Samantha Cristoforetti, walk as in 2001 A Space Odyssey: spectacular show in orbit

It turns out that sooner or later Samantha Cristoforetti will be hired by Hollywood, perhaps immediately after having participated in the NASA Artemis program in the next few years that will bring crews back to the moon.

After playing characters from Star Trek on the international space station, the saga that influenced her choice to try to become an astronaut (“A frighteningly improbable dream”, dixit) and after teasing Sandra Bullock with a perfect imitation because in the film Gravity her hair of the actress “in orbit” remain miserably crushed on the head and do not float elegantly like hers, now the thirty has aimed very high, perhaps the maximum there is.

That is 2001 A Space Odyssey, Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece released in 1968 along with the novel of the same name by the co-writer and writer, the monumental Arthur C. Clarke.

In short, this time it is not about Cosplay scenarios to remember en passant the events of Star Trek or Superman (the latter interpreted on the ISS by Luca Parmitano), but to cite with painstaking fidelity some of the most memorable moments in Kubrick’s film: grip shoes, shoes with velcro to stay anchored to the floor or ceiling before Pan Am’s Orion III rocket plane, flying towards the rotating space station V (from Von Braun), and then the spacecraft headed for the Moon. The latter is the scene reconstructed by the Italian astronaut.

To speak of the emotion that those images aroused just 54 years ago, it can be remembered that the switchboard of the Pan Am (Pan American Airways) flight company, which went bankrupt in 1991 but then a sort of colossal United States flag campaign, was studded. from more than 90 thousand phone calls to book trips in orbit on the Orion III which, however, at the time darted into space only in the (well-founded) imagination of Kubrick and Clarke.

Samantha Cristoforetti then wonders if it is actually possible to walk on a spaceship with velcro-soled shoes. And, in the same tweet, the answer – affirmative – is also given after wearing a very faithful replica of the uniform of the hostess of the spacecraft traveling to the Moon and having replicated, with impressive adherence to the scene, the “circular” walk along the walls of the ISS just as the Burmese-Irish actress Edwina Carroll did in the film. The overlap of film and reality is impressive. The voluminous “cupular” headdress of the space hostesses of 1968 and of Cristoforetti in 2022 is disturbing, indeed, precisely the turban.

Here, perhaps the only flaw, is the soundtrack chosen by the astronaut of the European Space Agency for the opening of the video concerning the docking of a spacecraft at the ISS: instead of the bombastic “Also sprach Zarathustra”, which also characterizes the film , perhaps it would have been more correct from the beginning the waltz The Blue Danube also by Johann Strauss which accompanies the hypnotic dance of the spaceships in orbit in the film and which in the tweet takes over from Thus Spoke Zarathustra.

But this is a more than acceptable poetic license of the thirty who in this mission, near the end, Minerva showed an actor’s verve, with humor and self-ironic veins, capable of enormously increasing followers: she has more than a million on her favorite Twitter and has amassed almost 700 thousand (with over 5.5 million views) in just over five months on the “novelty” TikTok, which she herself wanted, with tutorials that showed the scientific activities carried out by astronauts to a crowd of very young people otherwise difficult to reach. This cinematic “walk” also lends itself to considerations on several laws of physics.

Ah, the velcro fabric was not invented, as many believe, for the space missions of the Apollo program that only made it famous: the idea is of the Swiss Georges de Mestral who developed it in 1941 inspired by the fruits of burdock, those “balls” covered with small hooks that stick tenaciously to the clothes and fur of animals.


From a Space Odyssey in 1969 to the space station in 2022

Samantha Cristoforetti on the ISS and Sandra Bullock on Gravity

Edwina Carroll

Shoes with velcro

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