NASA Astronaut Helped Actors Prepare for “Gravity”

Actors for a new movie coming out in October 2013 received tips about life in space from NASA astronaut Cady Coleman. “Gravity” is the story of two astronauts (played by George Clooney and Sandra Bullock) whose shuttle is destroyed by a run-in with space junk during an EVA, stranding them both in orbit and struggling for survival.

While developing her role, Bullock gave Coleman a call while she was aboard the space station. At the time, the actress asked Coleman to elaborate on what it’s like living and moving about in microgravity. “I told her that I had long hair, and if you pulled a hair out and pushed it against something, you could move yourself across the space station,” said Coleman. “That’s how little force it takes.”

You can see more of their discussion below, as well as the heart-pounding trailer for the movie:

NASA says that although this dire scenario makes for gripping Hollywood entertainment, NASA actively works to protect its astronauts and vehicles from the dangers portrayed in the movie. From protective shielding and meticulous and methodical training on the ground and in space covering everything from spacewalking to fires or decompression inside the space station, NASA’s ground crews and astronauts are as prepared as they can be for potential anomaly, no matter how remote they may be.

Read more about aspects of the International Space Station that you’ll see in the movie in this feature article from NASA.

Jethro Tull in Space

I’ve had this song in my head ever since Sunday when I first saw this video, so finally decided I had to post it. Astronaut (and flautist) Cady Coleman on board the International Space Station hooked up with Ian Anderson, founder of the rock band Jethro Tull, to collaborate for the first space-Earth duet. The song, “Bourree in E Minor,” was written by Johann Sebastian Bach, but Jethro Tull made the song famous (again) with their own arrangement of the tune back in 1969, the same year Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin stepped on the moon. Coleman and Anderson played the song in recognition of 50 years of human spaceflight and the anniversary of the first launch of a human to space by cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin on April 12, 1961.

Coleman played her part from 220 miles above Earth late last week. Anderson played his part while on tour in Perm, Russia, during the weekend. The two parts were then joined.

Just see if you can keep this song out of your head for the rest of the day!