Gravity

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Factual error: When Sandra Bullock and George Clooney manage to get to the ISS, she gets entangled with some ropes and manages to grab Clooney's safety rope. Clooney's speed should be very close to Bullocks' and the ISS', hence. The parachute ropes should be able to withhold the forces of deceleration (the mass of two people is very small, compared to Soyus or ISS), so no more pulling or having to sacrifice himself... This is due to the fact that there's no drag in space to constantly change Clooney's velocity (revert to Newton's First Law).

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Suggested correction: The parachute ropes are of course strong enough to hold the relatively low kinetic energy of the drifting astronauts, but that is not the reason why Clooney detaches. The rope is not attached firmly to Bullocks' leg. There are some loops loosely wrapped around her leg, and while both astronauts are still drifting away from the ISS (seen in a shot a few seconds earlier), those loops slip away from the foot one by one. Before the last loop slips away from the foot, untethering and condemning both astronauts, Clooney detaches himself to lessen the kinetec energy that pulls on the rope by reducing the total mass of the "system of two astronauts", so that there is a better chance that the last loop will remain attached to Bullock.

Once Clooney had stop moving all that would have been need was a slight pull from Bullock to pull him towards her. The momentum was lost when he stopped moving. So no need to cut himself loose.

It all happens in free fall. As soon as the cord withstood inertia resulting from George's body mass pulling on it, George would bounce back towards Sandra. The entire scene was completely unrealistic.

Clooney stopped moving in relation to Bullock. But both were still moving in relation to the ISS (look at the scene again; there is a wide shot that establishes this), with both their masses pulling on the parachute cords, straining the tenuous connection of the cords looped around Bullock's foot. To lessen the strain, Clooney detaches itself from the two-astronaut-system, reducing the mass and kinetic energy pulling on the cords.

t-6

Actually parachute cords can withstand hundreds of pounds of force, making them very difficult to snap.

The danger wasn't the ropes snapping, the danger was that they would slip off her foot, and they would both be lost to space.

Friso94

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Question: How was Ryan able to swim after the capsule splashed down in the water? Isn't readjusting to earth's gravity pretty difficult when you've spent a long time in space?

Answer: Swimming does not have the same gravity related constraints that walking on land has. It is not until she is on land where she shows signs of facing difficulties with the Earth's gravity. Also, when she swims up to the surface, she is rushing so she doesn't drown and in doing so, uses up most of her energy because she has been in space and is only now readjusting to Earth's atmosphere, so when she is above water and swimming over to land, she visibly shows signs of being exhausted and out of breath as she used up most of her limited energy attempting to swim up to the surface.

Casual Person

Swimming still has gravity related constraints, though right?

Gravity pulls water towards the earth, yes. But for a swimmer, the water provides buoyancy and supports them. The closest thing you can come to weightlessness on Earth (not including the flight training where they take you into a plane that glows up then drops) is in water, because it floats you.

She is swimming up to the surface at the fastest speed she can, so she doesn't drown. Perhaps there are some gravity related constraints to her swimming, but she is trying to fight against it so she can get to the surface. When she is above the surface and swimming/floating back to the shore, she is visibly exhausted, so it is apparent that she used up most of her energy in trying to fight against the gravity related constraints.

Casual Person

Answer: The movie opens with a servicing mission to the Hubble Space Telescope on the Space Shuttle - which had already been decommissioned for two years by the time the movie came out, but we'll let that slide. Because the Shuttle was powered by fuel cells that had a limited supply of hydrogen, it meant that realistically, Space Shuttle missions rarely exceeded two weeks in space, with an absolute maximum of 17.5 days. Two weeks in microgravity is not enough to cause significant loss of muscle and bone density, so Dr. Stone would be able to swim just fine. If you look up old footage of the astronauts disembarking the Shuttle after landing, you'll see they mostly walked out and down the stairs on their own.

Friso94

Answer: Yes.

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