Philip J. Fry once said in response to attempts to get him off the TV and bring him onto a summer beach trip:
Leela: Fry, you’re wasting your life sitting in front of that TV. You need to get out and see the real world.
Fry: But this is HDTV. It’s got better resolution than the real world!
That notion says a lot about human nature, and more importantly, brings hope for all of us. A win/win situation for all, the science, the technology, and the people. We can go back to the Moon and make it profitable. It can be a business of today, not of the future. The trick lies in approach. Current approach of the Space Adventures company is that Moon is the next destination for tourists. It’s not. At least not yet, and the probability of two “insane” billionaires that would pay $100 million needed for the first trip is minuscule. So how can we go to the Moon in the next five years? The solution is simple, and all parties will benefit. We make a film on the Moon’s surface.
Many things instantaneously pop into the mind. Georges Méliès, Thomas Edison, James Cameron, and Philip J. Fry. I’d like to think that when thinking about the Moon landing, I’d think of countless engineers that have dedicated their lives to the space travel. Or at least I’d think of hundred of astronauts like Jim Lovell, Harrison Schmitt. Or at least that I’d think of NASA and John F. Kennedy. But no. I just can’t get over the thought of low quality footage and themissing tapes from the Apollo program. All we have left from the historic human leap to another planet is a theoretical chance of finding SSTV SD footage, and hope that there will still be a facility that can play that extremely outdated 14-inch format recorded by Ampex FR-1400. There is better chance of winning the national lottery. And even if the tapes would be found, and even if the equipment would still be functional, and even if the footage would be digitally remastered, we are still going to end up with low quality SD footage of the 1960’s. You can’t blame NASA too much, their primary goal was space, not entertainment.
Everybody remotely interested in space or science fiction would love to see HD footage of the Moon landing, and real HD shots filmed at the real Moon. And where would we all want to see HD footage of the trip to the Moon? The movie theater, of course. This is the real business need.
Thomas Edison indirectly bankrupted Georges Méliès by stealing his masterpiece, the first Sci-Fi, filmed in 1902, Le Voyage dans la lune, and playing it in theaters, claiming the film as Edison’s own invention. That’s real piracy, not the laughable stereotype of greasy nerd somehow being able to influence Avatar’s nearly $3b (three billion dollar) success. Edison is actually indirectly responsible for depriving all cinematographers of today and of the future, since most of the 500 Méliès’s films had to be either burned or recycled. It’s not the single negative impact due to the obsession of the powerful, as history is littered with high profile cases like War of the Currents. And there are positive aspects of this film stealing ordeal. It showed the potential of this kind of cinematography.
Space travel to the Moon does not need public funding. Public funding was needed back in the day of the space travel infancy. But not today. At the same time, it is not cheap or safe enough for a life changing trip of your next multi millionaire tourist. We need another step in between. And that step is James Cameron.
James Cameron has clearly shown his ambition, and is ripe for a risk taking opportunity. The aspects of the final work will be solely in Cameron’s hands, and no one will be left disappointed.
I can think of too many positive impacts of Cameron filming on the Moon. Way too many to even start writing names of the summaries of the chapters of the topics. So just imagine a moment, when a modern movie, filmed at the Moon, a Cameron’s film, is played in a theater. Wouldn’t you go?