Is it really true that astronauts actually have to pay for pillows and blankets during space-flights as shown in Ad Astra?

I would rather say it sounds like paying for drinking water or maybe at best for chocolates in corporate/IT firm, when astronauts are being informed, they have to pay for pillows and blankets.

Pillows and blankets are basic amenities and generally the astronauts need those to protect them from apparent low temperatures due to cooling systems in the shuttle. And even if everything provided to astronaut needs thorough medical cleansing, those items could still be re-used for other astronauts too.

Then why do the astronauts have to pay (to mention, a pretty decent amount of ~100$) for those things?

  • That is a trivia about the film. Also Why would you need pillow if there is no gravity to make you lay on it? Aug 18 '20 at 14:19
  • You're to the point about pillow, but what about blankets ? They're really necessary for keeping body warm. It maybe trivia, but makes people wonder about the reality, so it kinda sounds important to have this clarified with facts.
    – Vicky Dev
    Aug 18 '20 at 14:23
  • The problem in space is that things get too hot. That's why the space shuttles are white (to reflect the light) and satelites are wrapped in thermal gold foil. So the problem is cooling down not warming up. Also they sleep in sleeping bags. otherwise the blanket would fly away. Aug 18 '20 at 14:44
  • Not sure why this is even being questioned, after all, today's airlines make us pay for leg room, wifi, headphones, blankets, etc. etc. etc.
    – CGCampbell
    Aug 19 '20 at 0:48

I think you've entirely missed the point of the scene. It's trying to convey that in near future, space travel has become monetized; that, like most things on Earth, the interests of megacompanies are now dictating the rules of space travel, as opposed to the more selfless goal of prioneering science and technology. Note that it was meant to be a "commercial" flight to the moon, implying that perhaps private firms now fly rich people to space, with zero interest in scientific advancement and merely monetary benefit.

Broadly speaking, as commentary on the consumerist culture, sci-fi stories commonly tell of scientific achievements we dream about resulting in Mega-Corps finding extra means of controlling people and gaining power and money. In this example, we often dream of colonizing the moon or advancing so far in technology as to make space travel affordable to more people than just governments and Musk.

One possible outcome, if we were to achieve cheap space travel, is an advert-overloaded future (warning: TVTropes link) where private firms have made travelling to the moon only slightly less comfortable than travelling by plane. One possible source of revenue for such companies would be extra premium items the passengers can purchase. Soft pillows are not necessary for space travel — chairs can be redesigned if there are significant effects on the astronauts' performance — and they might be one such item.

  • Personally I think a future where private firms have made traveling to the moon only slightly less comfortable than traveling by plane sounds pretty awesome.
    – tbrookside
    Aug 19 '20 at 21:53
  • And that's precisely why it works @tbrookside. We often justify scientific endeavors with the achievable tangible human comfort; why spend billions trying to fly to barren planets and moons we could have observed with a huge magnifying glass? Because we think it's eventually going to make travelling to the moon feasible, among other things. Yet there's something subtler being lost if this amazing feat was achieved merely to have moon burgers and deeper tans . . .
    – M.A.R.
    Aug 20 '20 at 1:33
  • The film seems a little schizophrenic on this score, since it asks us to share Roy's disdain for the way the Moon has been turned into a drab commercial airport while also having as its central theme the notion that the ideal of space exploration as something that rises above our petty human concerns devalues our genuine lives in a way that is ultimately pernicious. Roy still sees through his father's eyes at that point in the film, and in the end the film sees his father as wrong.
    – tbrookside
    Aug 20 '20 at 12:30

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .