Gravity staring George Clooney and Sandra Bullock releases today! The trailers for the film. are absolutely thrilling – in a terrifying sort of way. Perhaps more terrifying is the fact that the accident depicted in the trailer is set during present day (slightly in the past as the Space Shuttle is still in operation) complete with an exploding International Space Station.
We were fortunate enough to catch up with Dr. Kevin Grazier who served as Scientific Advisor for Gravity. Kevin specialized in planetary sciences and worked on NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory Cassini/Huygens project. (You can thank Kevin as part of the team that brings you AWESOME photos of Saturn like this) Kevin has also worked as advisor for some of our favorite shows like Battlestar Galactica – So Say We All!
Kevin explained that Gravity was inspired by a 2010 IMAX documentary called Hubble. The documentary captures the crew of space shuttle mission STS-125 (Atlantis’ first journey to Hubble) during the last servicing mission to the Hubble Space Telescope and the installation of the Wide Field Camera. When the producers of Gravity saw the absolutely breathtaking cinematography of Hubble, they envisioned how awesome a space disaster movie would look.
Like us, Kevin grew up with space and science fiction as a huge part of his life. His career path has taken him to a place where he now serves as a bridge between the science and the fiction.
“I grew up seeing some of the original episodes of Star Trek and seeing some of the early Gemini and Apollo launches, and how exciting was that back then? Back then, these launches were all day events…they were not ignored like they are today. So I decided I would go to college and take up space. Specifically, planetary sciences.”
In addition to his role as science advisor, he is an instructor of astronomy and planetary science.
“When you have an understanding of the workings of what’s going on in the night sky you can’t help but want to share this with people saying ‘look how cool this stuff is! This is what’s going on up there right now.’ And you can go out and see it for yourself, in the night sky… to a get a glimpse into the Universe. How could you not want to share that with people?”
Kevin shared some incredible stories from being on set of Battlestar Galatica to being able to connect with hordes of sci-fi fans at conventions. I asked Kevin if he ever felt like a big kid getting to have these sorts of adventures. I know we certainly have ourselves at many points along our journey for Chasing Atlantis.
“Of course! It’s okay to be 12! 12 Year olds have a sense of wonder that most adults have lost.”
And be sure to check out Gravity! (I’m hoping to get into a theater tonight)
Below is a segment from our interview with Kevin as he talks about his role as a science advisor and the impact of science fiction.[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=huyQhNKj9nA]
Huge thanks to Kevin Grazier for coming so far out of your way to geek out with us. And our sincere gratitude to the team at SpaceVidCast for lending us their studio to shoot the interview in. More on our interview with the SpaceVidCast team in the next post!