satellite going by

And then, it's like some
big dump truck just suddenly

put this big pile of rubble
just upwind of the space shuttle

and suddenly it looks
like an avalanche in space

has poured in front of this shuttle

And they violate the laws of
physics when Sandra Bullock,

she's on the end of the big
cannon arm, the big robot arm,

and it's tumbling, and she
releases her little straps,

and suddenly, whoosh, she flies away

in a while new direction like
there was some force on Sandra

that wasn't on the arm

How come she has a different
gravity than the arm does

And then everybody in the
crew, I mean, the dialogue,

they're all yelling back to Houston as if

somehow Houston's going
to help them right here

[astronaut yells]

– [Astronaut] Houston, I've
lost location on Dr Stone

– And George Clooney is
referring to this other astronaut

as Dr Stone, like they haven't
really met each other yet

And he's asking permission
from somebody, I don't know,

to go and help her out in the, I mean,

it's not astronaut behavior,
it's not logical behavior,

it's so execrable from actual
practical demonstration

of what the reality of
space flight is like

The most experienced
astronaut in American history

is a woman

It's Peggy Whitson

She's been in space longer
than any other American

She commanded the International
Space Station twice,

she's done 10 space walks, she
was NASA's chief astronaut

In this movie, Sandra Bullock
has only been an astronaut

for less than a year, and when
she's faced with a problem,

she's panicking and
has no idea what to do,

and George Clooney is
driving around like some sort

of space cowboy as the only
person that really knows

what's going on, and it's
like they met when they were

out on this space walk

And then it's like, he's
trying to pick her up

during a space walk

– Prototypes, even for
your pretty blue eyes

– What is he even doing out there,

driving around in his jet pack

I mean, we don't go
outside recreationally

It's so different than the actual people

that are exploring space
that devote their lives

to being astronauts that are actually

on the Space Station right now

The wonderful human role
model examples we have

of people who are doing these things

I think it set back a little girl's vision

of what a woman astronaut
could be an entire generation

Sandra Bullock did a great job
of portraying this character

in the movie, but I
just think the character

that they wrote for her
was really disappointing

That's what I would've changed

Get the characters right,
get it to represent

what astronauts are actually like,

and then build the story around that

Don't just make it the perils of Pauline,

where she's strapped to the train tracks,

and she needs George
Clooney to magically appear

next to her to tell her which book to open

to be able to do the right thing

Real astronauts recognize
the seriousness of their job

The fact that it's always life or death,

and that we're there
as the representatives

of 75 billion people

Everybody's trusting
us to be good at this,

to have spent decades
getting good at this

If you want to know what
a space walk looks like,

there's never been a better
movie though than "Gravity"

That opening scene is
magnificent for the visual impact

and the beauty of the silent turning world

and the resolution of
each of the fine things

and the lighting, it's wonderfully good

It gives you the raw emotional
sense of a space walk

Just don't pay attention
to what the astronauts

are actually doing

[dramatic music]

[computer beeps]

This movie is "Passengers",

so if you're gonna get on a ship

and you're gonna be on it between stars,

going to settle some planet
in another solar system,

you can't be floating
weightless the whole time

Who knows what your babies would be like

if they were conceived and
developed and tried to grow

without gravity

Their bodies wouldn't grow right

How do you make gravity if
there's no planet nearby?

One way of course is just like
we do in a little experiment

where we spin it in a centrifuge,

you can spin the whole
ship, and then everybody

is pinned against the outside of the ship

just by the centrifugal force,

and that feels like gravity

If you shut off the spinner,
then it would continue to spin

for quite a while

There's really nothing
to slow the spin down,

and that's one of the big
scenes in "Passengers",

the ship has a problem, it stops spinning,

and therefore, everything becomes like

on the International Space
Station and starts floating

I'm not sure why, when
it starts losing power,

the ship suddenly starts slowing down

You'd actually have to
put big brakes onto it

to stop all of that metal from spinning

I'm not sure why the ship

didn't just blithely keep
on spinning as it drove

into the asteroids, but it
would've been a worse story

if that had happened

Let's say, all right,
the ship stops spinning,

now everybody's got no gravity,

and one of the characters
is in a swimming pool

What happens to water without gravity?

Onboard the International Space Station,

we played with water all the time

You could squirt it and
it would just float there

in front of you

It naturally, with the surface tension,

goes to a perfect ball

That's the easiest shape for it to go

If you had a swimming pool
held in place by gravity,

and then the gravity went away,

the water would have some
inertia as the ship slowed down,

and it would slosh, but
then the water would

almost look like a big
blob slowly forming itself

into a ball

And I think that's quite well shown

And the weirdest thing is

if you were in the water at the time,

how would you even know
which direction to swim?

Which way is the surface
if there's no up or down?

Even if you started
swimming one direction,

the blob is flexing, and
the way you're swimming

might be getting further away from you

That was a very
compellingly accurate scene,

assuming there's a swimming
pool on board a spaceship

The way it resolves
though, it bends the edge

of probability because if you
spin the ship back up again,

then you generate the centrifugal force,

and the water would get squished back down

into the pool side of the room,

but it would take a lot of force and time

to take a ship that is stopped,

this great big massive metal thing,

and get it spinning again

It wouldn't be like nothing,
and then bang, gravity,

like it's portrayed in the movie

where suddenly everyone is
going, bang, into the floor,

as if gravity was an on/off switch

But that wouldn't haven't
been as visually compelling

and allowed the crew
member, the young lady,

on her last dying breath
to burst out of the water

and stay alive

[dramatic music]

[spaceships buzz]

– I'm going in, I'm coming in hot

[Chris laughs]

– We're coming in hot

Oh yeah, okay

This movie is "Armageddon",
which is the disastrous end

of everything, and I think
that's an appropriate name

for this movie

I haven't seen it since
I turned away from it

when it first came into the theaters

This scene here where
the two space shuttles

are landing on an asteroid

with the deep sea worker blaster guys

who are gonna blow up the asteroid

so it doesn't destroy earth

There are so many things wrong with this

that I don't even really
know where to begin

Let's start with the
fact that they're talking

to mission control real time

There's no lag

How did suddenly time and space change,

you get instantaneous communication

all the way out to this
asteroid with no lag?

And then, one of them says,
"We're coming in hot"

We're coming in hot?

Relative to what?

What are you talking about?

And how do you know that?

Do you have some magical
landing information

about an asteroid so that
you know you're going faster

than you meant you were supposed to?

And then if you watch as the
shuttle comes in to land,

it flairs, like it slows
down so it can touch down

on the asteroid, like by
pulling back on the stick

There's air on an asteroid?

I mean, what made that magically happen?

And there's these weird
video game displays

in the space shuttle that allow you to,

like suddenly you're flying
in the game Asteroids,

and the crew, ah, everybody is panicked

and yelling at each other

[crew yells]

The big engines on the back
are constantly running

Where's the fuel coming from?

There's no gas tank

So they'd be accelerating the whole time

Why, I mean, what are they doing that for?

It is as atrociously
bad as any space movie

that was ever done

It's so bad, it's tragic comic

I'm glad they safely
landed on the asteroid,

but it's just atrocious

– What's the abort force?

– 7500

– [Astronaut] Anything more than that

and the map could tip

– This is "The Martian"

I like how the one crew
member is wearing his name tag

in the middle of his chest

It's a little far along in the mission

to be wearing your name tag

– Ready

[door blows open]

