The 11 best documentaries, series and movies that you can now stream if you are interested in space exploration
Has been a good week, of course, if among your passions is the history of space exploration. El rover Perseverance landed successfully on Mars in search of life on the red planet, and Apple TV + has released l2nd season of the wonderful ‘For all Humanity’Which surmises what the space race would have been like if the Russians had gotten ahead of NASA.
But there is more, much more: we offer you a selection of films, series and documentaries that you can see right now if you want to keep floating away from Earth’s atmosphere.
‘Apolo 13’ (1995)
A cast that removes the hiccups (Tom Hanks, Kevin Bacon, Bill Paxton, Ed Harris, Gary Sinise) in a calm, down-to-earth, devout chronicle of the true history of space aeronautics, which takes us back to the famous “Houston, we have a problem” and the failed Apollo 13 lunar mission in 1968. Splendid documentation and distinctly Hollywood emotion for a classic film in the strictest sense, perfect for a time of space tension without further complications .
Not exactly a documentary about space exploration, but certainly a series essential to understand the universe in all its magnitude, from microscopic to interstellar. Carl Sagan is responsible for the vocation of hundreds of astronauts, and it is easy to understand why: the simplicity and utterly captivating of his speech, mesmerized by the poetic beauty and science that surrounds everything around us. If you like it, don’t miss the continuation presented by Neil deGrasse Tyson on Disney +.
‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ (1968)
An absolute classic that seen today, more than 50 years after its premiere, is still just as hypnotic thanks to the rigor with which a section was approached, that of space travel, which was then much more science fiction that now. Significantly, the most everyday parts of the plot have aged worse than the parts of pure imagination, those of space travel, so accurate in their predictions that some aspects of them in the film, such as the impact of microgravity, are being studied now.
Okay, it’s science fiction (with an apocalyptic point, too), but from which is so rigorously documented that it functions as the most realistic of fictions. Its first installment, with a group of astronauts on a doomed mission seeking a future for humanity in the far reaches of space is absolutely fascinating, and integrates into the script advanced physics concepts such as the applications of wormholes, future technology or the conditions of the planets that are visited. A pity that the conclusion is not even remotely up to par, but until there, Nolan bills one of his most indisputable and round films.
‘Expedition to Mars’ (2016)
What better time than now to go through this documentary feature film about how the Spirit and Opportunity rovers saved NASA’s space program on Mars after a series of failures in the 1990s. It is thanks to their astonishing endurance, which has allowed them to continue working after years against all odds, that it has brought us to the present moment, with Mars being a much closer place than was believed just a few years ago.
‘The moon live (The Dish)’ (2000)
If so much exploration beyond what meets the eye is filling you with an overdose of epic, Go to this balmy comedy of manners set in New Zealand and based on an amazing true story. When man reached the moon, the images were relayed with the help of a powerful telescope located in an Australian village. Adorable secondary school, great performance by Sam Neill, and a necessary side view of the human side of space exploration.
You can see it on Amazon Prime Video (no longer available on February 28)
‘Chosen for glory’ (1983)
With precise and vibrant direction by Philip Kaufman, this chronicle of the efforts of the American military to launch Project Mercury and the first manned flight into space (i.e. the very origins of the space race), has an impressive cast (Sam Shepard, Ed Harris, Scott Glenn, Fred Ward, Dennis Quaid) and an adventure film structure that lends spectacular emotion to true events. Very interesting is also the National Geographic television series Inspired by both the movie and the Tom Wolfe book on which it was based.
‘Apolo 11’ (2019)
This documentary delves into 11,000 hours of film from NASA archives (including some previously unreleased interviews), and without talking heads from the present time or narration off, he edits them to send us straight to the mission that put man on the Moon. A documentary that shows that when the raw material that sustains it is top-notch, all we have to do is settle in and enjoy an unrepeatable piece of history.
‘Mission Control: The Forgotten Heroes of Apollo’ (2017)
Another documentary about the Apollo missions that, among other things, put man on the Moon, but this time with the focus on the people who stayed on Earth assisting the pioneers who went into space. A look at the technicians at NASA’s control center in Houston, adorned with an impressive number of archival images and new interviews. A good way to relativize the role of these missions and admire the large amount of anonymous work behind it.
If the epic and special effects of most of the films on this list tire you, we propose another point of view: ‘Next’ is a great drama in which Eva Green plays a woman astronaut (unique in the European Space Agency program) who lives alone with her daughter. But they tell him that he has to leave Earth to spend a year in the Proxima mission, and that generates a huge fracture in his relationship with the girl.
‘Salyut-7, heroes in space’ (2017)
And we close with a movie that you may not know, but that is a great adventure in space with problems like any astronaut can have, in the style of ‘Gravity’… but based on real events. A Russian production acclaimed by the critics and the public in his country that tells how in 1985, after a failure in the Salyut-7 station, which orbited the Earth without crew and on automatic pilot, two astronauts are sent to repair it on a mission that it has nothing to envy of the most frenetic Hollywood fictions.