NASA astronaut rates space movies based on how realistic they are

Hollywood loves making movies set in outer space. But how does the actual science in these films measure up? Garrett Reisman, a former NASA astronaut and a former director of space operations at SpaceX, reacts to 10 memorable scenes from famous space movies, rating each scenario based on its accuracy. Find out what black holes, microgravity, nitrogen jetpacks, vacuum chambers, sound waves, polycarbonate visors, centrifugal forces, the Coriolis effect, and lunar soil tell us about the accuracy of iconic space movies.

Can you hear something explode in the vacuum of space? Is it possible for spaceships to run out of fuel in the middle of space travel? Why do movies often get it wrong when it comes to rotating space stations? Reisman explains the science underlying these and many other space movie phenomena, including the physics of the Death Star in "Star Wars"; dangerous space debris in "Gravity"; artificial gravity plates in "Star Trek"; Matt Damon’s Iron Man stunt in "The Martian"; crash-landing on a desert planet in "Spaceballs"; and event horizons, wormholes, and Einstein’s theory of relativity in "Interstellar." What went so horribly wrong in the real-life NASA Apollo 13 mission — and did the 1995 Tom Hanks movie get all its facts right?

He breaks down why scuba divers and astronauts both have to worry about decompression sickness, what's with the bending light inside the tesseract in "Interstellar," why Sandra Bullock should have held on to George Clooney in "Gravity," why Chris Pratt would get something called barotrauma in "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1," and what’s so impressive about Stanley Kubrick's depiction of Space Station V, the fictional spinning spacecraft in "2001: A Space Odyssey."

Reisman is a NASA veteran who was selected as a mission specialist astronaut in 1998 and went on to fly on all three of NASA's space shuttles: the Space Shuttle Endeavour, the Space Shuttle Discovery, and the Space Shuttle Atlantis. He's spent months at a time on the International Space Station and performed three spacewalks over the course of his missions. Post-NASA, Reisman went on to head space operations at Elon Musk's SpaceX from 2011 to 2018, helping the aerospace company prepare for human spaceflight. He continues to serve SpaceX as a senior space advisor while also teaching at the University of Southern California Viterbi School as a professor of astronautical engineering. Reisman's been profiled in The Wall Street Journal and has been featured on "The Colbert Report" with Stephen Colbert.

Reisman is the author of the upcoming book "Down to Earth."

For more from Reisman:

http://garrettreisman.com/

https://twitter.com/astro_g_dogg