D-SAT is a space mission dedicated to decrease the concentration of debris in Earth’s orbit. Until a few years ago the general public was not aware of this problem. However, in 2013, the film Gravity brought space debris to the silver screen. Gravity became one of our favorite space movies, and inspired us in our research for a solution to the space debris issue. If you have never seen it, it is time to invite all your friend for a movie night.
Gravity is a movie by Alfonso Cuarón featuring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney. Two astronauts are surprised by a space debris event while repairing the Hubble Telescope. The event starts a cascade of debris that breaks up the Shuttle they were flying on, forcing them to find a way to survive by themselves and return alive to Earth.
This sci-fi thriller stands out for two reasons: first, it is the first movie that approached the space debris problem, raising awareness about it; second, the space images and the special effects are stunning and leave us breathless.
Cuarón explored the space debris issue, showing how it could degenerate into a catastrophe if we don’t do something about it. Satellites left in space after their missions are dangerous not only because they are polluting space, but also because they can collide with other satellites that are still performing their missions, destroying them and causing more debris in a chain reaction. This phenomenon was explored on Gravity in a very simple and clear way, providing an effective dramatic and visual representation that can resonate also with people outside the space business.
The visual special effects and the photography are spectacular, and it is not a coincidence that Gravity won the Oscar in both categories. To enrich the scenario, NASA provided Earth pictures taken from orbit. “You've got to admit one thing: can't beat the view,” says George Clooney character Matt Kowalski looking at Earth in a dramatic scene. We couldn’t agree more.
The movie is led by just two characters, played by Sandra Bullock and George Clooney. Sandra Bullock is the soul of the movie, performing about 80% of the scenes, mostly alone. Her performance as Dr. Ryan Stone – a mission specialist who faces alone a terrifying catastrophic scenario not contemplated in ordinary NASA training – gained an Oscar nomination in the category “Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role”.
Gravity makes us realize how special Earth is and how important it is to keep it safe. The role of sustainability must be extended to space, to preserve our beautiful planet as it is and to keep Earth orbit clean.
Credits: Warner Bros. Pictures
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