The best sci-fi thriller on HBO Max reveals a brutal truth about life on Mars

The best sci-fi thriller on HBO Max reveals a brutal truth about life on Mars

Mars is a hellscape. Enter the planet without a protective space suit and your eyes will pop out of their sockets as your blood vessels rupture and your whole body convulse. At least that’s the premise of one of the most successful science fiction films to ever set foot on the red planet.

Luckily the Mars colonists are inside Total recall‘s imagined future Don’t go outside as much and instead live in large domes filled with breathing air. But these domes are a different kind of hell. For many, the conditions are dire. Humans are billed for vital resources, and poor radiation shielding has led to genetic mutations.

There’s a lot of wild and escapist sci-fi out there Total recall. Talking taxis, a three-breasted lady, flashing memory implantation machines, a was-it-all-a-dream? Ende and a psychic rebel leader who connects to his brother George’s abdomen.

But director Paul Verhoven’s Arnold Schwarzennager vehicle also forces us to reflect on the harsh realities of life on Mars – and how the powerful might one day control the planet’s precious resources. Is Total Recall a vision of humanity’s future life on Mars? Let’s take a closer look.

real science is a Turning back Series that reveal the true (and false) science behind your favorite movies and series.

Can you walk on Mars?

Visit March!Carolco pictures

Determining how hostile conditions are on Mars in the first scene of Total recall is crucial from a narrative point of view. It sets the tone for the film and forms a stark contrast to the film’s uplifting ending. according to dr Nicholas Heavens, who works at the nonprofit research organization Space Science Institute and specializes in Martian weather and climate, is also very accurate.

“It’s maybe not as visually impressive as in Total recallbut leaving the pressurized environment of your Mars base would be fatal,” says Heavens Turning back.

This is because the atmosphere is mostly carbon dioxide and the air is very thin.

“Atmospheric pressure is about 150 times lower than on Earth, Heavens adds.”

dr Erin McDonald, astrophysicist, writer, producer, and Star Trek science advisor, says it’s helpful to think of Mars as a vacuum. “You know those science museum experiments with bell jars where you suck out all the air to see what happens in a vacuum? When these are at their best, the ‘atmosphere’ inside is comparable to that of Mars.”

“Your eyes wouldn’t jump out.”

But the pressure problem is one of many.

“Mars is much more exposed to solar winds and radiation than Earth because Mars doesn’t have a magnetic field,” says McDonald. “Although it might not happen right away, you’d get a hell of a sunburn too.”

So how would it look if we kicked out on mars? Would death be inevitable? Would our eyes bulge out of their sockets like Schwarzennager’s at the end of the film?

“Once squeezed out, he would have been knocked out by the ruptured eardrums and some blood vessels in his face, and in about a minute would have been found suffocated and frozen to death with a horrific case of sunburn on exposed skin,” says Dr. Heavens. “An analogy to what divers experience during rapid depressurization suggests that eye damage could occur, but your eyes wouldn’t ‘pop out’ in the same way.”

Could we create our own atmosphere on Mars?

Could we use Mars’ resources to create a deliverable atmosphere on the planet?Carolco pictures

Total recall‘s mining operations on Mars unveil a great mystery millions of years old: ancient alien technology capable of terraforming the planet. As Arnold’s character explains, “The entire core of Mars is ice, the reactor melts it and releases the oxygen […] Enough for the whole planet.”

Assuming there is no alien technology hidden on Mars in real life, is there at least some truth to the idea that we could use the planet’s interior to make it more hospitable on the surface?

“Mars has no glacial core. The core of every planet is hot; Heat left over from the formation,” says Sara Seager OC, astronomer, planetary scientist, and professor at MIT. “At the north and south poles of Mars there are huge glaciers composed mostly of carbon dioxide but also water.”

Could these glaciers be used to give Mars a breathable atmosphere?

“People are definitely speculating about terraforming Mars,” says Seager. “The melting of the polar ice caps would release these powerful greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, warming the planet by creating a greenhouse atmosphere.” However, we would still have to find a way to produce oxygen.

“We would have to replenish the atmosphere More quickly as it is lost.”

dr Tanya Harrison, a geoscientist who has worked on several NASA missions and is now director of strategic science initiatives at Planet Labs, says one way to produce breathable oxygen is to extract it from the atmosphere.

“Thanks to science, we can rip oxygen out of carbon dioxide,” says Harrison, “and NASA’s Perseverance rover actually has an instrument on board called MOXIE that’s doing this as we speak!”

Larger versions of MOXIE – which stands for Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment – could generate enough oxygen for human bases. However, the lack of a magnetic field on Mars means that long-term plans would be challenging.

“Without the protection of a magnetic field, the solar wind slowly tears away the atmosphere,” says Harrison. “We would have to replenish the atmosphere faster than it’s being lost, and we would create that atmosphere from finite resources.”

Are we heading towards a Mars dystopia?

Limited access to oxygen among the working class on Mars leads to ugly mutations in the film.Carolco pictures

At the core of Total recall lies a devastating and all-too-familiar tale of gross inequality. The rulers of Mars control its resources and treat its citizens badly. You have the means to make Mars livable for all, but choose to keep it quiet.

We may not yet have established a presence on Mars of our own, but many people are concerned that that is how those with the power, money, and means will treat the red planet and its future human inhabitants.

“It sucks and I hate it.”

“Right now we’re in a space race driven by capitalism,” says astrophysicist Erin McDonald. “So when companies establish a presence outside the world, I can see that they use basic resources to make a profit. All space development efforts with a for-profit mindset will benefit. It sucks and I hate it.”

Although everyone Turning back With those who have spoken for this article shared a similar sentiment, there was some hope for a brighter future than the ones we so often see in dystopian fiction.

“Early on, humans will find themselves in an environment where everyone has a role to play in order to keep the base of survival going. Inevitably, that means we need to take better care of each other and create a sense of community,” says geoscientist Tanya Harrison. “As someone who idealistically dreams of a Star Trek-like future, I would hope that we learn from our mistakes on Earth.”

Vilos Cohaagen is the cruel, capitalist ruler of Mars in Total recall.Carolco pictures

target Total recall is not just a warning about our future on Mars. Underneath his sci-fi set dressing there’s a much more pressing lesson, many people currently in power don’t need to become an administrator on Mars to behave like a dystopian villain – they already do.

They have the tools to drastically improve the lives of millions, but they either choose not to or have their sights set on something else. Consider Elon Musk’s focus on Mars, which he justifies by saying, “Life can’t just be about solving problems.” (Sounds about right if you’re one of the privileged few who don’t have one .)

We need to think more Total recall‘s psychic rebel leader Kuato., We must open our minds and find ways to better take care of the earth and the life of all on it before We venture out into the stars. Otherwise, our home planet could soon be much more like Paul Verhoven’s hellscape from Mars.

Total recall now streaming on HBO Max.

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