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Space Cadets
Status: Reality TV Show
The premise of a new UK reality TV show, Space Cadets, will be to fool a group of contestants into believing they've been blasted into space. To achieve this goal the show's producers have outfitted an old airbase in the UK to look like a Russian base. As for simulating the space flight itself:

Their shuttle will be a Hollywood creation, made originally for the film Space Cowboys. A giant custom-built screen positioned just outside the shuttle will, it is hoped, provide the illusion of a view of Earth from space including a hurricane over Mexico and a glimpse of the UK on one day when cloud cover parts... The producers will not have to worry about recreating weightlessness because they are being “sent” 62 miles (100km) to Near Space, not Deep Space, where the sensation occurs.

It's hard to imagine anyone falling for this prank, no matter how high-quality the custom-built screens outside the fake shuttle are. But it does remind me of the theory propounded by the Man Will Never Fly Society, whose members insist that mankind has never built a machine capable of flight:

Little do "plane" passengers realize that they are merely boarding Greyhound buses with wings, and that while aboard these winged buses, given the illusion of flight when cloud like scenery is moved past their windows by stagehands in a very expensive theatrical performance.
Entertainment
Posted by The Curator on Thu Nov 17, 2005
rolleyes Is there anything that TV executives won't do as a reality TV show? Although I think this one is going a bit too far.
Posted by Smerk  in  to mischief  on  Thu Nov 17, 2005  at  01:49 AM
hey, it sounds ok to me, no one is getting hurt, no beautiful islands being spoilt to host tv shows, and no d list celebs desperately trying to claw fame back into their withered hands
Posted by joeodd  on  Thu Nov 17, 2005  at  02:10 AM
Sounds a little like part of the plot of the magic christian, except that was a luxury passenger liner.
Posted by Sharruma  in  capable of finishing a coherent  on  Thu Nov 17, 2005  at  02:40 AM
it actually sounds fun, I want to try!
Posted by Yushi  on  Thu Nov 17, 2005  at  04:52 AM
The "Deep Space" thing is absurd. Weightlessness is caused by the free-fall orbit around the earth. Anyone who falls for this would have to believe some cheap tricks - when was the last time you were convinced by a ride in a simulator?
Posted by Nick  in  USA  on  Thu Nov 17, 2005  at  06:03 AM
I know it would be in bad taste, but damnit, I want to see them simulate a disaster on re-entry.
Posted by Craig  on  Thu Nov 17, 2005  at  07:21 AM
Never been on a Greyhound that made it from California to New York THAT fast. And how do they account for the driver never hitting traffic, or his brakes for that matter?? And also, NEVER been on such a spacious bus either. Or how about the fact of making it over the oceans, or is that fine Hawaiian beach all part of the illusion as well??? Lot's of holes in Man Will Never Fly Society's "propounded theory"...
Posted by Christopher in Joplin, Missouri  in  Joplin, Mo  on  Thu Nov 17, 2005  at  07:21 AM
I think this is even stupider than the stupidst concept for a reality show. Convincing someone he's on a base in Russia is easy enough, but convincing someone that he's in space, "but not the weightless part" is going to be a tough sell for even the most gullible. I see from the article that some of the "cadets" will be actors to act as spys for the producers. I suppose it'll be part of their job to help bring around the less gullible.
Posted by JoeSixpack  on  Thu Nov 17, 2005  at  08:55 AM
Didn't Dr Who do this in about 1973? Dinosaur Invasion of Earth I think!
Posted by Andy_the_C  on  Thu Nov 17, 2005  at  09:54 AM
Christopher, before you go doubting the theories of the Man Will Never Fly Society, you should realize that most of its members are ex-pilots... So wouldn't they be in a position to know the truth. wink
Posted by The Curator  in  San Diego  on  Thu Nov 17, 2005  at  10:00 AM
Uh, Christopher, the Man Will Never Fly Society is totally tongue in cheek. Most of the members are aviation related. The only thing they're serious about is having a good time with friends.

It's true purpose is revealed in its motto: "Birds fly, Men drink!"

