“Apollo 18″ – possibly the worst science fiction film of the 21st century

I suppose it has come to this. We have no manned space program anymore, Muslim outreach is a NASA priority according to NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, and a recent paper from a NASA postdoc suggests aliens will kill us because they can detect our global warming from light years away and think we are a threat.

After watching this video trailer for the movie, Plan 9 From Outer Space seems almost plausible now.

Plot fail – I suppose nobody in Florida noticed nor any of the thousands of NASA employees and contractors said a peep when the Saturn 5 rocket lifted off for Apollo 18. Yeah stuff like that is easy to keep under wraps. Though I haven’t seen the full movie, the trailer makes it pretty clear that I’d never want to. Originally scheduled for release in the spring, it has been delayed and now has a planned release Sept 2nd.

Hollywood, like NASA, has lost its mojo.

I feel for the crew of Apollo 17, including my friend and fellow skeptic Dr. Harrison Schmitt. This film makes a mockery of the the Apollo program and the true final mission.

 

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102 thoughts on ““Apollo 18″ – possibly the worst science fiction film of the 21st century

  1. “In the years following there was unconfirmed intelligence of an 18th mission”

    I think the intelligence would be maybe out of a job if they and half of Florida missed the sneaky launch of a Saturn V

  2. Anthony, I love your site here and all the commentors that come here, been reading pretty much
    daily for the last 4 years or so. I have a great deal of respect for you and what you do. I am,
    however, going to disagree with you here. It’s a science fiction horror movie and I’ve heard of
    Hollywood coming up with much crazier premises than this. Just a flick and your entitled to your
    opinion but you also haven’t even seen it and no one can make you do so.

  3. Oh you spoil sport! You’re just like my daughter who sat through an entire movie complaining that it wasn’t realistic. One of my favourite moves is groundhog day … is that realistic? Oh you spoil sport! Do you ever get Deja Vu? One of my favourite moves is groundhog day … is that realistic.

  4. Maybe this is proof that Buzz really did walk on the moon and it wasn’t a Hollywood fake.

    In any case, NASA was bound to lose it’s “mojo.” It’s a government program.

  5. Lighten up, it’s just a film. I didn’t see you commenting on Pirates of the Caribbean III – which is also an unbelievable film.

  6. Not worth getting steamed up about.
    After all, they never really went to the moon, it was all a big hoax filmed in a warehouse! ;-)

  7. Aw c’mon – it’s a bit of fun. I am looking forward to it.

    And I, for one, believe that Apollo was the greatest single achievement of humanity.

  8. Being an Apollo aficionado I look at the program as one of the high points of American achievement. Having said that I nonetheless admit that virtually all science fiction is riddled with technical errors and implausible leaps of logic and realism. Imagining that a Saturn V rocket could be launched without anyone noticing is a bit much. Nonetheless this movie seems like good fun and as about as possible as any other main stream science fiction big screen effort.

  9. > This entry was posted in GLOC and tagged NASA, Science fiction.

    What does category GLOC mean? General Looniness or Confusion?

    Inquiring minds want to know. Okay – one inquiring mind wants to know, but at least I didn’t lose my mind over the earthquake. I might lose it over Irene.

    (I asked this a few days ago, apologies if I missed the answer.)

  10. Dude, come on. It is a cheesy horror flick, Blair Witch in space. Just a movie, it might be entertaining. Especially if it can roll in some realish science and history, other than the secret launch bit (suspension of disbelief?)

  11. It’s not very original; there was a movie that already covered the aliens on the moon. “Moontrap” starred Walter Koenig as an American astronaut. It had Leigh Lombardi in it, which was it’s only saving grace.

  12. Peoples taste in movies are not the same.
    But I dont think you are supposed to view the film as an actual documentary.
    It is a kind of horror-suspence entertainment flick, but I think most viewers understans that it is fiction and not real footage.

  13. I was watching Apollo 13 the other day. I felt depressed after watching the launch sequence. It occurred to me that the Apollo project might very well have represented the height of the civilization of the United States. We are simply not like the serious, honest, hard working people who put man on the moon. Our culture, behavior, finances, and yes, even our scientific institutions are quickly becoming a joke.

    Reading your post brought back that same feeling. We’ve traded the scientists and engineers of Apollo for silly PC inclusion programs and ridiculous bedtime stories from global warming alarmists. And our accomplishments are now fodder for Hollywood B movies involving killer moon monsters or giant robots.