– Mars is an interesting planet
in that it has dust storms

We can see them through
our telescopes from earth

And some of those dust
storms envelope huge sections

of Mars simultaneously

This is unfortunately about the worst part

of the whole movie, "The
Martian", is that the atmosphere

is so incredibly thin on Mars

It's almost like the very edge of space

On earth, you would have
to be 100,000 feet up

to get to how thin the air is on Mars

And think of the people that
go to the top of Everest,

which is only 28,000 feet up

Almost all of them need
oxygen just to be able

to get to the top of Everest,

and this is four times as high as that

If the air was blowing incredibly fast,

there would be so few air
molecules going by you

that you'd hardly even feel them

And there's no way you could
pick up all those big pieces

and blow them and knock Mark Watney over,

and it's a slow, cumulative
change of seasons on Mars

The people that made
the movie just decided

the gravity on Mars is the
same as the gravity on earth,

even though it's actually
only 38% of the gravity,

so Matt wouldn't be
quite that hunky on Mars

He wouldn't be solidly on the floor

He'd only weigh one third
as much as he does on earth,

so he'd be a lot more bouncy moving around

and things would move differently

Mark Watney played by Matt Damon

is trying to find a
way to make enough food

to last until he can be rescued

All he's really got are potatoes,

but potatoes are simple
and they grow and multiply

He needs a few things

He needs water, he needs
nutrient-rich soil,

he needs heat, and he needs oxygen

– I'm gonna have to science
the shit out of this

– It makes sense actually

that they're growing plants on Mars

If you're gonna live there,
you can't bring everything

in little tins and dehydrated packages

You gotta grow food where you go

We've been growing stuff
on spaceships for decades,

and so the movie ends up being very good

for how could you get
that little environment

for one human being and
his crop of potatoes

to grow on Mars?

The idea of using the
human crap from outside

in order to harvest the nutrients

that you need for potatoes,
just like putting manure

on crops at home here on earth

How he used existing chemicals,
whether it was rocket fuel

or whatever, they're
all just hydrocarbons,

things with hydrogen and
oxygen and carbon in them,

and so as long as you can get
the right chemical reaction,

you can get out the things you need

And if you think about it,

that's sort of what happened on earth

We didn't used to have oxygen on earth,

it's just a chemical process
that created our atmosphere

here on earth, and Mark
Watney, Matt Damon,

is hastening that process on Mars

– I am the greatest
botanist on this planet

– One of the best parts of "The Martian"

is that it came from
the book by Andy Weir

He's a really smart guy and an engineer,

but he also crowdsourced the science

as he was writing the book

He put it out there and
said, "Hey, everybody,

"tell me what's wrong
with my science here

"What am I doing wrong?"

As an astronaut, Mark
Watney could've been just

any of the people in the astronaut office

It's that type of person,
the deep academic background,

the strong operational sense
of what you're gonna do next

I think it gave people a sense

of what being an astronaut is like

There's some hard, sad, difficult parts,

but there's some ridiculously
fun and almost always joyful

parts to it, and a great
sense of camaraderie,

better than almost any space movie,

"The Martian" shows that

[alarms sound]

– Damn, we've got a problem here

– "Apollo 13"

[Chris chuckles]

"Apollo 13" tells the
story of an explosion

that actually happened
on the way to the moon

Really good movie

Maybe the most realistic
of all of the space movies

– Uh, this is Houston

Say again, please?

– Houston, we have a problem

– When you're talking
on the radio, of course,

the first word you have to
say is who are you talking to,

so that's why from a spaceship,
the first word we say is

Houston or Moscow or Tokyo
or whoever we're talking to

Mission control is sitting there,

and if they hear the
commander of the ship say,

"Houston, we have a problem"

it's an understatement,
but it has a huge impact

All normal operations cease,

and everybody is now listening
to hear what the commander

is gonna say next, looking
at their data like crazy

It's a wonderful,
succinct way to phrase it,

and all space commanders
since then, self included,

have used that phrase when needed

because it has the desired effect

[alarm sounds]

– [Mission Control] Uh, yeah, Jim,

could you check your CO2 gauge for us?

[computer beeps]

– If you've lost a bunch of your oxygen

and a lot of your purification equipment,

how do you get the carbon
dioxide out of the air

onboard a spaceship?

You need some sort of scrubbing equipment,

and when you've had a malfunction,

maybe it's not gonna
work the way you planned,

but they had the lunar lander

It had it's own carbon
dioxide scrubbing system

The trouble is, they were
built by different companies

The pieces weren't interchangeable

The engineers recognized
the problem early,

they presented to the flight director,

Ed Harris doing a great
job of playing Gene Kranz,

and Gene's saying, "Okay,
I understand the problem

"Now go fix it"

