I know Elysium (2013) happens more than a century from now, but really, how plausible is it to:

  • Survive a full dose of nuclear radiation

  • Store data in brains

  • Shoot a missile from Earth out of a moderately-sized rocket launcher and hit a ship flying in space

  • Go into a machine that is able to fully heal any diseases, even terminal ones, in a matter of seconds

  • Reconstruct someone's face perfectly using said machine, including facial hair

I remember there were others I think were absurd, but this is what I remember for now.

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    Really none of this is realistic, except the "full dose of nuclear radiation" - as what does "full dose" mean? He was exposed enough to die of radiation sickness on only a few days.
    – iandotkelly
    Commented Oct 6, 2013 at 21:56
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    FYI - I did downvote the question as it seems to be more of a comment on the movie itself rather than a serious question. I agree with you however - it was a terrible movie and implausible beyond belief.
    – iandotkelly
    Commented Oct 6, 2013 at 21:57
  • @iandotkelly Meh, what did you expect? A plausible view at our future? While the overall story in itself had some flaws, those little points mentioned in the question are just too unimportant to be of any significance in such a summer blockbuster. Would Kruger have his beard back after the goddamn machine reconstructs him? Who the hell cares? Had those "implausibilities" been embedded in an overall more original and thought out story, there wouldn't be any problem with this movie (yet on the other hand there would in turn be more reason to question there existence in the first place).
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Commented Oct 6, 2013 at 23:32
  • @ChristianRau - I found District 9 whilst clearly contains "future tech" that you shouldn't bother with trying to deconstruct - that Elysium was just too much.
    – iandotkelly
    Commented Oct 7, 2013 at 1:52
  • I liked it, because it at least had a good message under the guise of BIG DUMB ACTION MOVIE. I compare it to most sci-fi action flicks as opposed to science documentaries. Me: I liked the message. My dad: I liked the 'splosions. Commented Feb 19, 2014 at 9:54

2 Answers 2


I'd say that some of it might be theoretically possible, but it's an awful stretch.

  • Survive a full dose of nuclear radiation

    iandotkelly ♦ has answered that in the comments. However, I do have a problem imagining a "cure" that can keep such a person working for the next few days and then he's supposed to just drop dead. Whole of the body decays, and while some zombificating technology might keep the body moving, the brain decays as well. If the cure cas put a stop to that, it should be able to do it permanently. If not, person would soon become delusional, or faint, or something... but would not be fit to work with the heavy machinery.

  • Store data in brains

    Since we use whole of our brains, I'd say that such meddling with it would necessarily affect some (or even most) of its usual functionality. I'd allow it as a distant possibility as I don't know much about brain, but I really see no way to avoid damaging the brain (or, at least, significantly changing the person's personality).

    Maybe the trick is that John Carlyle is a corrupt CEO, so he doesn't use most of his brain? ;-)

    But why would simple reading of the data destroy the brain, when writing to it didn't do anything? That's just pure nonsense, IMO.

  • Shoot a missile from Earth out of a moderately-sized rocket launcher and hit a ship flying in space

    You'd have to calculate how much energy would such a rocket need. It is certainly not nearly possible with today's fuels. Might it be theoretically possible to create such fuel, I'm not sure.

  • A machine that is able to fully heal any diseases, even terminal ones, in a matter of seconds

    Well, in theory, why not? You'd need to replace bad cells, maybe edit genes,... avoid altering personality,... Time is not important, IMO. If it is possible to do it, then it is probably possible to do it quickly. In theory, at least.

    However, notice that we still use stitches to close wounds, i.e., we rely on body healing itself, while we just help. So, as far as I know, there is no technology capable of regrowing anything (although, we do know how to grow some organs in labs).

  • Reconstruct someone's face perfectly using said machine, including facial hair

    If you can do what is mentioned in the previous point, and you know how to read the DNA and decypher its tiniest details, you should be able to reconstruct the face. As for facial hair (or, better, haircut), you'd need a "barber" function in that machine, along with some info on what kind of haircut the person had before.

    But, the guy surviving with the hole where his face and a good part of the brain were... that has nothing to do with the technology, and is absurd no matter how technically advanced the society becomes.

I wouldn't suggest watching Elysium a bit more seriously than a popcorn action flick.

  • Conclusion: As I had impulsively guessed, Extremely Implausible, So I am accepting this answer.
    – Fikko3107
    Commented Oct 7, 2013 at 2:28
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    I am not a fan of this question but this answer is good enough to answer it. +1.
    – Ankit Sharma
    Commented Oct 7, 2013 at 5:38
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    @AnkitSharma ... I agree with you. I mean, how plausible is most SciFi? Isn't this why we have SciFi and fiction in the first place? Commented Oct 7, 2013 at 15:55

I think that a healing machine like that in Elysium may very well be possible.

I think the key is that an object is a wave until it is measured. It then becomes a particle only after it is measured.

If there was a way to measure a wave into a particle, it maybe possible to use an MRI type machine to create matter in the shape you wanted it.

For example turning a cancer cell into a wave then back into a healthy cell.

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