Sunday, October 6, 2013

What's really under those space suits.

I went to see the new film Gravity yesterday and loved it---it's a conventional but absolutely ripping adventure movie. I was actually gripping Marz's arm, not in fear (I don't like being terrified---I've never seen any but the first Alien film, and that only once) but in suspense.

Set in space, Gravity looks like 2001 meets Alien.

But the story reminded me most of Touching the Void (2003, screenshot below), about a mountain climber who falls over a cliff into a crevasse. The tether connecting him to his climbing partner is severed, and he has to make his way back to base camp alone, in freezing temps, with broken bones, before his partner leaves. Like Gravity, it's incredibly tense.

Sandra Bullock plays the astronaut in Gravity who has to get back to Earth when everything goes wrong on her mission. 
Of course, there is the obligatory female-astronaut-in-skivvies scene. 
Of course. They're cute!
But have we ever seen a male movie astronaut in his? (Remind me if we have.)

Here she is floating like the Star Child from 2001, all grown up. It's a beautiful scene. The whole movie is visually wonderful--that's its strong suit. (The score, unfortunately, is mostly awful Hollywood crap. Almost tragic. There is a sweet audio moment at the very end of the credits, though, that made me happy.)

The undies Bullock's character Ryan wears seem more utilitarian that Ripley's in Alien.
(Huh, I just noticed they both have androgynous "R." names. )
But with my recent explorations in the world of sanitation, I was suspicious and googled what astronauts really wear under their suits on space walks. 

The answer: maximum absorbency garments (MAG). On Earth, we call them diapers. 

Here's retired astronaut Mike Mullane
modelling what's ". . . .worn by astronauts on the three occasions when they cannot use the shuttle toilet: launch, spacewalks, and reentry/landing."

Here's a video of Commander Sunita Williams giving a tour of sleeping spaces and the "orbital outhouse" on the International Space Station.

Another funny fact: in zero-G, every day is a bad hair day.


Zhoen said...

I'm afraid I simply could not suspend my disbelief sufficiently to enjoy this movie. I'll go watch Chris Hadfield some more. Or the Diary of a Space Zucchini.

The overwrought musical score in particular. My teeth would gnash too loudly.

Fresca said...

Yes, the music was really annoying.
But I must say, I had an easy time suspending disbelief otherwise because it was so well done---also it's set in the present day, so nothing feels too, too impossible.

Anonymous said...

I liked the score ... at least the part when the debris approached the spaceship. That got me on the edge of my seat. *shivers again*