Saturday, October 3, 2015

Mars....According to Hollywood

I played hooky from work yesterday and took the Missus to the movies during the day.  We got the senior discount and a large tub of popcorn and settled in to watch "The Martian".  The Missus and I both read the book that the movie was made from and enjoyed it a lot.  Well, sometimes the science in the book got a bit much but still, we enjoyed it.

Seeing the movie got me to thinking about how things have changed in so many ways, including our vision of how we get to Mars and what happens when two men, in separate eras, find themselves stranded on Mars with only their wits, intelligence, and some technology, to save them.

Way back in 1964 I saw "Robinson Crusoe on Mars" in the local theater and was blown away as only a 10 year old could be.  The movie title was as cheesy as could be and the science in the movie horribly wrong, but still and all, it is a fun adventure when seen with a willing suspension of disbelief.

Here's the thing though:  this isn't a critique of two movies but rather a quick comparison of the two eras that produced similar themed flicks.

In 1964 two men and one little monkey planned to travel for over three years in a ship this size.  The thingy on the left side is one of two capsules about the size of the Mercury capsule that serve as a lifeboat and control cockpit.  Back then Men were Men and were expected to grit their teeth and carry on.

Now things are a lot more grand!  Not only is this ship huge, it has a gym and gravity wheel to produce 1 G weight.  Talk about luxury!  The crew numbers six in this version, but no monkeys.

Our lone Mars survivor in 1964 wears what looks like a high altitude flight suit with oxygen tanks.  Good thing he finds out the air pressure on Mars is high enough that he doesn't need oxygen constantly or the movie would've been over pretty quickly.

Now our survivor has a colorful suit with lights and a Go-Pro camera attached.  It also has the completely unrealistic internal lighting in the helmet that all futuristic space helmets seem to have in movies these days.  It is there so we can see the actor's face but in reality the internal lighting would make it very difficult to see out of the helmet in the dark.

Our 1964 astronaut lives in a cave and he's happy to have it, dammit!

He raises the flag each morning and salutes as a naval aviator should.

Now, things are a lot more comfortable.  A  huge habitat with all the comforts of home.  The millennials certainly aren't going to settle for any stinkin' cave! 

All in all, I like the Mars of 1964 a lot better, where a man can stride the surface in shirtsleeves while playing his home made bagpipe!

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