Thursday, August 13, 2015

Welcome to our new viewers in China and Germany!

Both countries are making great contributions to the future of space exploration, the former through the exploits of their taikonauts and the latter through massive participation in the European Space Agency and its numerous projects.  This reminds me of the favorite sci fi movie, First Spaceship on Venus.  A Germano-Polish production (Der schweigende Stern, Milczaka Gwiazda) based on Stanislau Lem's novel Astronauci, the film portays an international expedition including the German pilot Brinkmann and the Chinese linguist Tchen-Yu, who along with their colleagues try to solve the riddle of a message from Venus that eventually reveals sinister intentions.  Though the Venusians turn out to have disappeared long ago in an atomic holocaust that they were preparing to unleash on Earth, both Brinkmann and Tchen-yu (along with their African friend Talua) bravely sacrifice their lives so that the rest of the explorers can return to the home planet.  The scenes on Venus are often characterized by surreal effects far ahead of their time.  The film also features a precocious robot named Omega who adds to the interplay between the humans.