The recent unveiling of the first image of a black hole — found in the Messier 87 galaxy, roughly 55 million light-years away took the world by storm. Of all the profound and humbling celestial occurrences to be found in intergalactic space, what makes black holes particularly intriguing?
Let’s take a look at how sci-fi movies depicted these enigmatic bodies; black holes, wormholes and singularities.
A team of astronauts is sent to investigate a lost spacecraft which disappeared on its maiden voyage and has now returned. The drive generates an artificial black hole and uses it to bridge two points in spacetime, reducing travel time over astronomical distances.
Zathura a space adventure
Two young brothers find themselves transported into the depths of space while playing a board game. They try their best to find their way back to Earth. According to Pete Travers, Visual Effects Supervisor on the film for Sony Pictures Imageworks, retaining the stylized “1950s sci-fi look” from Van Allsburg’s book was a very important aspect of the effects.
Nero (Eric Bana), the Romulan villain of the film, uses the principles of the black hole for dastardly ends, creating an artificial black hole out of “red matter” to destroy the planet Vulcan. But then a real black hole creates a time warp that sends Mr Spock back in time to help Captain Kirk and his own younger self try to stop Nero.
The Black Hole
When a research vessel containing scientist Kate McCrae discovers the previously missing USS Cygnus, captained by Kate’s father, near a black hole, they decide to find out the mystery behind it.
The wormhole’s proximity to a black hole causes gravitational time dilation; in the brief time Cooper and another crew member spend exploring one of the planets, 23 years of earth’s time elapse, causing duress for the scientists. Christopher Nolan, known for his meticulousness, took great pains to try to ensure that the science of the film checked out, and its rendering of the black hole was considered by many to be the most realistic yet in a fiction film.
We hope to see more movies that enlarge upon the mysteries of space that pique humanity’s collective curiosity.