Sci-Fi Science Busted!
In the movie Jurrasic Park, scientists clone dinosaurs from dinosaur blood found within mosquitoes fossilized in amber! As exciting and fun the movie is, this bit of science, in the beginning, is extremely incorrect.
Real scientists say this is next to impossible. For example, insects start decaying inside out after getting trapped in amber. This leaves nothing for scientists to extract from a fossilized insect to experiment on. Also, if at all scientists were able to go past this hurdle, cloning needs DNA, and the mosquito blood would have had the DNA of the mosquito and the dinosaur combined. How do the scientists separate the two, and clone a dinosaur is unanswered in the movie because it’s close to impossible.
So much for the most popular dinosaur movie ever made. Well, Jurrasic Park isn’t the only science film to be so far away from actual science. This World Science Day, we decided to explore science fails in some popular science fiction movies and here they are!
1. There cannot be big explosions in space
We already know that fire (on earth) is nothing but the combustion of gases in the air. Fire needs an oxidizer to exist, but that doesn’t have to be air. So, there could be an explosion in space, but that would, perhaps, be out of gas leakage from a spaceship. In that case, it would be a relatively short-lived, small blast, nowhere close to the gigantic ones shown in movies.
Guilty Movies: Star Wars series and Star Trek series
2. Technically, there’s no sound in space!
While we’re at explosions in space, another thing that many movies get wrong is the sound element in space. Space is many times denser than the atmosphere on earth. Sound travels by colliding molecules into each other, and for that, it needs gaps between molecules, which is low to negligible in space as it is very dense. So while sound can travel in space, it won’t be loud enough for us to hear it. So no pew-pew-pew-pew of space lasers and no boom-baah-badassh of spaceship explosions.
Guilty Movie: Star Wars – Episode IV
3. It takes around 2 – 2.5 months to accelerate a spaceship to travel at speed of light
Let’s set aside the fact that there exists no technology, so far, that can make you travel at the speed of light. Now, say we do manage to somehow overcome that. Then according to NASA scientists, it would take you around two to two-and-a-half months to accelerate to the speed of light. Also, the main problem with getting a spacecraft to the speed of light is the passengers inside it. If you accelerate your spaceship to the speed of light, the inertia would throw the passengers back in the seat with such force that they’d splatter all over the seat.
Guilty Movies: Star Wars, Superman, Space Balls
4. No human can survive in space without a helmet for more than 15 seconds!
A spacesuit’s primary function is to create an oxygenated atmosphere pressurized appropriately for the astronauts to protect themselves from extreme temperatures and ultraviolet rays in space. At most, a human without a suit would last about 15 seconds before losing consciousness from lack of oxygen (that’s how long it would take the body to use up the oxygen left in the blood).
Guilty Movies: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 1
5. The possibility of your spaceship colliding with an asteroid in the asteroid belt is very very low.
From a distance, asteroids in the asteroid belt look very close, but actually, they are several million kilometers away from each other. So, navigating your spaceship to avoid colliding with one is a rather rare possibility!
Guilty Movie: Star Wars Episode V
Some (Dis) Honorable mentions!
- Unlike shown in the film Lucy, there’s no proof that we only use 10% of our brains. We all use 100% of our brains, but maybe not be all at the same time.
- When you fall from a building, any superhero catching you mid-air will have the same effect on you as hitting the ground. It’s the speed that kills you!
- Unlike the movies 2012 and Day After Tomorrow, there is no proof to suggest that global warming will submerge the planet. Even if that happens, it’ll not be all at once, such a scenario will take some time giving us the chance to be alert.
- The film Armageddon has a total of 168 scientific errors! The film is only 150 minutes long! Some suggest that NASA uses this film in their management training as a challenge to see how many errors can one pick!
This was our list of the ‘unscientific’ science fiction films. We are sure there are many more. If you know of any such films, let us know about them in the comments below.
Let us all keep learning!
Charu, a feminist and an accidental writer, is yet to master the art of writing about herself. Always curious to learn new stuff, she ends up spending a lot of time unlearning the incorrect lessons. She enjoys all sorts of stories – real, fictional, new, old, hers and would love hearing yours too. Feel free to ping her at firstname.lastname@example.org to share anything that you think is worth sharing.