Europa Report — Rent it from Google Play or Samsung Media or Amazon. It’s a relatively low-budget, high-concept docudrama about a privately-funded human spaceflight mission to the Jovian moon Europa, perhaps 12-15 years from now. NASA and SpaceX provided science and effects support for the 90-minute film. There are elements of 2010: Space Odyssey but no monoliths. What’s great about it: (1) much of it is grounded in recent planetary science related to Europa, (2) the long-duration spaceflight experience portrayed in the movie builds off of the ISS mission; (3) there is intelligent use (or extrapolation) of the science of extremophile life here on Earth; (4) the storyline implicitly accepts and embeds the technical risks of human spaceflight (the unpredictability) we’ve seen in reality with Apollo 13, and Shuttles Challenger and Columbia. There are two recognizable, big-budget actors in the film (the good guy from the original Girl w. Dragon Tattoo series who plays the bad guy in the most recent Bond movie, and the human-turned-alien protagonist from District 9).

Is it a perfect or great film? No. Is it the most realistic portrayal to date of what a long-duration interplanetary mission like look like? Yes.

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