Why So Spacious?

A theory, a conspiracy or a question posed about outer space-centric films and why we love them so

Anna Ruth Ramos | Staff Writer

Fly, fly away

Over the past year, we’ve flown back to space with the Millennium Falcon in the long-awaited Episode VII: Force Awakens, traveled to another distant planet with Starship Enterprise in Beyond and communicated with aliens in Arrival.

Before that there was Prometheus in 2012, getting stuck in space with solitary astronaut Sandra Bullock in Gravity in 2013, Interstellar in 2014 and last year’s The Martian to name a few intergalactic journeys.

Before the year ends, we’ll be introduced to yet another trek in space gone wrong with Passengers as we embark with two of Earth’s biggest superstars – Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt – who are trying to survive space alone, together.

We’ve only gotten curiouser

What is it about our fascination with the unknown – with worlds beyond our own? Whether it’s space, underwater (Atlantis: The Lost Empire), the underworld or the heavens (Thor’s Asgard), we humans seem to have a great interest – and an almost obsession – with the realms and celestial bodies that surround us.

We can keep making lists and countdowns of which movies from 1979’s Alien to 1995’s Apollo 13 are the best space movies of all time but it doesn’t answer the question as to why we – as a nation, as a society, as a species are so enthralled with outer space.

Why do aliens continue to attract us? Is it their seemingly different nature so foreign that have us continuing – and desperately so – seeking to make contact with them in any way shape or form? Why do we even want to understand them  when we can’t or don’t want to try and understand our fellow human beings to begin with? Who says aliens are even real?

Are our psyches being prepped?

Star Trek and Star Wars were already household names to begin with in both television and cinema decades before their revised film editions hit the silver screens to captivate the world back to space once again and again until quite probably the end of time.

What’s more, however, is are these space movies perhaps a conditioning exercise or otherwise a propaganda about where our world and humanity as a whole is headed next? Conditioning in a way that presents life outside Earth is better than on Earth – with everything from the election to the economy a dwindle, why not dream bigger and live larger, literally?

Why suffer through pollution when you can lounge like a millionaire without a care aboard one of the Buy-N-Large’s starliners  in Disney/Pixar’s WALL-E? Or why not hibernate in stasis  like they did in Prometheus and Passengers when you get to reside in a luxurious space ship in the vast unknown altogether?

While it doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing for all of us to be evacuated er emigrated to space, the question is how realistic will that be, really? Will our mothership be as nice as sturdy as it is in Star Trek? How many people is one ship willing and ready to house? These are all necessary questions to be asked. After all, space trips are now more attainable than ever especially if you have $250,000 to spare upfront for your trip of a lifetime.

What is our endgame?

Additionally, President of the United States (POTUS), Barack Obama announced last month that Mars is not only a possible destination for space travel but a life-in-space one. On the other hand, if our very own moon alone is already 252,088 miles and three days away from earth, just imagine Mars which is at 34.8 million miles  and a seven-month worth of travel?

In the end, it’s a nice and awe-inspiring thought to ponder and it’s not exactly an impossible feat – but will our expectations be met? How will will we eat, drink, breathe? Are there actually enough resources to be sustained for everyone aboard the ship or settled space colony? Will our overall stay be out of settling or of comfort? Once again, how much of this plausible mass journey and immigration to space actually real?

Finally, the Virgin Atlantic trip doesn’t explicitly say right away if passengers will be returning to Earth or if it is it a one-way ticket to whatever its planetary destination is. Alternatively, Mars Oneclaims of “permanent human settlement”? Could we then only continue to expect more of these intergalactic-centric films or a POTUS-approved space trek or immigration to determine our future and prepare us? Is any of this at all even real now or do we have to wait another century for us to actually have a take off?

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