Short Film 'Wanderers' Beautifully Imagines the Future of Space Travel
The short film "Wanderers" from Swedish filmmaker Erik Wernquist is essentially Interstellar without all that pesky love stuff. Like Christopher Nolan's film, "Wanderers" serves as an argument for the prioritization of space travel, as it imagines the feats the human race could accomplish using the technology we currently have, if only we put our minds to it.
The stunning space imagery is accompanied by readings from Carl Sagan's Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space. The video tells us that "all locations depicted in this short film are recreations of actual places in our solar system," and some of them are easily recognizable, like Saturn and Mars, but others are more difficult to place. In order to further inform the public of the wonders to be beheld in our own backyard, Wernquist included pictures of the different shots in the film with corresponding descriptions on the official "Wanderers" website.
Here are some of the highlights:
"Sometime in the future, a large spacecraft is taking off from Earths orbit, filled with passengers on a long journey to somewhere else in the Solar System. This may be the first large colony to permanently settle another world. The background is a classic photo of the Earth from space, with the sun setting over the Pacific Ocean, taken from the International Space Station on July 21, 2003."
"Shown here is a spacecraft floating through the amazing cryo geysers on the south pole of Saturn's moon Enceladus. These geysers (discovered by the Cassini spacecraft in 2005) are formed along cracks in the moons icy surface and shoot powerful jets of - amongst other stuff - water vapor and ice particles into space. Some of the plumes reach heights of several hundreds of kilometers, and while most of it falls back as "snow" on the surface, some particles are shot into space and become part of the famous Rings of the parent planet of Saturn. The geysers are one of many hints that there are large bodies of liquid water under the surface of the moon, making Enceladus a prime target for the search for extraterrestrial life in the Solar System."
"This shot shows a person floating just above the plane of the famous Rings of Saturn. The Rings themselves are seen here only as a mess of tumbling blocks of ice, as the camera is in the middle of them, but their full shape is hinted in the shadow they cast on the northern hemisphere of Saturn, far in the distance.
The Rings of Saturn are immense! The main ring system has a radial width of about 65000 kilometers, from the edge of the inner D Ring to the outer F Ring. That means you could line up 5 Earths next to each other, starting from the edge of the inner ring and still have room to spare before you reach the outer edge. Yet they are remarkably thin. Observations vary from about a kilometer down to only ten meters or so. From a far distance they appear as an opaque disc, but from closer observation they are clearly a system of thousands upon thousands of stripes and gaps of varying widths. On an even closer look, it is revealed that all those stripes are made up of countless individual particles, ranging in size from smaller than a grain of sand to something like a basket ball. Some are large as a small bus. All of them made from clear water ice, constantly shattering and rebounding with each other, making the rings highly reflective in sunlight and so clearly visible to us."
"This is one of the most awesome views I can imagine experiencing in the Solar System; floating in a light breeze above Saturn's cloud tops at night, looking up at the glorious swaths of the Rings in the sky, and witness how they wash the cloudscape with the light they reflect from the Sun. The ringshine. Saturn is a huge ball of gas with no surface to stand on (apart from a small rocky core that may hide in its very center), so any human visit there would have to be suspended in balloons or dirigibles, like seen here. The atmospheric pressure at the upper layers of clouds ranges between 0,5 and 2 times the pressure at sea level on Earth, so in theory you could "hang around" under the open sky there without the need of pressurized a space suit. You would, however, need to bring along oxygen to breathe and it would be very cold - temperatures at this altitude range between -170 and -110 C."
"This shot shows the inside of [an] asteroid.. This is a highly speculative vision of an impressive piece of human engineering - a concept that science fiction author Kim Stanley Robinson calls a 'terrarium' in his novel '2312'. It is also not unlike what Arthur C. Clarke described in his novel 'Rendezvous with Rama.'
What we see here is the inside of a hollowed out asteroid, pressurized and filled with a breathable atmosphere. Like I described in the previous scene, the whole structure is put into a revolving rotation, simulating the effect of gravity toward the inside 'walls' of the cylinder shape we see. The structure in this scene has a diameter of about 7 kilometers and revolves with a speed of 1 rotation every 2 minutes, simulating the effect of 1g (the gravity pull we feel on Earth) at the surface of the inside. This place is also filled with water, creating lakes and seas wrapped along with the landscape. An artificial sun is running along a rail in the middle of the space, simulating a daylight cycle."
"This scene shows a group of people hiking across the icy plains of Jupiter's moon Europa. Jupiter itself as well as another moon - Io - is seen beyond the horizon. The scene takes place on the night side of Europa so the landscape is lit entirely by reflected sunlight off Jupiter (and to a small extent off Io). The shot is designed to look as if it would have been filmed from a moving vehicle and with a very long lens so that the bulk of Jupiter fills the entire field of view, like a huge wall in the background... The ground in this shot is all CG with a mapping of different ice textures merged with colors from satellite photos of Europa."