    And we now have to depend on Russia to even get a man into low Earth orbit! Apparently NASA’s $18 billion budget just isn’t worth it to a nation which loses more money then that any time there’s a rounding error in the budget.

    America has gone from King to court jester in a little over 40 years.

  14. Oh dear, how sad, never mind. They really have sunk beneath the waves with this little gem, me thinks! From what I saw, I am jolly pleased Jim Lovell et al refrained from highly emotional outbursts when their minor irritation occurred in the real world! As said elsewhere before, I watched Apollo 13 as it happened with millions of other 12 year olds, plus the adults. I watched the whole Apollo shooting match, had books on the Apollo programme, was a nut about it back then, this really does make a moccery of what really took place, the race, the courage, the struggles, the triumphs, the failures, the courage in the face of those failures, the engineering marvels of what man can really achieve when he puts his mind to it! Who was it amongst those giants who pioneered space travel, who said something along the lines of “imagine sitting in a steel coffin sitting on top of hundreds of tons of high expolsive, all put together by the lowest bidder!” . Honestly, I know we Brits did contribute a little more than tea & porcelin to the programme, but you Colonials must never quit going into space, it shameful in my view.

  15. Isn’t it the point to mock the program. After all, the Anointed One thinks that space development is not all that important. Fundamentally transforming or lives into a socialist state and making nice with the most antitechnology group on the planet is much more important. Remember, only the special are allowed real educations in muslin cultures. Education in the hands of the non-indoctrinated people or women is discouraged. Once indoctrinated, all is good.

  16. I met a traveller from an antique land
    Who said: “Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
    Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
    Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown
    And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
    Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
    Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
    The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
    And on the pedestal these words appear:
    `My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:
    Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!’
    Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
    Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
    The lone and level sands stretch far away”.

  17. The down side is that I feel like I just saw the whole movie in under 3 minutes. Blair Witch meets Alien meets Forrest Gump.

    Too bad, love good SciFi, but bad SciFi is usually really bad. Had high hopes for this one, disregarding the whole no one noticing a Saturn rocket launch bit.

    On the bright side, Netflix has all the Star Trek series available for streaming as of July. Been watching Next Generation season 1, at least the episodes that are not Diana Troy centric. Really, how worthless of a charachter is she? “I sense the Pherengie are deceptive!” “I sense a presence, but no more than that”. Well great Troy, why don’t you make yourself useful and go wait tables in 10 Forward.

  18. What is behind this, of course, is the long popularity of movies that evoke the helpless feeling in nightmares (I too have only seen a few seconds of this movie in commercials). I had nightmares growing up (and “Plan Nine From Outer Space” was, for me, not the schlockiest but the scariest movie of all, as a kid), and I deliberately set out to kill any monsters I encountered in them. I found that they literally disintegrated, or changed into helpless mewling embryos themselves, when determinedly attacked. So I have been immune to “nightmare” movies ever since, and I look down upon those who relish them (sorry, but my personal experience makes such fans seem only pathetic in their failure to confront their inner demons). I would not even bring all this up, except that I think the people of the world (especially the Old World, or those encumbered by the sense of long-past injustices) need especially to defeat their own inner demons now, not project them upon other people in the real world. If you are troubled by nightmares, I will tell you how to stop them: With anger, not fear. Hit them as hard as you can (even if they are a thousand feet high and made out of solid rock, or hardest steel); they will disintegrate before your determined blows. Then, be open to new-found confidence, and respect from others, in the real world, and really live your life.

  19. They had to do something with all that left over equipment from Hanks’ Earth to the Moon. Oooh! I know, Andromeda Strain meets Zombieland.

    Holding “18” to the lowest B-movie standard possible, it makes more entertainment sense than Hansen makes scientific sense.

  20. On the other hand, I just saw “A Sound of Thunder”, loosely (and I do mean loosely) based on a classic short story by Ray Bradbury. Apollo 18 would have to work very hard to be worse than that steaming pile of…

  21. I wasn’t aware of this film, however James Michener’s epic novel Space centres around a fictional Apollo 18 mission and was a great read.

  22. Let’s be clear on the alien paper.

    So here’s the thing. This isn’t a ‘NASA report.” It’s not work funded by NASA, nor is it work supported by NASA in other ways. It was just a fun paper written by a few friends, one of whom happens to have a NASA affiliation. [...]

