The deputy chief scientist from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory consulted on the movie Prometheus, in case you didn’t already have a reason to go see this film.
Opening June 8 in the U.S., the prequel to Scott’s 1979 Alien chronicles an ill-fated exploration team that travels to a distant planet in search of humankind’s origin. To ground the plot in scientific plausibility, Scott turned to Kevin Hand, JPL’s deputy chief scientist for solar system exploration, to explain the kind of terrain, atmosphere, or ecosystem astronauts might encounter on a planet outside of our solar system.
“I met with Ridley and his creative team early in the process to see how science could be utilized in plotlines,” says Hand. “They had lots of questions about what it takes for humans to travel to distant worlds, how those worlds might be uninhabitable for humans, the constraints to consider when thinking about alien life, and how it might have adapted to that environment. It became a creative brainstorming session where we bounced ideas and questions off one another. My goal was to help them get the science right while maintaining a plot that tells a compelling story.”