Moonstruck: How realistic is the Moon depicted in classic science fiction films?

Citation
Da. Jalufka et C. Koeberl, Moonstruck: How realistic is the Moon depicted in classic science fiction films?, EARTH MOON, 85-6, 2001, pp. 179-200
Citations number
19
Language
INGLESE
art.tipo
Article
Categorie Soggetti
Space Sciences
Journal title
EARTH MOON AND PLANETS
ISSN journal
0167-9295 → ACNP
Volume
85-6
Year of publication
2001
Pages
179 - 200
Database
ISI
SICI code
0167-9295(2001)85-6:<179:MHRITM>2.0.ZU;2-6
Abstract
Classical science fiction films have been depicting space voyages, aliens, trips to the moon, the sun, Mars, and other planets, known and unknown. Whi le it is difficult to critique the depiction of fantastic places, or planet s about which little was known at the time, the situation is different for the moon, about which a lot of facts were known from astronomical observati ons even at the turn of the century. Here we discuss the grade of realism w ith which the lunar surface has been depicted in a number of movies, beginn ing with George Melies' 1902 classic Le Voyage dans la lune and ending, jus t before the first manned landing on the moon, with Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey. Many of the movies present thoughtful details regarding t he actual space travel (rockets), but none of the movies discussed here is entirely realistic in its portrayal of the lunar surface. The blunders rang e from obvious mistakes, such as the presence of a breathable atmosphere, o r spiders and other lunar creatures, to the persistent vertical exaggeratio n of the height and roughness of lunar mountains. This is surprising, as th e lunar topography was already well understood even early in the 20th centu ry.