That happens every day in space flight

Maybe not that dramatically,

but I worked in mission control

It's this great detective hunt every day

of how can we take what we hope to do,

which is now being ruined by the reality

of everything going wrong,

and we're constantly reinventing stuff

And all the people in the back rooms

are trying to figure out the
solutions to the problems

But the way it's portrayed in "Apollo 13",

it was a terrific, dramatic example of it,

but it's almost a textbook
of what actually happens

to solve problems to get something done

Ron Howard, when he made the movie,

he tried to restrict the
dialogue between mission control

and the space capsule to be
actually what the transcripts

of what the crew had said back then

Ron actually came to Houston,
spent time with us there,

saw what the houses were like

He came down to launch

He really wanted to get
to know what astronauts

and everybody else at
the Johnson Space Center

and in the space business were like

I really admire the team that
put together "Apollo 13",

and I love the movie

I think it does a great job
of showing what space flight

is like, especially at
that moment in time

– [Man] Time is represented
here as a physical dimension

You have worked out that
you can exert a force

across space time

– Gravity

– Well, I'm just confused now

This is "Interstellar"

If you get sucked into a black hole, ah

I mean, people are worried
about the riptide at the shore

This is like a riptide,
a Tyrannosaur-riptide

This is beyond our ability
to imagine the scope

of the forces that are involved,

and not just a force like
gravity holding us down

to the surface of the earth,
but a change in gravity

with distance because
gravity, the strength of it

is proportionate to
where the black hole is

The closer you get, the
more gravity you get

It would be just tearing
everything to pieces

until eventually the forces are so high,

it even sucks light into it

It's not something you can build yourself

a tough little capsule
and somehow penetrate

There's nothing we know of right now

that could withstand the destructive force

of being near a black hole

How that's going to be
portrayed in a movie,

you can do whatever you
want with it for now

– Love is the one thing
we're capable of perceiving

that transcends dimensions
of time and space

– Nowhere in a mathematical
equation is there

a symbol for love

It'd be a nice little heart, I guess,

but I don't know how you'd
multiple it or divide it

Maybe for the arch of an artistic story,

then love is the only way
to get through to the end

To end up at that place looking through

into his daughter's library rack,

it's very emotionally nice,

but I'm not sure that
Einstein or Stephen Hawking

would've followed the logic

– I brought myself here

We're here to communicate with
a three-dimensional world

– How do you deal with time travel,

which is essentially what happened here

It becomes so confusing, it's almost like

the movie needs footnotes
and scientific subtitles here

so that you can clue in the
viewer as to what's happening

Also, there's no point in
yelling through your space suit

Nobody can hear you
outside your space suit

I'm also really confused
just by the physicality

of what we're looking at

I mean, suddenly he's in some
sort of huge filing cabinet

The endless land of Venetian blinds

the movie creators had
some specific thing in mind

trying to take the physics and the math

and make them
three-dimensionally compelling

It still ends up for me
just being quite puzzling

"Interstellar" has a
fascinating history of birth

It was the brainchild of
one of the best physicists

in the world, a guy named Kip Thorne

And Kip was trying to figure out the math

of what happens around a black hole,

and he hired a company
called Double Negative

And they took his math and
turned it into the raw visuals

of what a black hole would look like,

and that became the genesis of the movie

It's a real interesting coupling

of a science fiction story based very much

on an experiment of how to visualize

the non-intuitive complexity
of what the environment

would look like around
the weird singularity

that is a black hole

The reason the time is
dilated for the crew

in "Interstellar" is just
because of the incredible change

of gravity, the distortion
of time due to the

huge gravitational forces

But what that means is, if you
get going faster and faster

and faster, time passes
differently for you

than someone who's not going that fast

So while I was on the space station,

I had some people do the
math to see was I aging

faster or slower than people on earth

I'm actually younger than I would've been

if I had stayed on earth
for the whole six months

Every month, I aged about
one millisecond less

than people on earth

So after six months, I was
six milliseconds younger

than my family

It doesn't mean anything,
but if you extrapolate it

to the speeds and the physical
conditions of "Interstellar",

then suddenly the difference becomes huge

– I waited years

– Where a fixed amount of
time for Matt McConaughey

and his crew would be a wildly
different amount of time

for people who are in a
different set of circumstances

It doesn't intuitively make sense

You just have to accept that
the world that we live in

is only one particular set
of physical circumstances,

and some wildly different
ones exist in other places

in our galaxy and in the universe

[astronaut breathes heavily]

[spaceship rattles]

This movie is "First Man",

the story of the very first
human being to walk on the moon

The story of Neil Armstrong

Didn't that altimeter say
he was at 45,000 feet?

