Astronauts reflect on future final-frontier films

Image: Terry Virts on ISS
NASA astronaut Terry Virts aims his camera through the Cupola, the best window on the International Space Station. (Credit: NASA)

“A Beautiful Planet” is a 3-D visual feast for the eyes, but the astronauts who filmed the IMAX space extravaganza made sure that’s not all it is.

For example, NASA astronaut Terry Virts said he recalled the feeling of life on the International Space Station as he watched the movie today at Seattle’s Pacific Science Center. “When I was going down into the Soyuz to say goodbye, I can feel what that suit felt like. Just how to move in weightlessness,” he said.

His crewmate, Kjell Lindgren, was struck by the sounds of a spacewalk.

“The microphone captured the sound coming through the structure of the suit,” he told GeekWire. “The anchors banging around, the sound of the breathing, just the suit flexing, the joints slipping on each other. Just the sensation of what it’s like to move outside, and to see these guys moving around outside. That’s what it feels like. It’s very visceral.”

When a spacewalker’s tether pulled taut, the resulting twang drew a gasp from the audience – as if they were watching a “Gravity”-type thriller, not a real-life documentary about the space station and our planet below.

That’s the kind of scene that producer/director/editor Toni Myers, who’s been in on 10 IMAX movies, loves to spring on filmgoers. “There’s such a thing as a golden eight seconds, and that was one of them,” she said.

Get the full story on GeekWire.

By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributor to GeekWire and Universe Today, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," past president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.

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