Don't know why, but the old home state seems to be a hotbed for this kind of thing; Annual Morehead convention of the Bald is beautiful society. (Headquarters on Bald street, of course!) http://www.2camels.com/festival144.php3 ,the International Hollering contest at Spivy's Corners, which also designated itself the official greeting site for Skylab when it returned to Earth. (Unfortunately, Skylab chose the Aussie Outback for its return site instead.)

Heck, even my home town celebrates De-Rail-A-Bration, to honor those brave vandals who stole the train tracks running through downtown back in 1926! http://www.dgdc.org/derailabration.html

And this is just the short list off the top of my head!
So the moral is: If it sounds silly and came from NC, it's probably supposed to be silly!
(Kinda explains Jesse Helms, don't it?) };-)
Posted by Captain DaFt  on  Thu Nov 17, 2005  at  10:08 AM
Ok,this is what I think is wrong with the Greyhound bus theory, how come no one has ever repoted seeing these things on the road? A Greyhound bus with large wings (that looks like a plane)would be kinda hard to miss, don't you think? Oh, and Christopher, since when are planes more spacious than buses? Unless you always fly business class or first class...
Posted by Carmen  in  Vancouver  on  Thu Nov 17, 2005  at  12:15 PM
Yea and if this "theory" is true, how come you see the damn things flying in the sky all the time?!
Posted by Alun  in  Wales, UK  on  Thu Nov 17, 2005  at  02:08 PM
The weightlessness would probably be the easy part of this hoax. Like Nick says, you don't have to be in "deep space" to experience weightlessness. It can be done inside the atmosphere. If you were ever in the unfortunate situation of being in a falling elevator, you would experience zero gravity, for as long as the fall lasted.

There are at least 2 companies that provide zero gravity services. http://www.nogravity.com/home_full1.aspx is a company in Florida that has a specially modified Boeing 727 that flies in parabolic arcs and allows tourists to float around the cabin for about 30 seconds. There was even a 7-Up comercial filmed this way. Many universities conduct zero-g experiments using their services as well. Another company uses a Russian IL-76 to do the same thing. (http://www.atlasaerospace.net/eng/zgrav.htm)

In the movie Apollo 13, NASA's KC-135 "Vomit Comet" was used to film the weightless scenes. They let the film company build a movie set inside. It took about 600 parabolas to get all the footage needed. The crew and actors (Tom Hanks, Kevin Bacon, Bill Paxton) are noted for now having more time in the zero gravity simulator than any of the real astronauts.
Posted by Captain Al  in  Vancouver Island, Canada  on  Thu Nov 17, 2005  at  02:16 PM
I wonder if the show's producers are leaving themselves open to being sued for fraud or something similar by the unsuspecting "astronauts"? After all, the producers are telling the people that they are sending them into space, and then keeping them on the ground.
Posted by Accipiter  on  Thu Nov 17, 2005  at  02:31 PM
As someone else said, if you go to the "Man Will Never Fly" website, it becomes obvious after a couple of sentences on the home page that the whole thing is a (fairly humorous) tongue-in-cheek joke, perhaps a parody of those "flat earth" societies or those people who think the space program was faked. In truth, I don't think even the most confirmed conspiracy theorist could deny that flight is a reality, any more than one could deny the realities of car travel, recorded sound, or (unfortunately) "reality" television!
Posted by Charlie Richards  on  Thu Nov 17, 2005  at  05:57 PM
well, if any of you kids actually read the article, you could have skipped the whole 'simulating weightlessness' debate. The participants are being told that they are travelling 62 miles into "Near Space," where, unlike "Deep Space", weightlessness does not occur.

Personally, I cannot beleieve that they are promoting this before taping it.
Posted by katey  on  Thu Nov 17, 2005  at  08:08 PM
katey,

I will readily admit I did not read the whole article. However weightlessness can occur in "Near Space". Like I said, it can occur in a falling elevator. Scientists and astronauts regularly experience it in jet planes for training and experimentation. Conversly, near normal gravity can be experienced in "Deep Space". If you could hover 1000 miles above the earth, you would feel almost the same gravity as you would on the surface.

