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Last night I watched Moon and it struck me that the gravity seemed to change depending on Sam's location:

  • On the Moon's surface, gravity seemed to be as expected, as evidenced by Sam's slow movement.
  • Inside the base, the gravity was just like on Earth. Was there some kind of "gravity generation device" like most "soft" sci-fi, eg Star Trek?
  • Most surprising, to me, was that the gravity even seemed Earth-like inside the lunar rovers! Was that just a production error?

I ask because I've read that Moon was intended to be hard sci-fi but this was (to me) an obvious failing.

Was this a production error or was there an in-universe explanation?

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It seems that the film's Director was well aware of the issue but apparently decided to ignore it for the sake of story-telling (and presumably also for budgetary reasons).

In an interview for EMPIRE, he unequivocally shows that this was a consideration;

Interviewer: And is it true that you had a screening for Buzz Aldrin?

Duncan Jones: Well, I gave him a copy of the film. In fact, there's been three astronauts who've seen it, one of whom – Buzz – who’s been on the Moon, and it's been wonderful to hear that they appreciate the film. Obviously, they’re very much aware that elements in it aren’t scientifically correct - the base is not one sixth of the Earth’s gravity, for instance - but they're very forgiving.

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Because low-G scenes set indoors are difficult to film and look stupid, Hollywood has evolved the convention that a breathable atmosphere provides Earth-normal gravity as a side effect, and you only experience low-G when you're out in the vacuum. It's obviously scientifically wrong, but you'll find very few films that don't use it, even such bastions of hard SF as 2001: A Space Odyssey (although Kubrick did have the excuse that no one actually knew how people move in lunar gravity at the time he was filming).

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    actually, the station in space odyssey rotates, and When I watched it I assumed the gravity was caused by that force. idk if the rotation is fast enough though. – sam boosalis Dec 17 '14 at 3:19
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    @samboosalis The space station scenes in 2001 are fine; it's the indoor scenes on the Moon that are wrong. – Mike Scott Dec 17 '14 at 6:57
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    Filmmakers could easily solve this problem without having to simulate low gravity in indoor scenes, just by having moonbases shown to be ring-shaped in exterior shots--then viewers who care about such things would be free to imagine the rooms inside the base are mounted on a monorail or something so they can travel in circles. The centrifugal force can provide artificial gravity just as easily on the surface of the moon (or any other low-gravity body) as in a space station, you just have to have the floors at an angle so the sum of real + artificial gravity is a vector orthogonal to the floor. – Hypnosifl Mar 6 '16 at 2:24
  • A spinning moon base would have 1g pulling you "down" but 1/6 g constantly pulling you 90 degrees sideways. You've two different vectors acting on you. You could possibly compensate by angling the floor to be perpendicular to the sum of the forces, but I'm not sure how this would feel – Binary Worrier Sep 29 '17 at 11:46

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