The Real Battle over Los Angeles

This past weekend I finally got around to seeing Battle: Los Angeles. Now is the best time for a blog update. Although this movie features alien invasions and unrealistic weaponry, there was a lot of science in it that I wanted to research. Warning: spoiler alert if you want to see the movie and haven’t yet.

Basic plot of the movie: meteors all of a sudden fall from the sky into oceans but were never detected by our satellites. The meteors are actually aliens (with a very similar approach as those in War of the Worlds) who then start wiping out all humans in Santa Barbara and moving in towards LA. A small force of Marines are sent into the battle zone where the action then takes place with giant alien vs. human throw-downs.

The first piece of science that was correct in the movie was how they described the meteors falling. As they approached earth’s surface, the objects reduced speed before impact. They mentioned in the movie how this disobeys basic laws of physics, leading them to believe it was not natural substances. And of course, they turned out to not be meteors.

Once the aliens began attacking Earth, speculation began about their motive. In one scene, a scientist was being interviewed on CNN as to the purpose of killing the human race. He broke it down to the fact that our planet is the only in our solar system with liquid H²0. For many years, that has been correct. Some water exists on other planets, but not in the form of liquid like we have in our oceans and rivers now. There are some hot planets, like Mercury and Venus, and gas planets, like Jupiter and Mars, but these contain water in the form of vapors because they’re atmospheres are too hot. Looking more into it, however, shows this to not necessarily be correct anymore. In the past decade, scientists have found possible water under the surface of Mars. Although it is frozen now, research suggests it was once an ocean only covered later. There’s a possibility that water, in liquid form, could exist there again if Mars warms enough to expose the ice. Also, circling Jupiter, the moon Europa is believed to have some form of “warm ice” or liquid water. The surface of the moon, although covered in ice, is cracked and separated. This shows that there is possibly water underneath the ice causes these caps to move. So although now Earth seems to be the only proof of liquid water on a planet in this solar system, there is great potential that water exists elsewhere and has not yet been discovered.

One skeptical part of the movie is that it is loosely based on an actual event over Los Angeles on February 24, 1942. An object appeared over the city late at night and hovered there for some time. The army opened fire on the craft for an hour without being able to bring whatever the object was down. It eventually disappeared and the story was covered up the next day as a weather balloon. Some of the videos show spotlights on the object and then the negatives have been broken down to see the lights refracting from something there. No one can truly be certain if that really was an alien UFO as portrayed in the movie but it cannot be denied that the army shot at something they felt was a threat.

Overall, I rather enjoyed the movie. It made me look up and research science I had never heard of before. I strongly suggest it to anyone in the class looking for a fairly entertaining modern sci-fi film.

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