Capricorn One

Factual error: The whole conspiracy is doomed from the start! They show a Lunar Module on the set representing Mars; the astronauts were supposed to use this to 'land' on the Martian surface. This is insane. The Lunar Excursion Module cannot operate in an atmosphere; it would burn up on entry. It has no heat shield - the engine nozzle and landing legs would have to poke through it if it had. Exterior protrusions like antennae and steering engines would burn off during descent through the Martian atmosphere. While Mars' atmosphere is thin, it is still more than sufficient to burn up a Lander designed this way. All three recent Mars Landers, Spirit, Opportunity, and Phoenix, had heat shields and parachutes to facilitate safe re-entry. This is not a radical redesign of the LEM; it simply cannot be the shape it is if it is to work in an atmosphere. Any schoolkid would know that, and the world's media would not be fooled for a second.

Factual error: If one person (at NASA) was able to calculate the distance between the returning Mars capsule and Earth based on their radio signals, then everyone with basic radio receiving equipment would be able to. The Russians routinely track American spacecraft and publish details of their trajectory in Pravda, and amateur astronomers throughout the world do so, too. This all comes from triangulation of their radio signals. There is no way that NASA could hide this simple fact from their worldwide audience.

Factual error: In the beginning of the movie, a Saturn V is seen representing the launch vehicle that will take Capricorn One to Mars. This is downright ridiculous. A Saturn V's third stage (that would insert into orbit and make the injection burn) does not have nearly enough Delta-V to make a Trans-Martian Injection from low Earth orbit.

Factual error: A round-trip voyage between Mars and Earth would take about two years. Although the movie's timeline is compressed, from when the astronauts supposedly leave Earth to them supposedly returning (and dying) and then Caulfield rescuing Brubaker, the entire plot implausibly takes place in only eight months. It is mentioned at the memorial that they "left" Earth eight months earlier. The military memorial is held at least a month after the "tragedy" so that would mean they made the trip in seven months, which is impossible. The film is not set in the future when technology would be more advanced.

raywest Premium member

Plot hole: For such a well-financed, well-organised bunch of ruthless killers the people who try to clean up the mess that NASA leaves behind seem to have the intelligence of a cheese sandwich. 'Disappearing' one of their employees - the one who works out the discrepancy in the triangulation of the radio signals - is an obvious necessity but replacing him with a woman who claims to have lived in his apartment for years is stupid beyond explanation. The reporter knows that she is lying - it's as if they wanted to confirm that his suspicions of a conspiracy were true (and hence worth investigating). What is to stop him checking with the man's neighbours, or local shops? What about his bank, credit card suppliers, utility companies, friends and family who would have been in contact with him at that address? What about the landlord, or the mortgage company, or vehicle or driver's licence registration? What about the local electoral roll? There would be official records going back to the day he moved in to the apartment, and neither NASA nor their hired killers could have accessed all of that information even if they knew about it.

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Question: Okay, so the three astronauts are on the run but only James Brolin makes good his escape. What happened to the other two? They're shown as being caught, but what happened after? Anybody know?

CCARNI Premium member

Chosen answer: It's never stated in the film, however, as the astronauts have been declared officially dead and therefore cannot ever be allowed to contact anybody, they were most likely executed as soon as they were captured.

Tailkinker Premium member

Answer: How were they able to fire their flares, then?

Dave Messer

They both had just enough time to fire their flares when they realised they were about to be captured and that there was no chance of escaping.

raywest Premium member

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