This Amazing Short Film Will Put You In Outer Space

Wanderers, a short film by Erik Wernquist

Sometimes just reveling in space imagery is enough. To go along for the ride and imagine visiting  the fantastic places our spaceships have traveled. Places we hope our descendants will see up close with their own eyes.

This shot shows a person floating just above the plane of Saturn’s rings. The rings themselves are seen here only as a mess of tumbling blocks of ice, as the camera is in the middle of them, but their full shape is hinted in the shadow they cast on the northern hemisphere of Saturn, far in the distance. From the movie “Wanderers” / Erik Wernquist

This beautiful film by Erik Wernquist with words by the late Carl Sagan touch our imaginations. What is it about Sagan’s voice? Honestly, he could read the ingredients off a ketchup bottle and make us think deep thoughts.

Wernquist describes his work this way: “The locations depicted in the film are digital recreations of actual places in the solar system, built from real photos and map data where available. Without any apparent story, other than what you may fill in by yourself, the idea with the film is primarily to show a glimpse of the fantastic and beautiful nature that surrounds us on our neighboring worlds – and above all, how it might appear to us if we were there.”

This scene shows a group of people hiking across the icy plains of Jupiter’s moon Europa. Jupiter itself as well as Io are seen beyond the horizon. The hike takes place on the night side of Europa, so the landscape is lit entirely by reflected sunlight off Jupiter (and to a small extent off Io). From “Wanderers” / Erik Wernquist

It’s the human presence woven into striking images sent back by unmanned spacecraft that makes Wernquist’s work such a pleasure to watch. For the first time, I really got a sense of how it might feel to float among the icebergs that compose Saturn’s rings. The ride on the space elevator, a technology in its infancy, was fun, too. And who wouldn’t don a pair of bat wings and swoop through Titan’s orange air?

License was taken in a few scenes, but the future has always been a place where we imagine the impossible.

For more details and images featuring individual scenes in the movie, check out Erik’s gallery.

10 Responses

  1. Eddie

    I loved this. I wish the film would go on and on. The universe is such an amazing place. I went to the movies and saw “Interstellar” over the weekend. It’s a good movie that I highly recommend. Thanks Bob for what you’re doing here with this blog. I look forward to visiting it daily.

    1. astrobob

      Thanks Eddie. That’s just how I felt. Too short! I saw Interstellar last weekend and loved the wormhole and the icy clouds on that one planet.

      1. Richard Keen

        My old windows won’t open the movie, but I love the stills you posted. Especially of the ice fishermen on Europa. But they’d better watch out – those terraforming dolphins down there might catch the fishermen instead!

        1. astrobob

          Richard,
          That’s too bad you can’t see it. Did you click the link to the site? There are more good-sized stills there from the movie.

  2. wayne

    Beautiful short film. When is part 2 commuting out,and part 3 and 4 and so on. I could watch them for hours. Thanks loads

  3. Edward M. Boll

    If my calculations are right, it will be exactly 1000 days from this Christmas Day till the Aug. 21, 2017 total solar eclipse. This one will rival the 1918 eclipse covering the USA from coast to coast.

  4. Tony THIEL

    Thought it was great. Eep up the great work. Very educational. I also. Have an astronomy minor. I know you are very ugh higher than that but this helps me to enjoy your show

    1. astrobob

      Hi Tony – Glad you enjoyed it. It’s one of those videos where even if you have a minor in Civil War studies, you’re going to be touched.

  5. Troy

    Really awesome. It is important to go to the gallery, explains the video really well. I especially respect how they wanted the images to be as accurate as possible.

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