January 5, 2011
NASA Names ‘2012’ Science Fiction Film Flub Of All Time
Roland Emmerich's disaster of a film "2012" (Columbia Pictures) was named by NASA scientist Donald Yeomans an "exceptional and extraordinary example of Hollywood bad science."
Yeomans, head of NASA's Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous Mission also remarked that to the newspaper The Australian the "the film-makers took advantage of public worries about the so-called end of the world as apparently predicted by the Mayans of Central America, whose calendar ends on December 21, 2012."
Specifically the story tells of the mysterious neutrino particles coming from solar flares that heat the core of the planet causing these disasters. NASA acknowledges that neutrino particles are real and have been known to interfere with radio waves, but as neutral particles, they do not interact with physical substances. Additionally, the heating of the Earth's core in the movie is grossly accelerated, and is "absurd" according to Donald Yeomans.
NASA argues that misleading film science can worry viewers. So many people wrote in to the agency, worried about 2012-related disasters that NASA had to publish a special website just days before the film's November 2009 release.
The page reads "Nothing bad will happen to the Earth in 2012. Our planet has been getting along just fine for more than 4 billion years, and credible scientists worldwide know of no threat associated with 2012."
The film "2012" was not the only recent film that was frowned upon by NASA. The science behind the 1998 film "Armageddon'" although initially applauded by NASA, where a team of oil workers are deemed the perfect group of guys to blow up a Texas-sized asteroid with a nuclear bomb was later denounced. "Armageddon" is in use by the NASA management training program. It is used as an example of bad science because it contains over 168 distinct things that are impossible, not just improbable, but impossible.
After reading the script, scientists at NASA walked away from "The Core," where Hilary Swank drills into the Earth's center to restart the planet's rotation.
Science fiction films aren't all misinforming though.
NASA pointed out that Ridley Scott's 1982 "Blade Runner" painted a rather convincing image of a near future Los Angeles, "Jurassic Park" and 1997's "Gattaca", which looks at DNA and genetic discrimination, was lauded as scientifically "realistic."
On the Net:
- Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous Mission
- NASA - 2012: Beginning of the End or Why the World Won't End?