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Space movies try for NASA's blessing

Space movies try for NASA’s blessing–The agency’s new Space Act Agreement has a role in ”Mission to Mars” and upcoming films

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With Mission to Mars, NASA takes one giant leap into Hollywood. The just-released Tim Robbins flick was one of the first shot under the agency’s new Space Act Agreement for film and TV, which lets moviemakers use the Kennedy Space Center, shoot the NASA logo, and get advice from bona fide astronauts. That is, as long as the script is NASA-approved. Which brings us to rival Mars movie Red Planet, with Val Kilmer, due in November. NASA aborted its cooperation with Planet because ”in the script, two astronauts get into a conflict with each other that’s pretty physical,” says Planet producer Mark Canton. ”[NASA] didn’t like that, so they pulled back.” A NASA spokeswoman declines comment. ”We’re not trying to dictate story lines,” she insists, noting the agency can participate only in ”feasible fiction.” Meanwhile Clint Eastwood‘s Space Cowboys (due in August) won NASA’s blessing but ran afoul of the Air Force. So the film’s writers say they jettisoned a military conspiracy for a Russian plot; the Air Force could not be reached for comment. In space, no one can hear you split hairs.