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I’ll be the first to admit that I went into Star Trek with little to no knowledge of previous incarnations of the franchise. I’ve never been huge on the sci-fi genre in general, and Star Trek was no different. Now only four days after seeing the new Star Trek movie (which I went into solely due to J.J. Abrams’ name being attached), I’m already using ridiculous references to it in real life, going as far as calling my girlfriend a Vulcan the other day.
That’s why I find a recent article posted on the Bad Astronomy blog at Discover Magazine to be endlessly interesting. In the article, writer/astronomer Phil Plait dissects several scenes from the movie and comes to conclusions as to whether or not they are scientifically correct or plausible.
While most of the scenarios presented fall into more of a gray area scientifically, Abrams did get at least one thing right. An early scene shows a crewmember of the USS Kelvin being thrown into space due to an explosion. When the camera follows her out of the ship, there is a sudden silence. Plait says,“I could kiss J. J. Abrams right on the mouth for this one. In space, without air, there is no way for sound to be transmitted.”
As is expected, Abrams fudged a few scientific facts. For example, as McCoy and Kirk travel on a shuttle to the Enterprise, McCoy makes a comment about their blood boiling in 12 seconds if there were a hull breach. Plait says of this: “To the immediate point… it wouldn’t happen.”
I suggest holding off on reading the article until you’ve actually seen the movie as there are more than a few spoilers involved, but Plait does a great job at making the good and bad science of the movie easy for even an English major like me to understand. Now if he could only write an article explaining this whole Trekkie thing to me.