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Plot often trumps reality when portraying space in movies and, as a result, many films are full of inaccuracies. So how much fiction is actually written into some of our favorite movies?

Movies mentioned (and potentially spoiled) in this video: Armageddon, Star Trek (2009), Total Recall (1990), 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

Hosted By: Reid Reimers
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Space is hard to portray in movies. Everything sounds and feels different out there. So, it's probably no surprise that space films show a lot of inaccurate stuff. I mean, they're great as creative representations. We're not here to tell you you're favorite sci-fi flick isn't fun, but a few red flags make it clear that these are not factually rigourous documentary films. Here's Caitlin to explain what movies get wrong about space. Are you regularly told that you're being silly and pedantic when you point out gross violations of the laws of physics in movies because it's "just a movie"? Well, you're about to feel totally validated because we're about to get real silly and pedantic. Hollywood can be pretty negligent about physics and astronomy, even in really good movies. But there are few specific misconceptions that pop up again and again. So, let's set the record straight on a few of these once and for all. Also, spoilers ahoy! All movies mentioned are listed in the description, so check to make sure you don't want any of these movies spoiled before you keep watching. One of the really common areas where movies take some creative liberties with science is with asteroids and comets, like how the asteroid belt is commonly depicted as a dense minefield of death rocks. Well, the reality of the situation is much less exciting. Asteroids are typically one to three million kilometers apart. For comparison, the Death Star is about 160 kilometers in diameter. So, you're going to be pretty safe. And speaking of safety, if you were to ask a screenwriter how prepared we are to handle any impact there, they would probably say, "Not at all. We are all doomed." In the cinematic masterpiece, Armageddon, for instance, NASA detects an asteroid the size of Texas only 18 days before it's going to kill us all. Then, they send out Bruce Willis and his rag tag team of oil rig roughnecks to blow the thing up. I don't know why Hollywood so vastly underestimates NASA's ability to detect potentially dangerous impactors because NASA would definitely have known about Texas in space way in advance and have everything under control. NASA's center for near-Earth object studies is constantly scanning the sky for space rocks trying to get too friendly with us, and they're pretty good at it. They keep track of thousands of objects and assess the likelihood of any of them impacting us.

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