The Science Of Ad Astra

When it comes to sci-fi movies, a distinct sense  of excitement and thrill runs through our body.  Sci-fi movies have been entertained and watched by  the people for quite a time now. But we like them  based upon the wonders of science they depict,  and up to what extent that science is accurate.  They are all about the tempting romance and  fascination of space. Today we will discuss  one such fascinating movie, Ad Astra. WE have  seen movies about the existence of aliens,  our contact with them, but not about the  opposite. What if we are alone in the  Universe? Ad Astra to an extent addresses  this question and with a unique approach. As said by C. Clarke, there are two possibilities;  Either we are alone in the universe or we are not!  Both of these ideas are equally terrifying. What  if we are alone in this vast universe? What if we  are all that matters? And if that’s the case, why  is it? Until now we don’t have any perfect plan  to live and sustain in outer space. We read and  hear speculations of life on different exoplanets  that exhibit earth like features and believe to  be habitable, and still we have found nothing?  It’s a very intriguing question that has not only  baffled me but many scientists around the world.  Ad astra depicts the endless human  pursuit to find life in space. If you haven’t watch the movie, let’s briefly  discuss what happens in it. But before that let  us give u a spoiler alert! And all those who  haven’t watched this movie, go watch it Guys!  Ad astra revolves mainly around  the protagonist Roy McBride,  who is a fearless, lonesome astronaut  who was one of the best in his company.  He inherited his father’s passion and reputation  who was also a very famous astronomer.  They observed a sudden power surge of gamma ray  bursts on the Earth causing deaths of over 40,000  people around the world. When the scientists at  the SPACECOM( a NASA like government organisation  in the movie) observe this surge, they discover  that this gamma-ray burst came from the Neptune.  Roy’s Father, Clifford McBride, was a legend.  He was the first man to go to Jupiter, Saturn  and Neptune in what they called the Lima project,  but scientists later lost communications with him.  Roy is then informed that his father might  be alive and the cause of this gamma-ray  bursts was the Lima project. Roy is then  asked to go to Mars and contact his father.  Later he comes to know that his father might be  the cause of the surge. His father was the captain  of the Lima Project and was very determined to  find out life in outer space. But the loneliness  and being far from home affected his fellow crew  members. They wanted to go back but Clifford was  so determined to find a life that he killed all  those who mutinied against him and cut off all  the communications with SPACECOM. Eventually  he killed the last of the serving ones too  and during the fight they caused  a power surge near Neptune. Ad Astra deals with a very different and uncommon  idea of extraterrestrial life. The movie not only  elegantly describes human exploration to space  but also a vivid description of what is it like  being in space. What if we are really all alone  in the universe? Or maybe we are not intelligent  enough to communicate with them. It could  be because they are more intelligent than us  or they might single-celled organisms. And if  that’s the case, what does it means for us? The  movie revolves around this central idea. The movie  begins with a psychological evaluation of Roy,  which tells us how much important it is for  astronomers to be in the peaceful state of mind.  We see a giant tower also, which speaks about the  high ambitions of humans to look out in space. In the coming years, space travel will be  developed and easier. Though companies like SpaceX  and Virgin Atlantic have laid out plans for space  travel, but still there is a lot of work to do.  The movie shows that commercial travel to space  with be a very common thing with humans going to  moon and space. Though we will be very advanced  and developed, still our human consciousness and  behaviour will be the same and this theme  is very successfully presented in the film.  We can see when Roy travels to moon he has  to even pay for his pillow and is same like  the commercial planes of the current time. The  movie draws a picture of how human exploration  and colonialism would look like in the coming  years. No matter how much advanced we become,  humanity will always follow us. The movie  tells us that few things will change,  companies and restaurant existed  before and will exist today.  Even on moon we see original companies that exist  today and will probably exist soon. If we look 50  years back and think about what has changed, we  observe that not much has changed for humans.  Fast-food restaurants like McDonalds and others  existed way back and they will exist too. What will the moon be like when the human colonise  it? well, probably it will also be not much  different. There will be disputed land and borders  between countries. There will be controversies for  natural resources and countries will have secret  treaties between them. There will be unexplored  and no man’s land that will have thieves and  pirates, much like the terrorist organisations  today. Overall, the human nature will not change.  