Samantha Cristoforetti in tank top and culotte challenges Sandra Bullock: “How do you keep your hair in place in the movie Gravity?” The regret of astronaut Scott Kelly


Samantha Cristoforetti in tank top and culotte challenges Sandra Bullock: “How do you keep your hair in place in the movie Gravity?”  The regret of astronaut Scott Kelly
Written by aquitodovale

Samantha Cristoforetti in culottes and undershirt to imitate Sandra Bullock in Gravity, indeed, to unmask the inconsistencies of Alfonso Cuaròn’s cult film «magnificent in graphics, unreal in respect of reality and the laws of physics».

What a blast from the near past of the history of cinema and life on the International Space Station. And there is also the regret of one of the axes of NASA astronauts behind the “duet” that has been traveling on Twitter for a few hours, revealing a not bad sketch from the not yet known ISS archive. Scott Kelly regrets not having photographed in time the Italian astronaut who was deliberately floating in déshabillé on the space station after finishing a work shift.

A step back after remembering that Samantha Cristoforetti has been back in orbit on the ISS for the Minerva mission for the past two months. In 2013 the film Gravity by Alfonso Cuaròn was released in which Sandra Bullock, or Dr. Ryan Stone saves her skin after a catastrophic collision that destroys the ISS causing the death of colleagues including George Clooney, or Matt Kowalsky. A spectacular film to say the least thanks to NASA which, despite the plot a tad jettatorio, offers unpublished footage in very high definition as well as the exact copy of the station that astronauts use to train.

Samantha Cristoforetti and Gravity: “Beautiful but it’s not real”

In that year Samantha Cristoforetti, selected in 2009 by the European Space Agency (Together with Luca Parmitano) had learned that the following year it would finally take off for space, the dream that became reality as it happens for an infinitely small percentage of dreamers.

The fact is that the thirty, while struggling with training, goes to see Gravity in a room in Cologne. And then he writes in his diary on the ESA website a detailed, articulated, motivated and compelling slating from a technical point of view: that is, the film is beautiful and exciting and it is highly recommended to go and see it, but it is completely unreal (under the you can read). She writes the engineer Samantha Cristoforetti very well, as it will later be discovered during her mission in 2014/2015 and then by reading her Diary of an astronaut apprentice, a best seller also in the USA and Germany. The messenger publishes an excerpt of that review on October 14, 2013 in the pages dedicated to film criticism. An article that is taken up a lot, even if we are not yet in the current exasperated times of social media that relaunch everything.

Samantha’s Tweet

Now it turns out that in the Futura mission between 2014 and 2015 Samantha Cristoforetti and her colleagues devised a gag to demonstrate one of the inconsistencies of the film Gravity. “Dear Doctor Stone – she writes in her thirties in a tweet today – A quick question: how did you manage to keep her hair so tidy (while she floats on the ISS, ed)? I ask for a friend”. Yep, no matter how accurate the “tricks” on set could not hold Bullock’s hair up like her body made floating in midair hanging from ropes made invisible in post production. And the scene loses its realism.

The sight of that 2015 photo triggered regret in Scott Kelly (twin of the equally astronaut Mark) who spent a month and a half with the first (and so far only) Italian astronaut: “One of my biggest regrets – he always tweets today – in my career as an astronaut (which is exterminated, 520 days and 10 hours, record for the United States, ed) is to have seen the film Gravity on an ISS screen and not been fast enough to photograph Samantha at the same time as it floated in front of me. What a disappointment, here is the proof of that failure (see in the tweet the photo of the ISS module deserted under the screen on which Bullock is passing, ed), but now everything is ok ».

“Cristoforetti” hair on Tik Tok

A show, actually that photo of Cristoforetti that mimics the American actress, also because, in addition to the educational purposes always included in the activities of the ESA astronaut, as shown by her videos that are popular on TikTok, it brings back to the fashion of “Cristoforetti hair“, or rather to the hair that fluctuates: during the first mission there were hairdressers who heard their customers ask for the” Cristoforetti “hairstyle. They too, despite gels and other artifices, failed like Cuaròn.

More recently, in 2021, the Italian astronaut revealed on the occasion of the online UltraPop Festival that she had risked going crazy because while watching Gravity at the cinema she had escaped laughing several times even during the most dramatic phases of the film because, beyond the perfect reconstruction of the environments, there was not a scene that was realistic from the point of view of reality, as he had written in his 2013 review which at this point must be reread.

Paolo Ricci Bitti

Scott Kelly is second from left

The review of Gravity by Samantha Cristoforetti (article published in Messaggero on 14 August 2013)

From Sandra Bullock’s panties-culottes with micro-vest to George Clooney’s jet-backpack, from unlikely gravitational currents to “inverted” hatches in space stations.

Astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti unmasks one by one all the sensational inconsistencies of the film “Gravity” but concludes her review with a piece of advice: “Go and see it: it’s wonderful!” More: “You will inevitably be moved by the aesthetic beauty of the film,” reads her diary online on the European Space Agency website, which day after day gathers more and more visitors, as well as her Twitter and Facebook accounts. Logical: the pilot captain who grew up in the mountains of Trentino next year will become the first Italian to travel in orbit and how can you miss the story of a real astronaut about the astronauts-actors in the film by Alfonso Cuarón, awarded with a waterfall of stars from the critics and with the rapid ascent of the box office? The film that he recovered from the hard disk that we have in our hearts many of the files of 2001 A Space Odyssey?

Paolo Ricci Bitti


Like the most consumed of critics, Cristoforetti attacks the web-review in 16 points with a series of compliments: “The reproduction of the hardware (of the spacecraft and their interiors, ed) is incredibly accurate and the film is an excellent one. opportunity to visit the machines of humanity in space: from the Hubble telescope, to the International Station (ISS) at the Sojuz. So, thanks also to 3D, you go to the cinema and when you go out you look at the sky and think that all those things really exist in the earth’s orbit. And let that thought go deep. “

“And now, okay, here’s what you really want to know,” the astronaut urges. «The film is not realistic due to a series of physical impossibilities. Flying from Hubble to ISS with the jetpack? Come on, they’re in different orbits: spaced altitudes, different orbital speeds, staggered planes. The calculations for off-plane orbital transfers can give you a headache: there is nothing intuitive and a lot of propellant is needed, a mini backpack with a few minutes of autonomy is not enough. Not to mention moving around using a … fire extinguisher: in reality the advertisement that said: power is nothing without control is true. And the geostationary communications satellites are in orbit at a height of 36 thousand km and cannot be shot down by debris flying in low earth orbit ».

Then there is the most dramatic moment of the film: it is when the veteran commander George Clooney-Matt Kowalsky looks for the last time in the eyes of the specialist (and, as usual, amazing) Sandra Bullock-Ryan Stone and commits suicide by unhooking himself from it. to give her a chance of survival. Only a marvel like Clooney could be able to give us so many chills with those looks barely guessed from behind the space helmet. Epperò explains Samantha: “It is, yes, of great emotional impact to see him floating away in the infinite black of space under the spell of some magical force but, er, in reality, nothing would have happened, Clooney-Kowalsky would have continued to float while remaining just there”.

In space, the movements of the astronauts around the stations occur at very low speed, without bouncing around like rugby balls.


Made spending 80 million dollars and also using amazing films provided (much or a little superstitiously, you do) by Nasa itself, the film “patch” in the reproduction of one of the most important parts of the stations: the airlock hatches (airlocks, ed). «Doctor Stone – writes the astronaut of the European Space Agency – seems easily able to break into any spacecraft thanks to the hatches that open outwards. There are actually no handles outside and the hatches open inward, otherwise they wouldn’t be very safe, huh? And before opening them, the airlock must be depressurized, otherwise it would be very difficult to operate ». The evolutions of the astronauts in the memorable 13-minute opening scene also seemed a bit too casual: «From Cirque du Soleil: unfortunately the spacesuits are very rigid with metal knots that constrain the movements. And the field of vision is limited ». A limit, that of the visibility of the helmet, which recalls the dramatic inconvenience (this true, very true) that occurred on July 16 to Luca Parmitano, who found his helmet invaded by the liquid of the undersuit during a space walk.


Right, the clothing: «Where I would really like to set the record straight – Cristoforetti writes – is in the underwear department. The tank top and shorts worn by Bullock are, well, a surprising statement on astronaut “fashion”: actually, during space “walks” you wear very old-fashioned, but much more protective long-sleeved underwear, and a thermal undersuit that it is a shirt with about 100 meters of tubes that are used to maintain body temperature while outside it goes from plus one hundred degrees to minus 120 ». Here, of all the inconsistencies, this one we really don’t feel like condemning it. And then Sigourney Weaver-Ellen Ripley herself had accustomed us to this skimpy outfit under the spacesuit in Alien. Even lighter, let’s say non-existent, many years earlier, was the clothing of Jane Fonda-Barbarella who stripped off her helmet and silver overalls in the unforgettable opening of Roger Vadim’s film.


In the meantime, seeing Gravity, we understand why Samantha Cristoforetti added Chinese to the five languages ​​(including Russian) she already spoke: she doesn’t want to find herself randomly typing the texts of the spaceship “Made in China”, relying on the Ambarambà Cicci Coccò count. Yet, even if it will never end “lost in translation”, the pilot captain of the Air Force is a girl of few words. Small physique, eyes and (short) brown hair, very tough, but, at least so far, very reserved: that’s why the freshness of her online review of the film reveals new sides of her personality.

(article dated 14 October 2013)


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