Your point about promoting it before taping is a valid one though.
Posted by Captain Al  in  Vancouver Island, Canada  on  Fri Nov 18, 2005  at  03:19 AM
Well, wether weightlessness really does occur in "Near Space" or not doesn't matter, because they admit that 20% of the information they're giving the "cadets" is bunk. Maybe they are to tell them that ETs are real too?

A good idea for a sequel would be to show a film of the earth exploding on the film and then 'maroon' the people on a 'strange planet' and let them start a new society.
Posted by katey  on  Fri Nov 18, 2005  at  09:18 AM
"Little do "plane" passengers realize that they are merely boarding Greyhound buses with wings, and that while aboard these winged buses, given the illusion of flight when cloud like scenery is moved past their windows by stagehands in a very expensive theatrical performance."

Hah! Tell that to the people who fall out of planes and go SPLAT.
Posted by Sakano  in  Ohio  on  Fri Nov 18, 2005  at  02:22 PM
> Well, wether weightlessness really does occur in
> "Near Space" or not doesn't matter, because they
> admit that 20% of the information they're giving
> the "cadets" is bunk.
They could very much tell the cadets as part of the bunk that the shuttle is fitted with gravity plates that generates an artificial field of gravity to keep them floating around. All space ships in SF movies have them, why not just throw it in with the bunks.

> I wonder if the show's producers are leaving
> themselves open to being sued for fraud or
> something similar by the unsuspecting
> "astronauts"?
Well, the article states that they do have quite a large sum of money lined up for the participants after the hoax ends or if the filming has to stop if the entire thing falls apart. So they probably have their asses covered (of course, 5000 quids a day - the participants would be wise to play along until the end even if they figured out the hoax, just to rake in the major moolah). You could freaking buy a nice SUV just by staying on the show for a few days.

> Yea and if this "theory" is true, how come you
> see the damn things flying in the sky all the
> time?!
Maybe it's a government cover up for some rare kind of flying fish that the military scientists created and it went wrong wink

Still, it doesn't explain for other countries. We dont have greyhound buses over here - :D . And It did actually took me to my destination in one third the time it took to get there by car.
Posted by RAMChYLD  in  Malaysia  on  Sat Nov 19, 2005  at  05:04 AM
hands up who has experienced a flight into space and knows first hand exactly what it feels like

ive experienced things that havnt felt anything like i thought they would, maybe they could put it down to that

plus they used a plane on the US version of biggest loser that causes weightlessness
Posted by fool  on  Mon Nov 21, 2005  at  01:26 AM
"Little do "plane" passengers realize that they are merely boarding Greyhound buses with wings, and that while aboard these winged buses, given the illusion of flight when cloud like scenery is moved past their windows by stagehands in a very expensive theatrical performance."

So what about the planes that hit the twin towers? Where they just an illusion? Ask the victims of that day.
Posted by Gary  on  Tue Nov 22, 2005  at  06:21 PM
Its all a big hoax on the viewers!!!

I watched the first episode last night and it is obviously a fix up to see if they can fool the public.

less than subtle hints dropped all through the program about how most people are sugesstable and that people beleive what the majority beleive.

it was so badly done its almost insulting.
Posted by Dave_uk  in  England  on  Thu Dec 08, 2005  at  05:57 AM
I reckon this is all a big joke on us - the cast are all actors who know exactly what's going on. Noone would be stupid enough to believe they could go into space after a few weeks of training surely? I know reality tv is getting weirder and weirder but I don't think channel 4 would go this far?
Posted by CLAIRE  in  London  on  Thu Dec 08, 2005  at  04:46 PM
A colleague put together http://courgette.jml.net/~jon/SpaceCadets/ which has some screencaps and reveals where some of the 'contestants' have been before (not the actors, the people who are *meant* to be real!).
Posted by Cap'n B  in  UK  on  Mon Dec 12, 2005  at  05:35 PM
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