Galaxy Crisis

Speaking of astute film analysis, in my research I stumbled upon The New Yorker’s original review of ‘Star Wars’ from 1977. Penelope Gilliatt:

No sci-fi film—not even a sci-fi film set long ago—being complete without a robot and a computer, there is a gold-plated robot who walks as if his feet hurt, like a primal woman shopper, and an overweight computer who is a mixture of bald pate, traffic lights, and mailbox, and who transmits rapid information in a language that evokes Eskimo. The computer is the robot’s dearest and most irritating companion.

It’s hard to imagine a world where this film was quite so unfamiliar.

‘2001’ and the power of music to tell a story

Charlie Brigden, at Film School Rejects:

Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey is possibly the ultimate example of using music to tell a story in an opening title sequence, ostensibly telling the story of the classic film. It’s an incredibly simple concept, tracking the rise of the sun above the moon and earth, but Kubrick uses it as a thematic guide, with a grand gesture coming from his choice of music, the opening portion of Richard Strauss‘ 1896 tone poem “Also sprach Zarathustra,” itself based on a philosophical work by Friedrich Nietzsche.

‘2001’ will be deconstructed for as long as people watch film, but this is a good read.

Mars mission “returns” after 520 days

This is pretty weird.  Slashdot:

On June 3, 2010, a team of six volunteers began the Mars500 experiment: they were locked into a cluster of hermetically sealed habitat modules for the duration of a simulated mission to Mars lasting 520 days. “During the ‘flight,’ the crew performed more than 100 experiments, all linked to the problems of long-duration missions in deep space. To add to their isolation, communications with mission control were artificially delayed to mimic the natural delays over the great distances on a real Mars flight.”

It’s an interesting (and seemingly useful) experiment, but who volunteers for something like this?

Space Race 2.0

China just launched the first piece of their orbital space station, and Gizmodo looks at the potential for a new space race to break out in the coming years:

Even if China manages to get a complete space station up by 2020, those 60 tons are dwarfed by the International Space Station’s 449 tons or the old 130-ton Soviet MIR. Even Skylab, the US space station launched in 1973, was 77 tons. But this is not a matter of who has the bigger space dick. Making a bigger station is just a matter of putting more money on the table, something that China has aplenty.

NASA lunar mission delayed

Emma Woollacott for TG Daily:

The launch of the Delta 2 rocket carrying the probes was initially scheduled for 8:37 am. Moving to this second launch window means it will head out on a 99-degree angle, a more southerly trajectory than would have been the case earlier.

The two Grail probes are designed to examine the interior of the moon and its gravitational field. They will fly in tandem orbits around the moon for several months, measuring its gravity field in great detail.

I had no idea we were sending spacecraft to the moon.  Today.  Hello, NASA PR?