Neil deGrasse Tyson Weighs in on Gravity

Sandra Bullock in the film Gravity.
Sandra Bullock in the film Gravity.

Once you become an expert in something, it becomes harder to enjoy works of fiction that have to do with it. For example doctors can point out everything wrong with medical dramas and aliens have a hard time enjoying Third Rock From The Sun.

So when Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson saw the space drama Gravity this weekend, you know he would have some issues. He made sure to let all his twitter followers know:

He starts off innocently enough with this tweet:

The film #Gravity depicts a scenario of catastrophic satellite destruction that can actually happen.

But he quickly follows up with these problems he found:

  1. Mysteries of #Gravity: Astronaut Clooney informs medical doctor Bullock what happens medically during oxygen deprivation.

  2. Mysteries of #Gravity: Why we enjoy a SciFi film set in make-believe space more than we enjoy actual people set in real space

  3. Mysteries of #Gravity: Satellite communications were disrupted at 230 mi up, but communications satellites orbit 100x higher.

  4. Mysteries of #Gravity: Nearly all satellites orbit Earth west to east yet all satellite debris portrayed orbited east to west

  5. Mysteries of #Gravity: Why Bullock’s hair, in otherwise convincing zero-G scenes, did not float freely on her head.

  6. Mysteries of #Gravity: Why anyone is impressed with a zero-G film 45 years after being impressed with “2001:A Space Odyssey”

  7. Mysteries of #Gravity: When Clooney releases Bullock’s tether, he drifts away. In zero-G a single tug brings them together.

  8. Mysteries of #Gravity: How Hubble (350mi up) ISS (230mi up) & a Chinese Space Station are all in sight lines of one another.

  9. Mysteries of #Gravity: Why Bullock, a medical Doctor, is servicing the Hubble Space Telescope.

  10. The film #Gravity should be renamed “Angular Momentum”

    11.  The film #Gravity should be renamed “Zero Gravity”

Mr. Tyson watching out for badasses.
Mr. Tyson watching out for badasses.

Mr. Tyson does end by saying he did like the film and, channeling Mr. Wizard, a couple of experiments one can try at home:

  1. Thought Experiment: Stand on a scale in an elevator. Cut the cable. You, the scale, and the elevator fall — scale reads zero

  2. Cool Experiment: Poke a hole anywhere in a paper cup of water. Drop cup. Water, while weightless in free fall, stops spewing.

  3. My Tweets hardly ever convey opinion. Mostly perspectives on the world. But if you must know, I enjoyed #Gravity very much.

Related Post

Leave a Reply