Apollo 13

I’m torn this week. I would normally show 2001: A Space Odyssey at this point in the semester. It’s an absolutely classic film, which has been parodied so many times that even people who haven’t seen it know many of its key scenes. Any real student of physics in film should watch this movie at least once. But this is not to say that most of my students actually enjoy the film; it’s long, it’s slow, and it’s difficult to understand. Since we had to sit through Ad Astra just two weeks ago, I’m going to give you a break this week. Instead of 2001: A Space Odyssey, we’re going to watch Apollo 13. This movie is based on an under-appreciated real episode in the American space program, when the lives of 3 astronauts and the confidence of a nation hung in the balance. The topic is similar to what we would have discussed for 2001: A Space Odyssey, that is, realistic portrayals of space travel in movies.

Assignment:┬áPlease describe for your blog readers the correct interpretation of “weightlessness.” Be sure to clarify any common misconceptions using examples and appropriate physics.

Please post your answers to your blog by Sunday, 15 Oct. BE SURE TO RANK THE PHYSICS IN THIS MOVIE ACCORDING TO THE ISMP MOVIE PHYSICS RATING SYSTEM.

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