Offworld: Forbidden Planet (1956)1 Comments
Why are exoplanets--those outside our solar system--depicted the way they are in science fiction film? We revisit the 1956 movie Forbidden Planet to examine one of the first representations of exoplanets in cinema, and our expert guests help explain the state of exoplanet imaging and what we know about the planets astronomers have detected so far. What's your favorite exoplanet seen in film?
Offworld: Spacesuits in Science Fiction Film4 Comments
Ariel is joined by two spapcesuit afficionados: our very own Adam Savage and design professor Nicholas de Monchaux to talk about their favorite science fiction spacesuits, the role of spacesuits in film, and how real-world suits have been inspired by fiction.
Offworld: Isolation and Loneliness in Space Travel5 Comments
This week on Offworld, we explore the trope of isolation and loneliness in science fiction space travel, and how both fictional and real-world astronauts cope with being away from home for extended missions. Joining us are neuroscientist Indre Viskontas and field geophysicist Mika McKinnon for a lively discussion on how sci-fi depicts the very real challenge of isolation in space!
Offworld: The Black Hole (1979)3 Comments
From Disney's The Black Hole to Interstellar, we discuss the portrayal of Black Holes in science fiction films and the misconceptions popular media has spread about this astronomical phenomena. Fatima Abdurrahman from UC Berkeley's Department of Astronomy joins us to explain the science of Black Holes and how storytellers can exploret them in film!
Offworld: Starship Troopers (1997)2 Comments
Let's talk about the space bugs in Starship Troopers! Ariel is joined by Dr Brian Fisher and Dr Lauren Esposito from the California Academy of Sciences to discuss the science of insects and whether space bugs could exist as they're depicted in the film. Surprisingly, Starship Troopers gets several things right! Would you like to know more?
Offworld: The Beyond (2017)0 Comments
Ariel is joined by Tested science contributor Kishore Hari and cyborg anthropologist Amber Case to discus the 2017 film The Beyond, the traditional sci-fi notion of cyborgs, and what mix of human and machine actually makes sense for the future of space exploration.
Offworld: Wall-E (2008)2 Comments
This week on Offworld, we revisit the classic Pixar film WALL-E, and chat with roboticists from NASA and Softbank Robotics about the development of robots for use in space. What about the portrayal of space robots in WALL-E did we like, and what would apply to the kind of robots that would work alongside humans in space?
Offworld: The Right Stuff (1983)1 Comments
This week on Offworld, Ariel is joined by Adam Savage and retired astronaut Jim Newman to talk about the 1983 movie The Right Stuff! The three discuss the film's portrayal of early NASA missions and astronaut culture, and hear some stories about Jim Newman's flights on the Space Shuttle.
Offworld: Life (2017)0 Comments
If astronauts ever discovered microbial life in space, what would be the procedures for studying it? That's one of the plot points of the 2017 science fiction film Life, which we discuss with Dr. Penny Boston, director of NASA's Astrobiology Institute. Let's talk through the ideas of biological containment onboard the ISS and how a Mars sample return would actually work.
Offworld: Arrival (2016)0 Comments
This week on Offworld, we look at the science fiction film Arrival and its depiction of communication with alien life! Ariel is joined by cognitive neuroscientist Dr. Teon Brooks and Dr. Douglas Vakoch, President of METI (Messaging Extraterrestial Intelligence) to discuss how we might try to decipher verbal and visual language or alien origin. (Due to popular demand, we're releasing our Offworld show as an audio podcast! Subscribe today to get new episodes and catch up on our show.)
Offworld: Star Trek The Motion Picture (1979)1 Comments
Star Trek: The Motion Picture features a plot device inspired by NASA's Voyager missions, including the Golden Records that are aboard both spacecraft. Ariel is joined by David Pescovitz and astronomer Frank Drake (of the Drake equation) to talk about the film, the creation of the record, and its function in depicting human life to anyone who might find it.
Offworld: Europa Report (2013)0 Comments
We're joined by spacecraft engineer Bobak Ferdowsi and marine scientist Vicky Vásquez to talk about the 2013 film Europa Report! There's a lot to like about the film, including how it portrays the challenges of a crewed mission to Jupiter's moon. Is Europa our best bet for finding alien life in our solar system? Let's discuss! (Due to popular demand, we're releasing our Offworld show as an audio podcast! Subscribe today to get new episodes and catch up on our show.)
Offworld: The Potential and Problems of Spaceship A.I.1 Comments
How realistic are pop culture depictions of artificial intelligence on board spaceships? From Star Trek to 2001: A Space Odyssey, we discuss the potential of spaceship A.I. to assist astronauts, along with what research is being done on board the ISS to incorporate digital assistants.
Offworld: How Would Space Politics Work?1 Comments
Once humans start colonizing other planets, how will politics work between Earth and those who live offworld? Ariel is joined by author Annalee Newitz and linguist Nick Farmer--who works on the show the Expanse--to discuss science fiction's portrayal of realistic space politics!
Offworld: Star Trek Discovery Season 2 (2019)2 Comments
Offworld is back for 2019! And we kick off this season with a review and discussion of Star Trek: Discovery second season debut. We're joined by journalist and author Annalee Newitz to recap the episode and talk about our hopes and fears for this season. Spoilers abound!
Offworld: First Man (2018)5 Comments
For this special episode of Offworld, Ariel is joined by Adam Savage and space historian Megan Prelinger to review and discuss the new film First Man. They answer some questions asked on social media about the film's historical accuracy, its presentation of the Gemini and Apollo programs, and talk about where the film stands in relation to other space films like The Right Stuff and Apollo 13.
Offworld, Episode 4: Moonraker (1979)0 Comments
Space-minded billionaires like Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos are in the news today, but one of the first space billionaires appeared in the 1979 James Bond film Moonraker. Ariel is joined by author Bonnie Burton and science correspondent Emily Calandrelli to talk about pop culture's stylized take on space travel in the late 70s, in the wake of Star Wars and the dawn of NASA's Shuttle program.
Offworld, Episode 3: Sunshine (2007)0 Comments
On this episode of Offworld, we revisit the Danny Boyle science fiction film Sunshine, in which a crew is sent to reignite the Sun. We're joined by astrophysicist and Professor of Astronomy Gibor Basri to discuss the science of the film and which parts hold up (and the parts that don't). What would the bomb the size of Manhattan do to the Sun?
Offworld, Episode 2: Space Camp (1986)0 Comments
On this episode of Offworld, Ariel is joined by Tested's own Simone Giertz and guest Trace Dominguez to discuss and dissect the 1986 film Space Camp! Trace relates the film to his own experience attending the real space camp, and we ponder NASA's influence on the making of the movie.
Offworld, Episode 1: Contact (1997) with Dr. Jill Tarter0 Comments
Due to popular demand, we're releasing our Offworld show as an audio podcast! Subscribe today to get new episodes and catch up on our show. For our inaugural episode, we talk about the 1997 film Contact with special guest Dr. Jill Tarter, whose work at SETI was the inspiration for the main character of the book and film.