Real life astronauts are just as pumped about Gravity‘s 7 Oscars as we are.
In a video released by NASA, currently Earth-based astronauts Mike Massimino and Cady Coleman, as well as three astronauts currently aboard the International Space Station, issued their congratulations to the cast and crew of Gravity. Massimino and Coleman were actually accessed for consulting during the making of the film. Check out Coleman chatting with Sandra Bullock about said consulting process.
The third section of the video features astronauts Michael S. Hopkins (NASA), Kiochi Wakata (JAX), and Richard A. Mastracchio (NASA) giving a shout out from the ISS itself. It is especially entertaining watching the microphone drift around to each astronaut and to see Hopkins immediately start practicing his microgravity somersaults once he’s said his piece.
According to Leroy Chiao, former commander of the ISS, Gravity accurately portrays the sometimes unsettling experience of floating through space.
In an interview with Space.com, Chiao said, “What I really liked about Gravity is that it created the right look and feel of being in space and doing a spacewalk… at times, it did remind me or it made me think about my own experiences in a spacesuit. It also taps into that visceral awareness that the worst thing that can happen to you out there is to become detached and thrown off structure by some accident and be tumbling off into space.”
Luckily, Chiao never went through anything close to what Kowalski and Stone had to endure. However, he does remember the unnerving feeling that comes with being way too far away from the earth. Chiao says that one of the less comfortable moments came on a space walk when he noticed his feet pointing toward the earth, creating the illusion that he could drop back home at any moment.
“It was as if I was hanging off a balcony or something… when I looked down at the Earth, I was able to convince myself that if I let go, I was going to fall. Of course, that wouldn’t have happened, but I got that momentary feeling of looking over a bridge or looking over a tall building or something like that where your stomach comes up into your throat.”
Chiao also spoke to the ability of films like Gravity to ignite more public interest in NASA and space exploration in general: “It’s interesting that the pop culture of space travel and space exploration, a lot of people are really into it … but these same people don’t seem to know a lot about the actual space program going on. Certainly more-contemporary type movies like Gravity — which are more or less set in this time frame — help to, generally, build awareness for space exploration. I view that as a positive.”
It’s hard for us to imagine not being interested in the space program to begin with, but we’re as excited at Chiao that movies like Gravity get people talking about it.