Before astronauts become astronauts,

they always have some other
significantly complex,

technical profession

A lot of them used to be test pilots,

and that includes all
three of the astronauts

in Apollo 11, including
obviously Neil Armstrong

And there's the opening scene in the movie

where he's flying an
X-15 right at the edge

of the envelope, right at
the edge of its capability

One of the biggest problems
with the scene is sound

It's sort of like he's in a pickup truck

driving across a field
with this big whiny noise

that tells you just how fast
he's going all the time

You can hear it going up and down

like maybe there's a big,
I don't know, piston engine

running nearby

It's all completely wrong

You don't hear that in the cockpit

And the vibration, there's so
much little rattly vibration

Where's that coming from?

He's in a bullet plane with
a rocket motor on the back

The vibrations would
be imperceptibly small

Airplanes, especially airplanes like that,

fly really smoothly

Also, he keeps going in and out of cloud

He's at 45,000 feet

What clouds are there at 45,000 feet?

There's maybe the occasional thunder storm

that sticks up that high,

but you would not fly the X-15

through one of those thunderstorms

And then it goes from this
weird rattly kind of noise,

like it's some old jalopy he's flying

to then suddenly dead quiet

Then what happened there?

Where did all that sound come from

and where did it all go?

And as the pilot also, he's
wearing a pressure suit

He's got a headset on,
he's inside a cockpit

You don't hear any of that

As he pulls back on the
stick and starts going up

to get the X-15 up high, that's fine

Once you're rocket lights,
then you want to start going up

where the air gets thinner and thinner

Well the sky oddly enough
gets lighter and lighter

The sky goes from a normal
blue to this light blue

That's the opposite of what happens

As you ride a rocket up to
space, it goes from light blue

to dark blue because
there's less and less air

to refract the light to
eventually it goes black

In this clip, for whatever
reason, it goes from regular sky,

to light blue, light blue,
and then suddenly bang,

the sky turns black,

as if he went around
a corner or something

The front of the X-15 starts
glowing with the heat

Well that's because of
the friction of the air

as he's going fast

It doesn't happen at the right time

Up where the air is the thinnest,

and they didn't really show
what speed he was going,

the time it takes to the
heat the front of an airplane

and the amount of air
molecules that have to hit it

to cause the friction and the
drag to make all that heating

and make the metal glow a different color,

it almost looked like he got to space,

and then the nose got hot

Those two things aren't
related to each other

What disappointed me
most about "First Man"

was how sad everybody was

Everybody inside was glum
and space flight is joyful,

it's hilarious, it's magic

You can fly, you're
seeing the whole world

These guys were going to the moon

They had a lot of responsibility,

but where is the spark
of joy that is there

and every second of the time

that you're onboard a space ship?

– The distance from
launch to orbit, we know

Where it's own mass, we know

Mercury capsule weight, we know

– You did the math

– I look beyond

– I really like the
movie "Hidden Figures"

It tells a story that most
people don't know about

It highlights a group of people
that did really pivotal work

to get us into space at the beginning,

and it's a really nice human story,

and it's really well acted

There's one scene where the
character, Catherine Johnson,

who's of course one of the
real brilliant human computers

that's in the movie,

is trying to solve one
of the math problems

you have to solve for orbital mechanics,

and getting people into orbit

and doing it accurately enough

It's super over-simplified and dramatized

It's like the entire
staff of NASA is 15 people

in this one room somewhere,

and the part played by Kevin Costner,

he's like the leader of this team,

and he seems to be the
administrator of NASA,

and he seems to be the flight director

of the specific mission, but
you gotta simplify things

to tell a story, and I guess that's okay

But people sitting in
front of black boards

postulating and coming up
with ideas, that's real

That's realistic, that's
how we figured out

a lot of those things

– Maybe it's not new math at all

– It could be old math

Euler's method

– There's nothing unusual about saying

that this is old math

All math is old

It's just whether we've figured out

what the mathematic principles are or not

One of the guys how figured
out a lot of the math

was a guy named Tsiolkovsky,
who was a math teacher

in the 1800s

He figured out space
flight with his mathematics

by candlelight in his
house in rural Russia

And Euler came up with
some of the equations

that are absolutely
necessary for us to be able

to do the predicting properly
in order to do rendezvous

and burn the engines at the right time

that you're gonna get
to where you want to go

But I love the interplay
of the bright minds

and the kind of quirky
people that actually allowed

early space flight to happen

– NASA, we have what looks
like unidentified rovers

approaching our position

Possible pirate activity

And I got a couple of VIPs with me

[Chris sighs]

