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Pass the popcorn as we pick apart the gas inaccuracies in your favourite movies

Analox at the movies: Reviewing the gas inaccuracies in Prometheus

Movies are always a talking point at Analox, whether it’s about the latest release at the cinema, or a classic shown on TV. In December this was a particularly hot topic, after the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

I am probably one of the few people in the office who still hasn’t seen it, but from the amount of reviews I’ve heard from colleagues I feel like I could recite the whole film backwards.  

Our passion for films reached a peak recently, when we discovered that someone from the R&D team had not watched Blade Runner.

This was highlighted as an apparent company critical issue, so to rectify this, we have now set up a DVD lending library to give staff the opportunity to borrow films that are classed as ‘essential viewing’, the first one of course being Blade Runner.

I personally would suggest Shaun of the Dead, the first film in the Cornetto trilogy, as it seamlessly blends horror with British humour to make a witty scary zombie film that was possibly the first romzomcom.

Now as Analox is a manufacturer of gas sensors and analysers, you may be wondering why we’re talking about movies.

There is a very good reason for this, after one of our colleagues noticed a huge flaw in the Alien prequel Prometheus.

Prometheus is set in the year 2093, and focuses on a team of scientific explorers who journey to the moon of LV-223 located 34.6 light years from Earth, to find the answers to humanity’s origins.

When the crew arrive on the distant world, one of them asks what the moon’s atmosphere is.

The reply is 71% nitrogen (N), 21% oxygen (O2) and traces of argon (Ar) gas. They liken it to the Earth’s atmosphere, until it’s pointed out that carbon dioxide (CO2) is over 3%.

This is a high level of CO2 compared to what is found on Earth, which is 0.04%, however they then claim that if they were exposed to the atmosphere on the moon without a protective suit they would be dead in two minutes.

This is inaccurate, as a concentration of 3% of CO2 causes a weakly narcotic effect on the human body, resulting in deeper breathing, reduced hearing, headaches and an increase in blood pressure and pulse rate.

 OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) set an exposure limit of 3% CO2 in the workplace over a 10-minute period, meaning that it can be tolerated at this level for a short period of time.

If the concentration of CO2 on LV-223 was above 10%, the film would be more believable, as this level of exposure will cause unconsciousness in less than one minute, and if no prompt action is taken, this will eventually result in death.

A direct sequel to Prometheus is currently being filmed called Alien: Covenant, and is the second part of a planned trilogy of films. The film is scheduled to be released in 2017, so hopefully this gives the cast and crew plenty of time to grasp a clear understanding of how different levels of gas can affect the human body.

If you require technical advice on atmospheric gases for either film or television, contact us, to see how we can offer our expertise on this subject to ensure it is portrayed accurately in your production.

p.s. Did you know that if you follow the Analox Blog from 1 June to 31 July, you could win £50 of Amazon vouchers? 

Author: Araminta Hartley, Content Writer

Founded in 1981, Analox Sensor Technology provides niche and custom gas detection solutions to industries including beverage and fast food, commercial diving and laboratories. Analox has over 325 years of collective, specialist electronics and software engineering expertise, as well as a worldwide distributor network. Contact us to see how we can provide expert gas monitoring solutions and help you achieve your goals.

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