Remembering Laika the Space Dog: Links You Need to See

We all know the story of Laika the Space Dog, the brave pup who ventured into space in a Soviet rocket ship and died in-transit. At Motherboard, Becky Ferreira has written a piece on the lingering heartbreak of Laika’s death and the questions that arise regarding the ethics of sending an unsuspecting dog into space to die for human progress and science. Whatever side of the fence you sit on, it’s a lovely  essay (seriously–I felt my eyes welling up while reading it) and is worth a read. … Read More

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10 of the Most Terrifying Films About Space

It’s been seven years since Alfonso Cuarón’s mesmerizing sci-fi tale Children of Men hit theaters, and the director’s follow-up, Gravity, is equally stunning. George Clooney and Sandra Bullock star as astronauts adrift in space following a shuttle accident. The vast blackness consumes them. As our own Jason Bailey wrote, “It is a powerful visual, encompassing both the genuine awe of the setting, and the utter terror of the situation.” The space thriller toys with our fears of the unknown, just like these other frightening galaxy-spanning stories. … Read More

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Why Colonizing Outer Space Is a Bad Idea: 9 Lessons From Pop Culture

Here’s the ultimate good-bad idea: the Dutch aerospace project is planning to send four humans to Mars in 2023 … and keep them there. Permanently. As of yesterday, 20,000 people had applied for a spot on the mission, and 24 to 40 of the applicants will duke it out on reality TV to be among the first humans to colonize a planet. Clearly, they haven’t seen enough space movies to realize that this is a horrible idea. If these applicants just took the time to watch the following movies and TV shows, they’d surely think twice about hopping into a spaceship. … Read More

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10 Fantastic Pre-Spaceflight Films About Space

Between the death of Neil Armstrong this week, the recent death of Sally Ride, and all of the high-resolution postcards from Mars that Curiosity has been busy sending back to Earth, we’ve had space on our minds quite a bit lately. Generations of scientists have been captivated by the prospect of space travel, but prior to the first human actually leaving the Earth’s atmosphere in 1961, it was up to science fiction to imagine what that experience might be like. Film offered the perfect medium for envisioning the desolation of hurdling towards the stars, the exotic landscapes of faraway worlds, and the alien creatures that we might encounter there. We’ve put together a list of ten classic sci fi films that predate cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin becoming the first person in space. From the realistic to the campy, science fiction film remains one of the most imaginative genres. … Read More

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The Inspiration Behind Neil Armstrong’s Immortal Words

NBC reported yesterday that the modest astronaut who became a global hero after taking “one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind” on the moon in 1969 died yesterday. Neil Armstrong was 82 years old. The mission commander of the Apollo 11 took his historic flight with command module pilot Michael Collins and lunar module pilot Buzz Aldrin — who tweeted these words after hearing the sad news: “I know I am joined by millions of others in mourning Neil’s passing – a true American hero and the best pilot I ever knew.” The always wonderful Open Culture has published an hour-long BBC documentary about the life and times of the astronaut, which reveals how Armstrong conceived of those famous, poetic words we will always remember him for. Head past the break to find out more. … Read More

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15 Fictional Spacecrafts We’d Like to Call Home

Prometheus, Ridley Scott’s first go at sci-fi since his epic cult classic Blade Runner took a genre-defining look at the modern metropolis of the future, hits theaters this Friday, and we couldn’t be more excited. Even though we’re no closer to a world overrun by flying cars and human-like androids, we still fantasize about a day when Venus is a viable getaway option and adorable lifeforms from other planets drop by to chat over a bag of Reese’s Pieces.

To satisfy our insatiable curiosity for all things futuristic, we thought we’d take a look at the interiors of some of the most notable space stations, space hotels, and intergalactic battleships in film and television and ponder the question: could we ever really live in space? If space architecture looks anything like the stunning, luxurious, and playful production design of these decidedly livable spacecrafts, our answer is a definite yes. From the decadent, spacious interiors of The Fifth Element’s Fhloston Paradise Hotel to the well-executed mix of old and new on the creepy Solaris space station, click through to check out the best of livable design in places not on this Earth. Maybe Richard Branson has the right idea after all! … Read More

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Happy Super Moon: A Brief Overview of the Moon in Pop Culture

Werewolves, it’s time to lock yourselves up extra tight (probably in the library cage, if you’re Oz) — tonight, the full moon will be a “supermoon,” that is, even bigger and brighter than usual. The phenomenon is caused when the moon becomes full at the same time as it comes closest to the earth in its orbit, and has been linked to various natural disasters — though science tells us that’s all nonsense. To celebrate the lunar event, you’ll probably be wanting to indulge in some moon-related pop culture, so we’ve collected 30 culturally relevant moons and moon-related phenomena for your perusal. Click through to check out the moon in all its phases in pop culture, and let us know if we’ve missed your favorite lunar shout outs in the comments. … Read More

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10 Memorable Disembodied Voices in Film

New Yorkers will recognize the voice of Carolyn Hopkins, but they might have a hard time placing it. That’s because she has recorded many of the voiceovers used in New York’s subway system, alerting commuters about incoming trains and the like (you can hear a recording at the New York Times). As in real life, these voice actors often go unnamed and unappreciated. So, in honor of Mrs. Hopkins, we decided to look at 10 of the most memorable disembodied voices in film. … Read More

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Moon’s Moody Take on the Sci-Fi Genre

Editor’s note: This review originally ran during the Tribeca Film Festival. We’re re-running it because the film opens in theaters nationwide today.

Moon is a collage of sci-fi cinema whose cut and paste pieces will be familiar even to those not comfortable dropping terms like Replicant or Sleestack into polite conversation. That’s not to say it lacks originality — there’s a star-cluster of clever twists and style — but Moon manages to find that magical middle ground where both zealots of the genre and newbies will feel satisfied to spend 90 minutes on board. Much of this has to do with Sam Rockwell, and the simple concept that gets pulled in a number of contortions that are easy enough to follow yet avoid the soap-opera-in-space-syndrome that plagues too many frames of contemporary sci-fi celluloid.… Read More

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