Oxygen production is vital for manned long-term space flight. Machines can break down, as the crew of the International Space Station knows too well, which could be absolutely devastating to a mission lasting several years and travelling millions of kilometres away from Earth. Ideally, a long-term mission should have a natural, unmechanical way of replenishing its oxygen supplies.
NASA has already started doing research into space gardens and the Biosphere 2 experiment, conducted in the early 90s, sought to discover whether a completely closed environment could be created to sustain several people for many years.
In the film, the Icraus spaceship has the Oxygen Garden for their O2 replenishment. The set has only just been finished and they’ve done one day of filming on it. Michelle Yeoh will definitely be doing more filming there as her character, Corazon, is the biologist in charge of the Oxygen Garden.
It’s one of the most interesting sets here as the cold, clean ’spaceshipness’ is juxtaposed with the wild, dirty nature- this is the only set where there is anything ‘green’. All of the plants you see on the set are real, there’s not one plastic fern in there at all. When you walk in you are immediately struck by how the set smells.
It smells alive.