I am trying to remember the name of a science fiction either movie or episode of a show like Black Mirror.

The scenario starts where a group of astronauts is scheduled to blast off from Earth and nuclear war starts. They decide to take off anyway and then travel through space. One astronaut realizes the whole thing must be a simulation, due to a type of frost that is supposed to develop on the pipes in deep space, but does not. The rest continue until finally they touch down and make first contact.

What makes the movie memorable is the final scene where aliens are discussing that, yes, the humans have made it through the great filter to interstellar space travel, so they are worth making contact with. But also, the guy who realized he was in a simulation is sitting there terrified. He assumed it was a simulation and he was still on Earth. . . not that it was a simulation by another advanced species.

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    Hi, welcome to the site. In roughly which year or decade did you watch this? May 31, 2022 at 3:02

1 Answer 1


This sounds like the Six Degrees of Freedom episode of the relaunched version of The Twilight Zone, broadcast in 2019.

As in the question, the episode begins with a 5-person group of astronauts about to launch on a mission to Mars. Just before lift-off they receive a message "Global nuclear war has just begun", but vote to launch anyway.

During the trip to Mars the astronauts begin to bicker, and then have to deal with the crisis of a solar flare. From the AVclub's summary:

Jerry tells his colleagues not to worry, because he’s crunched the numbers, and he’s absolutely certain that they’re not actually in any danger. He thinks that they’ve been unwittingly shunted into a “six degrees of freedom”-style simulator, capable of convincing them that they’re moving through space. He believes there was no nuclear attack; and he knows all this because whomever is controlling this experiment has failed to adjust for some minor details, involving microscopic build-up in the plumbing.

To prove that he is right, he opens an airlock and steps outside, but as far as the rest of the crew can see, he simply dies, as expected in space.

The craft eventually lands successfully on Mars, but,

right before the closing credits, we see Jerry, shivering and naked in some kind of blank void, overhearing aliens talking about the Bradbury Heavy’s [the spaceship] impressive achievement. It turns out he was right—sort of. They were being monitored... but not by Earth scientists. It was another species altogether, watching to see what would happen, and judging our planet accordingly.

The aliens' comments include the line recalled by the OP "They have exceeded our expectations and passed through the Great Filter".

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