– This is the movie "Ad
Astra", the chase scene

on the surface of the
moon between the bad guys,

who are in black moon
rovers, and the good guys,

who are in white moon
rovers, making it easy

for those of us on earth to follow along

– We're being ambushed

– Guns work fine without air

Guns don't need oxygen to work, really

If you think about what
happens inside a bullet,

there's this striker in the back,

and it causes a chemical explosion,

and it's the exploding gas
inside the confines of the rifle

that make the projectile
come out the end really fast

That doesn't count on gravity,

and it doesn't count
on earth's atmosphere

So a gun would work fine on the moon

In fact, we actually carried guns

onboard the Russian spaceship that I flew

When I went to the Russian
Space Station, Mir,

in 1995, the ships that
came up had guns in them,

but they were in the rescue pack

because if you did an emergency deorbit

from the space station, you
might land anywhere on earth,

and you might land in a place
where there were, you know,

grizzly bears, and so there
was this specially-designed gun

that had two shot barrels
and one gun barrel

so that you could fire two
shots at the grizzly bear,

and maybe the last one for yourself

I don't know

But we've had guns in space before

Never fired one in space
that I've ever heard of

On the moon, there's
about one sixth gravity

as there is on earth, so the
bullet's gonna fall more slowly

than it would earth

It's gonna take longer to hit

So that means the bullet with
the same speed horizontally

would go further

It'd go further around the moon

It's possible, I guess, if
you had a big enough gun,

that it would get to the
speed where it might actually

be able to escape from the moon

It can get to escape velocity
where it was going so fast

that by the time the pull
of gravity of the moon

kept bringing it down, it
would be far enough away

that it would have the inertia

to float away from the moon forever

I haven't done the math
to figure out exactly

what that speed is

I'm sure we could make a
big enough gun to do that

[somber music]

Why are they driving Apollo
rovers around in the future?

Those rovers were built
in a great big hurry

during the Apollo program to try

and let the exploring astronauts
have slightly better range

and explore more of the moon

We would not build rovers
like that in the future

That's like if you were watching
some movie in the future

and they brought in a
Model-T Ford as the vehicle

that everyone's racing around in

It's like, why are they
driving Model-T Fords?

Those were from the 1920s,
that doesn't make any sense

As you watch this scene, where
is all the noise coming from?

You are in a perfectly
empty vacuum on the moon

As you watch this scene,
it's really noisy

You can hear the vehicles bouncing along,

and you can hear the guns being fired,

and you can hear them
hitting and everything

There's no air on the moon

If you make a noise on the moon,

there's no way that the pressure wave

can be carried anywhere

You can't hear anything that
doesn't happen inside your ship

or inside your suit

It's as if there are, I don't know,

Mel Gibson driving around in
some sort of dystopian future

and you can hear the great
big vehicles behind him

It would be perfectly
silent the whole time

All you would hear is everybody breathing

and talking to each other

I guess it makes it familiar
for people, but it's wrong

[upbeat classical music]

Perhaps the greatest
space movie of all time,

"2001: A Space Odyssey"

Arthur C Clarke's great
book amazingly portrayed

in the late 60s by Stanley
Kubrick and his team

When I came back from
my first space flight

and sat in my living room with my wife,

I remember telling her, "It was amazing

"How you see the world,

"the speed you're heading over the world,

"the big curve of it,

"it's exactly like they
guessed it would be

"when they showed it in "2001""

The imagery of it as
that ship that left earth

and is coming up to dock with
the rotating space station

The gigantic, slow ballet of spaceships

At the time I remember thinking,
it's like elephants mating

This big, ponderous, careful,
three-dimensional activity

with a specific purpose in mind

That's what it felt like to fly a ship up

to try and dock with the space station

The little pen floating out
of the passenger on board

who has fallen asleep

Now the flight attendant
walking down the aisle

and having Velcro on
the bottom of her shoes

matching the Velcro of floor,

the inside of the
International Space Station,

there's Velcro everywhere,

anywhere you want to stick anything,

including that pen,
there's Velcro on the pen

with the one type of Velcro,

and the wall is the pile or hook

She did sort of stumble
though, which was obviously

a gravity thing if you
watch it really closely,

but the idea of placing one foot,

and then placing another foot,

and peeling them almost like
someone walking up a wall

of ice or something, that
was an interesting solution

to the problem

I think it's beautifully, artistically,

and quite scientifically portrayed

It's great

[WALL-E clangs around]