    Is such a scenario likely? I don’t think so. But it’s one of a myriad of possible (albeit unlikely) scenarios, and the point of the paper was to review them.

    http://paleblueblog.org/post/9110304050/some-important-points-of-clarification

  23. I don’t know about worst of this century, I’ve seen Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem, a movie partially filmed in my very own city of Port Coquitlam, B.C.
    What Hollywood needs to do is create more movies about cllimate change, that will bring in the crowds. ;-)

  24. I don’t see what the big deal is…it’s just a movie and the documentary style for fictional movies is certainly not a new concept. I don’t think they are ‘mocking’ the crew of Apollo 17 — I think they were just making what they thought was a cool “what-if” movie.

  25. John Carter says:

    August 24, 2011 at 3:14 am

    Good grief – chill out – it’s a movie.
    It’s entertainment, not history!

    You are missing the point of hollywood. It is there as a platform for the socio-communists such as Moore to indoctrinate and educate the masses in their/his beliefs. This s not just a movie. Try to find out who paid for most of it. That maybe more telling.

  26. “Moon”, a little 2009 film starring Sam Rockwell was excellent if you’re looking for a good SciFi flick you probably haven’t seen.

    Unfortuately, as cool as manned space flight is, it is not how man is ever going to explore the galaxy. Physics just won’t allow it. We could get to Mars, which would be cool, but there is nowhere else in the solar system where we could explore barring a massive leap in technology. Man couldn’t survive a few minutes on Venus, couldn’t even land on the gas giants. The amount of knowledge we have gained from Hubble, Swift, Chandra, etc absolutely dwarfs the information we gained from landing on the moon.

    However an observatory on the moon, that would be both useful and ambitious, and likely within our grasp.

  27. Shaun Dunne:

    At August 24, 2011 at 5:32 am you say;

    “Let’s be clear on the alien paper.

    So here’s the thing. This isn’t a ‘NASA report.” It’s not work funded by NASA, nor is it work supported by NASA in other ways. It was just a fun paper written by a few friends, one of whom happens to have a NASA affiliation. [...]”

    Yes, let us be clear. IT IS A NASA PAPER. Only NASA can repudiate a paper published in NASA’s name by a NASA employee. NASA has not done that.

    Richard

  28. I don’t know, hard to tell how bad or good it is from that trailer. I don’t understand such a harsh reaction from only a trailer… And remember, it has to be really, really awful to beat An Inconvenient Truth ;)

  29. . . ..if you wonder how he eats and breathes, and other science facts, repeat to yourself ‘Its, just a show, I really should relax!'”

  30. The sad thing is that a large gaggle of people will actually believe this to be a documentary.

    Having been to the launch of both Apollo 12 and 13, there is NO way a Saturn V could be launched without notice. Seismographs as far away as Jacksonville Fl were set off during these launches.

  31. Score! Lots of MST3Ks on Netflix too!

    . . ..if you wonder how he eats and breathes, and other science facts, repeat to yourself ‘Its, just a show, I really should relax!’”

  32. Some of us need to release anger from time to time by having a go at things. Today Anthony had a go at a B movie. Good luck to him, it’s better than kicking the cat.

  33. I don’t think Anthony is part of their demographic. Old guys like us go to a movie, what, .5 times a year?

  34. Very rare to not be disappointed by Hollywood’s stab at “sciency fiction”. This one will join a long list of discredits: The Core, Volcano, The Day After Tomorrow, Deep Blue Sea…

    On the other hand, waiting till you can rent them and holding your own living room version of MST3k can be fun, too.

  35. Have to agree on the plot fail regarding who would miss a Saturn V lift off. My wife and were discussing just this problem yesterday after watching the trailer. Even if they lifted from Vandenberg instead of the Cape, someone would have noticed it. That rocket cannot be mistaken for a sat launch vehicle.

    I doubt however that this movie can possibly be as bad as Plan 9 from Outer Space. That movie is just plain horrid and in a special class all by itself.

  36. “Tom in Florida says:
    August 24, 2011 at 6:11 am
    The sad thing is that a large gaggle of people will actually believe this to be a documentary.”