We will always fight and deal among ourselves  whether on Earth or outer space. [PAUSE] Mars is  depicted very finely in the movie. The mars has  a network of underground tunnels or lakes that  Roy uses one to illegal go to the test site.  Mars also has many lava tunnels, which are  used for accommodations of human in the movie.  They are very plausible way for accommodation  of humans because they already exist. The movie also addresses a very subtle element.  It’s the human psychology. It address this point  that how the psychology of astronauts  are affected from travelling into space.  How weary the journey is for them, and how  it affects their mental condition. No matter  how much dedicated they are to their work  and projects, only 200 miles above the Earth,  When they see the Earth, they see home and that  vision that view of the blue marble affects  them.They are still grounded and rooted  to who  we are as a species. People that have been to the  moon have seen the Earth as a celestial body in a  sea of celestial bodies and which triggers a very  negative feeling. All the people that have  been to the moon and look up and see the Earth,  all of the psychological questions become  quite different. Loneliness creeps in and  it forces them for reassessment of what it means  to be a part of this human race. Of all the 12  Apollo astronauts that have been to the moon,  most of them have been somehow affected by it.  Neil Armstrong went to live on his farm in  Ohio and they heard not much from him. Buzz  Aldrin has been very open about his alcoholism  and and depression he faced after returning.   Edgar Mitchell started talking about Aliens.  There was a greater need for those men who saw  the Earth in such a state and try to attach  themselves with some greater meaning. They  had to undergo existential crisis and that is  very clearly depicted in the movie.  Imagine  what it would be like in outer space and going  as far as places like Neptune and beyond,  the darkness and the unending infinite space which  makes us feel extremely small and would affect our  psychological state. Roy McBride is depicted as a  lonely astronaut without any family, in a way that  he was a perfect astronaut to go on any missions.  We can relate this with  the choice of astronauts  made even today. Organisations prefer people who  love to be alone and not question their inner  lives. A normal person will be affected beyond  imagination from the dark endless void of space.   People are invited for conducting experiments  where they are made to stay in closed quarters  for long time, and for that they need very special  kind of people those who are loners. An excellent  example will be Neil Armstrong. After coming back  to Earth and addressing the media, we can see in  his interview that he talks less about what it  was like to remain in space, to see the first  man to set foot on moon. Rather he talked about  the engineering and physics behind it. He was  the perfect person for them. So we can imagine how  NASA and other organisations make their choice! The journey to Neptune was a bizarre and erratic.  The journey tells us what it means for people  of Earth to be in space. It deeply affects them.  Their behaviour changes, their ideas change. They  face a crisis in their mind. Roy, though he was a  loner in the long endlessness, infinite space did  a number on him. The darkness of space is cruel,  which brought a surge of thoughts in his mind.  Astronomers are deeply affected, they get  flashbacks and monologue starts. Roy’s father  was so bent on finding life in space that he  could not face the fact that we might be alone  in this universe. He was so obsessed to find  intelligent life and give meaning to his life.  But he couldn’t. In the end he asked his son to  let him go into space and succumb to his failure. The movie tells us we are very optimistic about  finding life in space and naming habitable  planets, but still we have got no success. We  have never entertained the fact that what if we  are alone in this infinite universe? And  that’s worrying and terrible. More terrible  than the presence of intelligent life. Because if  that’s the case, we have to rethink our approach.  Why are we so special then? And what we should  do then for the future? The universe appears  to be dead and empty. No one sending us  messages and no one answering our calls.  We might be completely alone, trapped in the  Universe. If we let life on this planet die,  it can be that all the life in the  universe would end. Does that Scares you?  If yes, then no problem you are  having the correct reaction. It’s always good to be optimistic, but we  should think for all the possibilities. So,  what do you all think about the existence of life?  Can it really be that we are alone? OR we will  find any intelligent life out there? I want all  of you to comment in the comment section below  and let us know what u think? Don’t forget to