This movie is "WALL-E",
really designed for kids,

very sweet

In this scene, WALL-E is out
there flying around in space

and having fun, using a fire extinguisher

And Eve, the more advanced robot,

has own propulsion system

I'm a little confused about Eve

because Eve's head isn't
attached to the body,

but there's this weird red
cable umbilical on the outside

What intrigued me was how the
animators moved WALL-E around

by firing a fire extinguisher

And it would work just fine

You get a fire extinguisher,
you pull the trigger,

all that stuff flies out
of the fire extinguisher,

and if you don't brace yourself,

it'd sort of push you over on earth

If you're floating in space

and you can't brace yourself at all,

it's gonna propel you just
like a little rocket motor,

and they were clever enough to make sure

that WALL-E always got it down
to the center of his body

Cause if you did it up by your head,

then it would push you off center,

you'd just sort of pinwheel

But if you can push it through
the middle of your mass,

middle of your body, then
it's going to move you

in a straight line

And he's very careful to
constantly move the nozzle

to the right spot

It's quite cute, and
quite a nice little study

of orbital mechanics

The very first American space
walk, when Ed White went out,

he actually had one of
those squirters with him

Not a fire extinguisher, but
a little handheld squirter

that he could maneuver around with

Eventually we found it was
an impractical way to move

You're better just to put
hand holds on the ship

or wear a jet pack

But the same thing that WALL-E's using,

that was actually used
by the first American

to ever walk in space

– Ladies and gentleman, Mercury

– This is "Sunshine", a movie about a crew

having to reignite the
sun, but in this scene,

the crew recognized that
they're going to see Mercury

go between them and the sun

It's almost like a tiny
little version of an eclipse

People love eclipses

It's almost mystical,
it's a neat thing to see

I think that would be natural

The crew would love to
see Mercury highlighted

against the light of the sun

In the scene though, Mercury
is whipping around the sun

I mean, just in the time
it takes those people

to sit and look out the window,

it goes probably an eighth
of the way around the sun

In earth days, Mercury takes like months,

88 days or something,
to go around the sun

You wouldn't perceive the
motion relative to the sun

just looking out the window like they are

Also, the sun is stupendously bright

How are you seeing
Mercury against the sun

It's like staring at
the headlights of a car

and trying to see a marble or something

Your eyes would be so
overpowered by the brilliance

of the sun, unless they've
got some really great

special filters somehow
on their viewing screen

of their ship

What's nice about the scene
is the sense of wonder,

the awe at the majesty of the reality

of the rest of the universe

And seeing it first hand

I've been around the
world 2650 times or so,

and I never once could see enough of it

During my first space walk,
while I was outside in the dark,

we actually were far
enough south that we went

through the earth's aurora

It is so fantastically beautiful

and such a raw artistic human experience

To look at the northern
lights is like magic

To be in them, to surf on
them, that's beyond magic

It's surreal

My last orbit of the
world was even more rich

and magnificent and awe-inspiring

than all of the ones before it

The unheralded beauty of our
planet and of where it sits

and the environment that we're in

is so constantly magnificent
that when you're looking at it,

you're talking in hushed tones

Like you've walked into a giant forest

or the most beautiful cathedral on earth

You don't talk in a
big brassy voice there

You're reverential of where you are

And I think that little
scene gets some of that,

the reverence and understanding
of both the minuscule nature

of being a human in the
enormity of the universe,

but also the enormity of being
able to see it in that way

The huge awareness that
we have of our ability

to try to interpret it and understand it

I think they portrayed that well

I'm Chris Hadfield

I love space movies

It was nice to have a chance to look

at some of them with you

I look forward to every new
space movie that comes out,

and hopefully maybe some of
the things that I've said here

will help you see each
of the new space movies

that you see through an astronaut's eyes

Happy viewing

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