    Exactly right Tom. That is what I fear too.
    Apocalypse Now was seen as representative of river boat duty in VN. Having been there and done that I was annoyed my GFs daughter thought it was accurate.

  37. A rather rotund fellow with a low IQ gets stuck in a hole and suffers the indignity of being used as a clothes prop by his friends.

    True or false?
    Winnie the Pooh or Michael Mann?
    Is it true because Winnie the Pooh is “real” or is it false because they didn’t hang clothes on Mann?

  38. I don’t want to spoil the ending but they find out the aliens were here because the aliens found out we were pumping too much CO2 into the atmosphere so they are going to destroy the earth to save it.

    Oh wait! That’s not the plot of this movie. That ‘s a peer reviewed climate science paper.

    Never mind…

    (I’m going to see it. It ought to be a fun flick and I’ll definitely LOL when they sneak the rocket up into space. It’ll be interesting to see how many others in the theater “get it.”)

  39. Hey, “The Core” and “Volcano” are great . . . when watched with a bunch of geologists and their students in a room where one is allowed to throw popcorn and you get extra credit for each geologic error you can identify correctly!

  40. Headley says:
    August 24, 2011 at 3:54 am
    Lighten up, it’s just a film. I didn’t see you commenting on Pirates of the Caribbean III – which is also an unbelievable film.

    You’re kidding right? Captain Jack Sparrow was so a real pirate. So was the Dread Pirate Roberts.

  41. I have discovered a major flaw in the Iron Sky movie plot. They have been living in 1/6 th earth gravity for over half a century, their legs will feel like jelly once they get to earth.

  42. Seeing how people have allergic reactions from pets like cats, people diying from a single bee-sting, one can only wonder how people react when introduced to a really alien life form. That’s going be to nasty i think.

    I guess a real scenario would be that the Astronaut who gets that creature inside its suit would die very quickly because his suit is decompressing very rapidly, but not fast enough so he can experience the mother of all allergic reactions, about everything at the same time, increased by a factor of 10 most likely.

  43. Not a doubt in my mind that it’s a perfectly dreadful movie. But the worst that Hollywood can do given a whole Century to work with? I believe that you are greatly underestimating the capability of the entertainment industry to generate lousy films.

  44. “Plot fail – I suppose nobody in Florida noticed nor any of the thousands of NASA employees and contractors said a peep when the Saturn 5 rocket lifted off for Apollo 18. ”

    A) it is a work of science FICTION.
    B) If it was a secret launch, the NASA employees would have kept it secret. They do manage to keep things secret you know. Not everything they do is public knowledge.
    C) It is a work of science FICTION.
    C) People in Florida had lost interest in the Saturn missions by the mid 1970s and would not have cared whether a rocket went up or not and not even given a second thought about whether it was a secret mission or not.
    D) it is a work of science fiction.
    E) The mainstream media are able to maintain a lie for years, or refuse to cover a real story at all. So a secret launch of a rocket that the public had lost interest in could have easily have been ignored by the mainstream media.
    F) it is a work of science fiction.

    It is just a film!

    REPLY: Yes I noted it was SCIENCE FICTION in the title, the plot fail is the issue. For science fiction to work, it has to be plausible-believable. This isn’t. Anthony

  45. I have to agree that movies which are unrealistic make me angry.

    When 1 man with a pistol kills 6 men with machine guns and 1 ton of explosives are blown up per hour I leave the theater.

    Bad guy bad shooting school is a family joke !

    For a movie to be enjoyable it must be plausible.

    The Aliens hate global warming plot is a joke. I love it when the alarmists make a joke of themselves unintentionally.

  46. Two questions:

    1) Don’t you people care about your children and grandchildren?

    b) Was it peer-reviewed?

  47. While it may qualify as a worst science fiction movie, it has all of the requisites for an Oscar Winning Documentary.

    It would not be, as we’re all aware, the first time.

  48. Launching a Saturn Five without having anyone notice is simple. Just launch it at night and don’t turn on the headlights until it is already past the end of the driveway.

    Problem solved!

    :)

  49. Tamara,

    I believe that you forgot ‘Sunlight’ (iirc) the one where the sun was going ‘out’ and needed some nuclear help to start it up again.

    No list of dodgy sci-fi films is complete wihout it

  50. It’s not really a science fiction movie, it’s a horror movie.

    The whole point is that it’s on the moon on a secret mission is to make it scarier for the characters, because they are completely cut off. It’s cheesy horror movie tropes, because it’s not a science fiction movie. It’s a horror movie set in space.

