The Moon in the movie »Gravity«


The American-British space thriller »Gravity« of 2013, offers next to its extraordinary suspenseful action, breathtaking images of space that show apart from the Earth and the Sun also the Moon. The director of the movie is Alfonso Cuarón (who also directed Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban). The movie is commercially very successful and has already brought in the multiple of its production cost, shortly after its release.

»Gravity« is about a space mission, where scientist Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) is supposed to perform repairs on the Hubble Space Telescope with the aid of the experienced astronaut Matt Kowalski (George Clooney). The situation gets out of control when a cloud of space debris hits the shuttle and projects the two astronauts into space. Consequently, they are trying to reach other space stations. Thereby, Kowalski falls behind and Dr. Stone manages eventually to return to Earth with the help of a Chinese rescue capsule.

While drifting through vacuous space, there are several crossings of the day-night-border, hence, you can see the Sun rise and set above the horizon and also the Moon, which is lit up by the sunlight. Whether it is full moon at this point in time, remains unknown.


The Moon can be recognized clearly in the scenes, when Kowalski and Dr. Stone meet again after the first collision with space debris, and where they initially are heading for the shuttle and later the ISS. The Moon can be seen in many parts, each for several seconds in the background: from 17:16 min., 18:38 min., 21:32 min., 21:45 min., 23:25 min. and 23:55 min.


The movie is a combination of live-action shoot and computer animation. Preparations were very elaborate, due to the technologies that had to be developed for portraying the movements in microgravity. Filming in space suits and tight spaces was a big challenge for the team and actors. The timing and the positions were set in stone before the shooting began – down to the last second and down to the last millimeter. »Gravity« received outstanding critics, especially for the very detailed consideration of the law of physics and equipment, and also for the directing and acting performance. The movie received numerous nominations and awards, amongst them 7 Oscars in 2014 (best director, film editing, cinematography, visual effects, music score, sound editing and mixing).

When you actually do get a space to take a breather in between, the space images relay an almost meditative stillness. Up until the next collision with space debris, which by the way, does not only pose a problem in the movie: more than 600,000 pieces of space junk are orbiting our Earth …

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