Explore the science behind some of your favorite popular science fiction tropes–from escaping a black hole to riding a space elevator to the stars—in this illustrated guide from NASA advisor and host of the popular Tested podcast OffWo
In Out There: The Science Behind Sci-Fi Film and TV, author and filmmaker Ariel Waldman dives into the fascinating real science behind some of the most beloved space-themed science fiction tropes, from faster-than-light travel to AI ships, hypersleep, and imagining life on other planets. Each chapter dives into particular situations or scientific questions that frequently show up in science fiction pop culture. Aided by interviews with a diverse range of scientists, educators, authors, and journalists, Out There takes science fiction fans, movie geeks, and popular science lovers on a journey to the farthest depths of space, revealing how thin the gap between fiction and reality can be.
Whether it’s researching new technology, theories, or possible extraterrestrial situations, the showrunners and directors of our favorite science fiction shows and films are often extending the boundaries of real science, leaving viewers and fans to wonder, “Could this really happen?”
Ariel Waldman is the chair of the council for NASA’s Innovative Advanced Concepts program. As principal investigator, she led a five-week expedition to Antarctica to film microscopic life under the ice, which became the subject of her TED Talk. Ariel produces and hosts YouTube shows, including a show about the science of sci-fi on Adam Savage’s Tested, as well as her own channel of science adventures. She is the co-author of a congressionally-requested National Academy of Sciences report on the future of human spaceflight and the author of the book What’s It Like in Space?: Stories from Astronauts Who’ve Been There. Ariel is the global director of Science Hack Day and National Geographic Explorer and received an honor from the Obama White House as a Champion of Change in citizen science.