  51. I think Tor Johnson sat on them.

    P Walker says:
    August 24, 2011 at 8:22 am
    I’ve always wondered what happened to plans 1 through 8 .

  52. I’m glad NASA’s out of business. Will see this movie cause unlike you, I actually like to be entertained

  53. “Event Horizon” was by far the worst.

    Most of the audience for Apollo 18 will never have seen an Apollo launch. They might imagine all the older adults are keeping a terrible secret from them. I could ruin many entertaining movies by being too crtiical of the bad science. It’s supposed to be fun. For example, what the hell is “red matter”?

  54. “Plot fail – I suppose nobody in Florida noticed nor any of the thousands of NASA employees and contractors said a peep when the Saturn 5 rocket lifted off for Apollo 18. ”

    I don’t know, I have odd dreams where a couple of guys in black suits are getting out of a black sedan, holding up a pen, and there was this flash. That’s all I can seem to recall. They looked like they’d been driving all over the state.

  55. John Carter says:
    August 24, 2011 at 3:14 am
    “Good grief – chill out – it’s a movie.
    It’s entertainment, not history!”

    No. Entertainment does not mean to lead people astray.
    History? What are history facts besides stones?
    On a broken stone it is written “If a man put out the eye of another man, his eye shall be put out. [ An eye for an eye ] If a man knock out the teeth of his equal, his teeth shall be knocked out. [ A tooth for a tooth ]”- Some ‘entertainer’ have that covert into a book and many people take the cover version as history until today.
    Neither leading astray nor claiming history for truth fit the methods of science. Recognized truth is the only real entertainment, and I think this includes the
    Phythagorean tuning all people and scientists agree with.

    I was very impressed in 1963 scientists from Litton have developed an inertial navigation system for the German air force, when I was working for Litton. A similar technique was used in the Apollo program.

    V.

  56. Being Hollywood, I wouldn’t be the slightest bit suprised if Apollo 19 has already been greenlit and is in pre-production, and there is an option for Apollo 20, 21, 22, 23….2

  57. I see a lot of doom & gloom about space flight, when actually it couldn’t be better. The next flight of the SpaceX Dragon will deliver cargo to ISS (and drop off a pair of comsats along the way), it was designed from the outset to become a 7-seat crew transport capable of reentry from an interplanetary trajectory. Bigelow has orders for several inflatable space stations which would make excellent living quarters for long duration missions, Boeing is hiring its *own* astronauts to test-fly the CST-100 vehicle (also 7-seat), Orbital Sciences is building a cargo-only system, and my own (XCOR) and several other companies (Masten, Armadillo, Blue Origin, and more) are developing suborbital systems that will give us the experience base to _then_ do fully reusable two-stage orbital space transports.

    In a few years, the Senate Launch System will be exposed as the bloated pork that it really is, and will die a deserved death, unneeded and unmourned. Future’s so bright, we gotta wear shades!

  58. Have you ever heard of suspended disbelief? They don’t want you to believe it, they want you to enjoy it. Maybe some gullible people might think this is a documentary, but if people are that gullible, there’s not much that can be done for them.

  59. Fred N. says (August 24, 2011 at 7:57 am): “I thought ‘The Day after Tomorrow’ was the worst Sci-Fi flick of all time.”

    Well, there’s your mistake right there: it wasn’t science fiction. It was a comedy, and a pretty good one at that. South Park’s version was even funnier.

  60. I have to disagree with you here Anthony. The film looks fun. Also we have a mainstream movie saying than not only did the moon landings happen but there was an extra one. Don’t knock it. How many times do you have to argue that the landings really happened?

  61. Huh? How does this ‘make a mockery of Apollo 17’? Anyone who would factor a bit of hollywood fluff and nonsense into their opinion of the legacy of the Apollo program probably has a extremely poor judgement at the least.. Why judge a movie based on a trailer? Is that like making broad based conclusions on next to no data? Sound familiar?? Lighten up, it’s just a movie.

  62. What saddens me is that “Apollo 18, the movie” will be stored and remembered for eternity, but we lost real data of real missions, what’s up with that?

