With media headlines repeatedly warning us of debris falling from the sky, orbital debris (or “space junk”) has finally risen to the forefront of social consciousness.
Originally released for exhibition in IMAX 3D theaters last year and now available on 3D bluray from RLJ Entertainment, Space Junk 3D is a short (37 minutes) documentary detailing the ever expanding ring of debris that currently encircles our big blue marble and how it threatens the safety of our planet’s orbits. Director Melissa R. Butts gives the viewer a short but engrossing look into the problem that this ring of disabled satellites, Fuel debris, discarded rocket boosters, etc pose upon the earth and her inhabitants. And of course the worst part of it all is that, as usual, mankind is responsible for this mess and we’re the only ones who can clean it up.
Narrated in a friendly yet stentorian manner by actor Tom Wilkinson, the film takes us on a stunningly rendered look into what the possibilities are if this ring of junk gets bigger and what that means to other functioning satellites that provide all of us with our cell phone service for instance. I’ll bet you didn’t know how much all of us rely on satellites right now? Our day to day lives are in fact SO RELIANT on them the threat from this fast moving (thousands of miles per hour) ring of debris is one of the utmost importance to us. Space Junk 3D looks to remedy us of some of that ignorance and give us all ideas on how to impede this menace before it’s too late.
Don Kessler (Billed as “The father of space junk”) acts as a guide in the film, describing how the situation developed and how its grown to the dimensions its gotten to seemingly under our collective noses. Admittedly to a neophyte like I am, a lot of this sounded like something I might see in a Saturday night SYFY film but the combination of Wilkinson’s narration, Kessler’s knowledge and stunning 3D imagery detailing what the whole mishegoss looks like makes for a truly fascinating (& terrifyingly possible) look into a future that none of us are looking forward to.
Some of the proposed solutions posited by Kessler here might sound a bit wonky (a fishing net in space? Seriously?) but then again I’m fairly certain that the idea of the planet being surrounded by a ring of debris would’ve sounded pretty ridiculous decades ago when the first man made satellites were placed into orbit so I discount nothing he suggests, as over the top as some of his sugestions sound. Kessler’s most impressive argument brings us to Meteor Crater, Arizona, which just happens to be the world’s best preserved meteor impact site. Nearly a mile wide & created in under 10 seconds some 50,000 years ago, he posits that comparable fallout could arrive in the form of satellites currently in earth’s orbit. And the damage they could create would be catastrophic if they landed in populated areas. Of course, scientists across the globe pretty much dismiss his scenario citing the “Big Sky” theory which states that the enormity of space makes the implied collision of two or more satellites remote at worst. While I don’t claim to be an expert in any of this high falutin’ scientific chatter, I do think that Kessler might be on to something here and I’d rather not go to sleep worrying about whether or not a mess of satellite debris is gonna come crashing down on my beloved mausoleum. The Black Saint is a fairly sound sleeper but I’m pretty sure that would wake me up!
If you’re equipped for 3D at home you won’t be disappointed by the images here on this film. All of them are crystal clear and sharp as nails with plenty of detail to get its point across. The sound is also masterfully rendered and if you have a decent surround sound system at home you’ll be pleased with the way the sound envelops the room you’re in. Smartly directed by Ms. Butts, Space Junk 3D is a short but captivating look into a disaster that might just be waiting to happen if we don’t act soon.
“Space Junk 3D” is available now from RLJ Entertainment.
“Space Junk 3D” – 3 out of 5 shrouds.
Space Junk 3D (2012)