Sci-Fi tv has changed everyones (mis)understaning of space.

Self confessed Trekie and proud of it. 40 years strong. Babylon 5, Star Gate and Aliens too.

It’s amazing how many things we take for granted in space that may or may not be true. For example, after the last shuttle tragedy it was reported that NASA knew some of the tiles were damaged at launch. They didn’t have a easy way to inspect it in space. A lot of people wondered why they didn’t stop by the Space Station and check. Or even do a space walk and look. Turns out the Shuttle’s thrusters didn’t have anywhere near the power and NASA spoke gobbledygook about them being in different trajectory. Not to mention NASA still doesn’t have great fix it engineers like Scotty or Miles O’Brien in space.

Any sci fi fan sees these space ships routinely moving around, docking just like a car. Not gonna happen in real life. Even understanding space trajectory talk takes a frigging rocket scientist.

Now NASA has found a mysterious cavern with a entry hole. My first thought was don’t disturb it. :smiley: We all know what happens when curious earth men poke their stupid noses into strange planet’s dark spaces.

What other bad assumptions have we learned about Space?

I swear this thing looks like something a criminal alien would be imprisoned on. :stuck_out_tongue: Naturally we’ll be the idiots giving him a space ride to a nice planet that he can enslave. :wink:

Just to Clarify… I’m well aware extended space travel at warp speed is many generations away. Jumping through black holes for travel is another obvious thing we may never accomplish.

But, simpler things like turning the shuttle off its mission course and to the Space Station. Turns out in real life to be a huge, insurmountable challenge.

Space Walks aren’t done spur of the moment. Apparently they have to be planned and rehearsed for months on earth first.

There’s enough evidence of inhabitable planets that it seems very likely intelligent life is out there. The huge, staggering distances makes it unlikely we’ll ever travel that far into space to prove it.

How about something very basic? Any awesome phaser and photon torpedo battles we ever have with alien baddies *will be silent. * No air = no noise. The only show I ever saw that got this right was Firefly.

… I don’t know… you refer to yourself as a “trekie” with one K instead of the usual Trekkie or even Trekker. You also spell Stargate as two words. Methinks your bona fides need some establishing…

Does the transporter create a copy and murder the original?


A classic would be the one that people explode in a vacuum.

Another is that the outer planets and moons would look in person like we see in the photos from probes; the human eye would see them as black shapes against the stars at best, due to how dim the Sun is that far out.

Another is that black holes suck things in like a giant vacuum cleaner, instead of just having really strong gravity close in.


You do know that such was once respectably considered to be the case? Perhaps that’s what you meant by classic.

I’ll never forget seeing 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) for the first time in 1969. They passed out a pamphlet about how the latest research showed that “David Bowman” could indeed survive for a brief time in a vacuum, contrary to previous extrapolation. I had had the idea firmly in my mind going back for a few years. The entertainment page of my local evening Gannett paper, The Times-Union, included a panel on science with a cartoon. I recall that one astronaut carelessly left a space capsule without his suit, and exploded. His partner (two-man mission were the vogue in those days) was unaware of what was going on and wondered what caused anexplosion just outside the capsule.

I actually prefer the pre-space age picture of space travel. “Flash Gordon” is more my cup of tea-phallic space ships, exposed rivet heads, oriental-looking evil emperors (Ming), Hawkmen, etc.

Just don’t get a hull breach, or you might let in deadly space-air. Then you’ll need to put on goggles.

That’s the ideal, but a bunch of unplanned EVAs have been done when circumstances called for them. Mark Lee and Steven Smith did an unplanned fifth EVA on the STS-82 mission to service the Hubble space telescope. Scott Parazynski and Douglas Wheelock did an unplanned EVA during the STS-120 mission, to repair the ISS solar array. Here’s Wheelock and Tracy Caldwell-Dyson doing another one on ISS Expedition 24.

My family was watching ST:TOS back when it was first aired, and when I was a tween, or younger. When the lovely sound effects came on, I got up, pronounced the show as being stupid because “everyone knows there’s no sound in a vacuum” and stalked off. My father later told me (as an adult) that up til then he’d been really enjoying the show.

Yes, I was an insufferable little brat when I was a kid. And I compounded it by being right most of the time.

The whole thing about space ships banking, having visible rays, and noisy space battles predates SF television, although TV certainly helped to popularize it. this Islan Earth gave us noisy space battles and banking space ships, after all. So did other 1950s flicks. You can, unfortunately, count the films where spaceship dynamics are properly treated on the fingers of one hand.
One thing that even the best SF films get wrong is lunar gravity inside a sealed pressurized environment - they all act as if it’s earth standard – even in as hard-core a filom as 2001. And, of course, damned near everyone has artificial gavity in their ships.

Yes, I know the reason is zero G or partial G is difficult to do. That doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be done, or that when it’s done it looks so hokey.

I hope we never accomplish that!

Seriously, that might also create a copy and murder the original.

I recently watched a marathon of 70’s Japanese SF movies and thought it was absolutely hilarious how they’d spend five minutes going though the usual no gravity cliches then completely forgetting about it during the rest of the movie.

The Battlestar Galactica remake series was also pretty good about details like that.

So was “Doctor Who,” at least back in the '70s.

There’s no air in space…although there’s an Air in Space Museum.:smiley:

Look, I’m pretty sure everyone knows there is no sound in space (otherwise they CAN hear you scream). You know what there also is none of in space? Battlestars, Fireflys, TARDI, Enterprises, Star Destroyers, Babylons 1 through 5 and John William’s orachestra.

The reason sci fi TV and film have sound effects in space because it would be really boring watching Vipers shooting down cylons without muffled sounds effects and taiko drums playing in the backgrounds.

FYI, you would hear your own ship firing because the sound would transmit through the hull. You’d also hear shit hitting it.


no all caps rule sucks


No, the reason scifi (and yes, in this case it IS scifi, rather than science fiction) TV and film stories have sounds in space is because the average viewer doesn’t (or at least didn’t) know that sound doesn’t travel in a vacuum. The viewers were used to realistic sound effects from war movies and shows, and got restless if they didn’t get what they expected. They don’t know any better, and they damned sure don’t want anything that involves any thought. SF readers, on the other hand, delight in pointing out scientific errors in stories. There’s some crossover between SF viewers and readers, but many readers are quite disappointed with how SF gets treated in film/TV.

This could have been worked around by using dramatic music. Think of the Jaws theme…sharks don’t make a sound when they’re about to attack, other than maybe a splashing sound. But the dramatic music, which speeds up when the shark gets closer, enhances the feeling of tension without trying for realistic sound effects. The same thing could be done in most SF/fantasy shows. We don’t need a white noise hiss and bugzapper effects when weapons are fired in space, what we need are loud drums and tense music.

Most science fiction on film is written and/or produced by people who know almost nothing of science, and nothing of science fiction. They want the SF geek audience, so they’ll take formula from another genre that pretty much works and make a few substitutions. Take a western, swap out the six guns for phasers, swap out the trail boss for the ship’s captain…sound familiar? Even when a real science fiction author DOES write a real science fiction story, the producer usually pisses in it, and only then buys it.