  63. Anthony;

    I think you are overreacting a bit about this and one of your points against the film has a flaw: They do not say the “Apollo 18″ mission launches from Kennedy. You are interpreting that from the footage. However there is three counter points to that:

    1, The obvious point that the only film footage we got of a Saturn V launch is from Kennedy, so they had to use that for the film/promo.

    2. The other place up for consideration for the Apollo program was Vandenburg Air Force Base and it’s launch complex.

    3. Their is already a conspiracy theory out there that two missions were launched from Vandenburg AFB to the dark side of the moon. It’s on the Loony side since they name them Apollo 19 and 20 when the Apollo 20 Rocket was used for Skylab and they don’t use 18 at all from what I can see:

    http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/luna/esp_luna_36.htm

    So the producers of the film probably have the Apollo 18 mission launch from Vandenburg. There they can cover the launch as a ICBM missile test and you do not have the civilians. Remember classified mission have been launched from Vandenburg before under various covers:

    Space exploration
    Vandenberg launched the world’s first polar orbiting satellite, Discoverer I on 28 February 1959. The launch vehicle for this mission consisted of a Thor-Agena combination.[5]

    The Discoverer series of satellites provided other significant firsts for Vandenberg. For instance, in August 1960, the data capsule was ejected from Discoverer XIII in orbit and recovered from the Pacific Ocean to become the first man-made object ever retrieved from space. A week later, on 19 August, the descending capsule from Discoverer XIV was snared by an aircraft in flight for the first air recovery in history.[5]

    Shrouded in a cover story of scientific research, Discoverer was actually the cover name for Corona, America’s first photo reconnaissance satellite program. The publicized Discoverer series came to an end on 13 January 1962. After 37 launches or launch attempts, the cover story for Discoverer had simply worn out.[5]

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vandenberg_Air_Force_Base#Space_exploration

  64. Apollo 18 launches head-to-head against Shark Night 3D. I wouldn’t want to put money on that box office showdown!

  65. The vast majority of SF stories are set in the future for two main reasons: 1) They wish to explore new technology/new cultural or evolutionary developments and 2) it is much easier for the audience to accept a story that cannot be refuted by history. In fact, it is easy to accept any plot set in the future, no matter how ludicrous.

    However, there have been some exceptions, but these were done specifically to make the audience think about a past event through a different perspective. A recent Dr Who episode was based during the Apollo mission in 1969 in which it was revealed that the whole of human endevor was being controlled by a race of aliens – and who had implanted the idea to go to the moon in the first place. How did they make that work? They ‘trick’ they used, was that as soon as a human looked away from an alien, he immediately forgot what he had seen, thus explaining how they could have been here unnoticed for millenia.

    For Apollo 18 to pass the first test, it must 1) show us a different persepective of a past event, one that we all thought we understood, and 2) contain some credible explanation as to how it is that this new ‘reality’ was hidden from us. Not having seen the movie, I can’t comment on whether it makes us see the Apollo mission in a different light (eg, was something found in a previous mission that provided the reason for a secret 18th mission?) As for point 2, did they attempt to explain why nobody notices this mission? Maybe alien intervention using mind control. That could work in theory. An audience would likely go along with that because of the desire to suspend belief. However, if no attempt at an explanation is offered at all, this would create terrible dissonance on the audience. That would be unbelievably amateurish.

  66. Hey,

    I’ve just been contacted by some aliens who said that NASA is way over the top in thinking that they would be at all concerned about the warming, or cooling come to that, of an insignificant planet in a very remote galaxy that they are not at all interested in visiting.

  67. boballab says:
    August 24, 2011 at 12:37 pm
    “2. The other place up for consideration for the Apollo program was Vandenburg Air Force Base and it’s launch complex.”

    I do not know how the Vandenberg complex is designed but I do know that there were massive water reservoirs beneath the launch pad for the Saturn V. Most of the “smoke” created at liftoff was actually steam. Without this system to dissipate the enormous heat created by the huge engines everything on the pad would have melted. Does Vandenberg have this system?

  68. No, Vandenburg was never in any serious consideration for Apollo (or any other eastward launches around the world. It WAS (and still is) the best for polar orbits.

