Journey To Space showcases the exciting efforts – past, present and future — of NASA and the international space community in stunning 3D and explores how science fiction will become fact. The film, which is playing in several science museum IMAX theaters and just opened in Los Angeles at the California Science Center in conjunction with their new Journey to Space exhibition, uses stunning imagery, fabulous footage from the space program and comments from leading space experts to entertain and educate.
The Journey to Space 3D movie is one-third an homage to the efforts of the past 50 years, one-third a look at current day life aboard the International Space Station and one-third the preparations underway for future space travel to Mars. The film notes that space program did not end with the last Space Shuttle mission in 2011. It is actually vibrantly alive and new generations of astronauts are hard at work trying to determine how humans can live and operate in space for longer periods of time.
The film is narrated by Patrick Stewart. NASA astronauts Chris Ferguson and Serena Aunon are interviewed and add real-life perspective. The documentary contains footage shot at the Johnson and Kennedy space centers, the International Space Station and more. As director Mark Krenzien noted, it also rides on the shoulders of other IMAX films about the space program (many of which had snippets that were turned into 3D footage for this film).
Journey To Space pays tribute to the Space Shuttle Program from its first mission in 1981 to its ending 30 years later. It is hard to fathom what changed during those three decades, but one glaring change is computerization. The first shuttle reportedly carried 100 pounds of instruction and what-to-do-in-case-of manuals for the astronauts that became some laptops in more recent missions.
The five reusable shuttle craft flew 135 missions and carried 355 astronauts from 16 countries during their lifetime. As the film points out, the shuttle deployed, retrieved and/or repaired more than 100 satellites, most notable the Hubble Space Telescope, which took five shuttle missions to repair and re-deploy.
The film also educates about the shuttle’s last major project – the launch and assembly of the ISS. A joint collaboration of 15 nations, the ISS took more than 40 U.S. and Soviet flights to build as modules were added over 13 years. The current station is bigger than a football field or 6-bedroom house. It operates 24/7 as a home and science lab in space.
While many crew members’ tours of duty have averaged six months, longer duration missions taken place and are now. The effort is to study the medical and psychological challenges astronauts may face in a future mission to Mars, which be necessity will take more than two years.
“No longer science fiction, a human mission to Mars is in the planning stages, and major steps are being taken to make it a reality within a generation,” said Bob Kresser, CEO of K2 Films “Our goal in making this film was to tie together the actual hardware being built with the tremendous planning under way that will make the next steps in space exploration the most far-reaching in our history.”
The new machines that will carry out these missions are featured in the last third of the film:
- Orion is a spacecraft that is designed to carry people on long exploration missions into deep space.
- Olympus is an inflatable habitat that would ideally give astronauts the comfortable room needed for longer duration missions.
- The Space Launch System or SLS is a giant 38-story rocket that will launch Orion, Olympus, Mars landers and more on their historic missions.
As Krenzien pointed out at the California Science Center Journey to Space preview, “Mars isn’t our distant dream. … we are sooner than people think.” He noted that Journey to Space 3d was originally about the 30-year shuttle program’s past, but it morphed into a longer film that explore the space program’s future, too, in a highly engaging way. The film’s Website contains listings of where the film can be seen in various cities around the world, such as the California Science Center in Los Angeles.
Written and edited by Dyanne Weiss
Screening of Journey to Space 3d and Q&A with director Mark Krenzien
California Science Center
Journey to Space film Web site
Still photo of ISS from Journey to Space 3D courtesy K2 Films and California Science Center