Imaginary Stories: Astronauts, Spaceports and After Earth


“Anything you dream is fiction,” Ray Bradbury wisely put it, “and anything you accomplish is science. The whole history of mankind is nothing but science fiction.”

There are several entertainment journalists packed into a nine-seat helicopter taking off from a tiny airport in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico and none of us can stop humming the Jurassic Park theme. We’ll be in the air for about 20 minutes, traveling across a desert so empty that it’s hard to tell exactly how far we are from the ground.

We’re going to a spaceport. A an actual, bonafide, real world spaceport. While it’s hard for me to even think the word “Spaceport” without adding, “You’ll never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy,” Spaceport America is anything but. Billed as “the world’s first purpose-built commercial spaceport,” the sleek, futuristic base of operations has already successfully sent off a dozen suborbital missions and will soon become the launching point for Virgin Galactic’s commercial spaceflights. Today, however, it’s hosting the press junket for director M. Night Shyamalan’s After Earth.

Although you may have already caught’s interviews with Will and Jaden Smith earlier this week, the junket also provided the unique opportunity to speak with former NASA astronaut Garrett Reisman about the science fact regarding humanity’s future in outer space.

Reisman, who has logged more than 100 hours in outer space in his former role as a NASA engineer, now works for SpaceX, a private aerospace company based out of California. Like a lot of people in his line of work, Reisman credits science fiction as one of the driving forces behind his profession. Speaking with him in the hangar of Spaceport America, it’s easy to appreciate what is sometimes a very fine line between fiction and reality.

Check out my conversation with Reisman in the player below and catch After Earth in theaters now.

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Weekend: Sep. 26, 2019, Sep. 29, 2019

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