    Eastward launches are essential to use the rotation of the earth to speed up the final orbital velocity w/r to the earth’s surface. The near-1000 mph “headstart” of the earth’s rotation is reduced as you go north, and the Cape’s 28-odd degree latitude is significant enough to be a problem. But it is on continental US, and is just about the most southern you can get in the US. (TX is near equal in latitude, but the debris from launches goes back over the FL landmass. Too much of a safety limit at launch.) France, launching closer to the equator than Canaveral, has won several bids from the US because of its “orbital speed” advantages.

    Cape Canaveral was chosen because it does stick out noticeably into the Atlantic, and both beaches north and south of the cape were near-empty. Therefore, NASA-USAF launches at the cape had a few more degrees and a few more seconds of sideways flight before the rocket needed to be exploded when they go off course. From Vandenberg, the north-to-south launches also go out over the Pacific and are “safer” than launches going back to the east over land. Vandenberg launches headed west as anti-missile targets towards the Pacific islands are definitely less efficient than regular Canaveral launches eastward put up with the lost flight speed for the benefits of a long ballistic missile type flight over the Pacific before getting shot down.

    Vandenberg was intended as a backup/alternate Space Shuttle launch point for polar flights, and those facilities were started, stopped, re-started, etc. That may be what you’re thinking of.

  69. I agree with Anthony on this one. Plausibility is the hallmark of good science fiction. Given what I saw of the trailer, the Lord of the Rings Trilogy has more basis in reality, and is more plausible. While yes it is just a movie, so was an Inconvenient Truth. The damage done by that pathetic attempt of social engineering is still being felt. This movie in my opinion is no better. So let them make a pathetic attempt at a fictional thriller, I will not watch it and will share my opinion of the worthless drivel that this attempt at selling moving images with sound represents.

  70. When the news of this came out I laughed too. I personally watched the Shuttles take off from as far south as my old office near the Miami airport. And I regularly watched them from the front door of my home over the last decade from just north of West Palm Beach…. it’s not likely that ANY Saturn5 liftoff could ever go “unnoticed”.

    I fear that 10 years from now kids will grow up thinking the movie is plausible history and flood the message boards about it. But like the 1964 movie “First Men in the Moon” it might be fun to watch….

  71. Oh you spoil sport! You’re just like my daughter who sat through an entire movie complaining that it wasn’t realistic. One of my favourite moves is groundhog day … is that realistic? Oh you spoil sport! Do you ever get Deja Vu? One of my favourite moves is groundhog day … is that realistic.

  72. I agree with you Anthony. What a senseless waste of celluloid. I’m afraid “The Greatest Generation” has been replaced with “The Lamest Generation,” especially in Tinseltown.

  73. The hypothetical worlds of CGI are wearing thin.
    The lack of a real mission may correlate to the general malaise of our society at present.
    These dreamworlds don’t hold a candle to real exploration/exploitation.

  74. My father, an actor, used to say that you should never go to a movie about doctors with a doctor, a movie about lawyers with a lawyer or a movie about anything with an actor. Should add a movie about science with any kind of scientist.

  75. Ha-ha!
    While the whole world was watching the aftermath of Tuesday’s Virginia earthquake,
    a Saturn V launch was sneaked out of Florida. (Seismographs all busy, you see.)
    It will land on Sunday, while everybody’s preoccupied with the hurricane (which They also prearranged to distract attention from the Mission.)

  76. I like my movies to be adventurous, dangerous, funny, exciting, romantic, & sad, a bit like real life actually, we don’t see enough of it IMHO! However, I won’t see the movie because my imagination won’t take that leap where the moment something really obviously practical falls apart, the script “invents” a means for it to occur. That’s what being an engineer is like I am proud to say. Now pure escapism like Star Trek Movie was realy good, with Kirk mentioning he had to risk engaging Warp-Drive within the Solar System to intercept the advancing alien object. At least the script writers had thought about Warp-Drive & what its effects might be! The other thing is that the people who will go & see Apollo 18, starred in it, filmed it, directed it, produced it, edited it, etc, were probably not alive when Apollo was going on, or at least still in nappies (dypers?) at the time!

  77. Making it to the moon and back with late 60s technology seems like science fiction these days. On the other hand things that are simple tend to be more reliable and easier to fix if they do break. Think about working on your own car in 1969 compared to 2011. Hell, I didn’t even want a car with electric windows. I see that not as “a feature” but as “one more thing that can break and be a pain in my ass”.

  78. We respectfully thank you for your continued production of historical documents which we will study carefully as before.

    The Thermians.

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