It wouldn’t be a reach by any means to say that we’re currently living in hard times here on Earth. We were already battling the consequences of climate change — warmer oceans, unbelievably low air quality, and uncontrollable wildfires are among the developing side effects — and to make matters worse, a pandemic is spreading rapidly around the world. Concerns about the state of the Earth were exactly what caused a group of scientist to imagine a life beyond this planet in the early 90s, and fascinating documentary Spaceship Earth follows their carefully laid plans.
Filmmaker Matt Wolf takes viewers back in time to 1991, when eight scientists began dreaming up a new intergalactic world for themselves before attempting to make it into a reality. The group wanted to learn for themselves whether life outside of Earth was possible — could humans survive in the harsh conditions of other planets like Mars?
To test their hypothesis, the scientist constructed a glass vivarium in the middle of the Arizona desert, complete with its own manmade ecosystem. They called it Biosphere 2.
The story behind Spaceship Earth sounds like something straight out of a science fiction film, but it actually happened, to the surprise of its director himself. "I had no recollection of this historic experiment," said Wolf of the documentary in a statement. "It wasn’t until two years ago, that I came across a series of intriguing images of eight men and women in bright red jumpsuits, standing in front of a monumental glass pyramid."
"I assumed these images were staged for a science fiction film, but when I learned that this is in fact a real structure, and that its inventors and participants are alive, I was determined to tell their remarkable story," he continued. "These are the types of forgotten histories that inspire me as a filmmaker...Spaceship Earth is about small groups as a model for realising unprecedented projects.”
The timing for Spaceship Earth's global release couldn't be better — have you seen the news lately? The stunning documentary will be available for streaming across platforms on May 8.