Escape From Jupiter

When I was growing up, the BBC aired quite a few live-action children's TV shows from Australia. They included shows such as Round The Twist, The Girl from Tomorrow, and Spellbinder. They often involved science fiction plot lines and had both girls and boys being brave/clever.

One show that seemed to have a particularly realistic portrayal of humans living in the solar system was 1994 drama Escape From Jupiter. It was set on a frontier mining colony on Jupiter's volcanic moon Io. After a deep drill accidentally broke into a massive lava chamber, the colony was threatened with destruction so the colonists (mostly through skills of the kids as this was children's TV) escaped to a decommissioned space station orbiting the little moon.

The space station was dilapidated - a floating rust bucket - but had an amazing set of solar sails that unfolded. That was definitely the first time I'd seen solar sails portrayed in fiction and I remember being quite impressed. The show also seemed to do a good job of explaining how Jupiter's gravity caused Io to be volcanic and how it made it very difficult for the colonists to escape back to Earth. The effects - particularly the animations of Jupiter and the space station - seemed pretty good for the time.

A very belated thanks to the Australian Children's Television Foundation who helped with my burgeoning interest in physics and space.

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Posted in astro blog by Stuart on Sunday 16th Oct 2011 (10:57 BST) | Permalink
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