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Headscratchers / Armageddon

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  • It never was addressed in the movie, but did NASA intend for Lev Andropov to go along with the team?
    • No. He was just going to refuel them, then they'd continue onward. Note how when they leave the station, the captain says they're "Heavy a cosmonaut," i.e., they have one more than they were supposed to.
    • But it still doesn't explain where he received his ACES suit, or EVA spacesuit if he wasn't intended to go along..
    • "Here at NASA, we double up on everything." Obviously they brought spares.
  • What was General Kimsey's role in the movie? Was he a joint chief of staffs, or was he the chairman?
    • It's never explicitly explained, but he appears to be part of the top brass involved with the military's joint-projects with NASA. That means he could be part of the joint chiefs of staff, but not necessarily.
  • More importantly, after landing on the asteroid, how come outside the confines of the shuttle, people quite literally walk like they're on the Moon — in amplified movements because of low gravity — but inside the shuttle, people seem to get around just fine as if they're on Earth? Has NASA secretly mastered the antigrav field at last?
    • Magnetic boots?
    • Like the guy says, maybe since the shuttles are advanced prototypes they have floors made for use with special boots. The out-of-universe reason is that one of the reasons studios like Michael Bay is that he doesn't spend a ton of money on frivolous things like doing zero-G shoots for purely conversational scenes just because it would be more accurate. Making everyone float around in the shuttle scenes would have not only made them harder to stage out, but been much more expensive. Bay already knew he was going to get slammed for tons of scientific inaccuracies (and didn't give a flip) so he did the economic and easy thing and just had everyone walk around normally during the shuttle scenes.
  • Why did the shuttles have to refuel at the space station? Shuttles leave from Earth fully loaded. Did they leave the internal fuel tanks empty or something? If they did, then how could they have enough power to dock with the station in the first place?
    • It's possible that they needed every bit of fuel they could get to do the maneuvers properly and safely escape the asteroid; what they were going to do was considerably more intensive than what a Shuttle normally gets up to, after all. Alternatively, maybe they just felt like the Russian could use some sort of human contact.
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    • Aren't the tanks used as some sort of Boost for the real shuttles? Anyway, it's more than likely that this was the case with the X-71s. They needed the extra fuel to travel to the moon, maneuver around the moon in minutes to speed up with the asteroid, land, and then when the job was done, take off.
      • They needed to refuel because most, if not all, of the fuel in the shuttles was burned up at takeoff. The X-71s are a hell of a lot tougher, and therefore heavier, than any comparable space shuttle made of tinfoil and ceramics. And in most flights into space, the overwhelming majority of the mission's fuel, percentagewise, is spent just getting off the ground.
      • They had to travel past the moon on a shuttle. The last time humans went to the moon, they had to do so in two tiny spacecraft (weighing about 45,000kg) bolted to the top of a twenty-four story rocket to go 380,000km in four days. The fastest any manmade object has ever traveled to lunar orbit was in nine hours by New Horizons, mass 478kg. In contrast, the Space Shuttle weighs 2 million kilograms and usually only has to make it to maybe 300km if it's pushing itself. Given that the tanks on the X-71s look no bigger than usual and they have to get to the moon about five minutes after leaving the station, it remains one of the few points of lucidity in the movie that they would need extra fuel from somewhere.
      • Truman said it would take them about 60 hours, or the equivalent of 2 days and a half just to get to the moon.
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    • Shuttles don't come with internal tanks, or at least not much of them. The fuel in the SR Bs and the big orange tank (burnt through the nozzles at the back of the orbiter) get you into space. After that you have a little fuel for the de-orbit burn. And of course you have whatever gases the RCS thrusters use. That's all. The Space Shuttle isn't a powered vehicle, it's a glider. So, once having used up almost all their fuel just to get into space, yes, they then needed to gas up again so that, when they tried to lift off from the asteroid itself, the engines would turn on. (It wasn't for the sling-round-the-moon burn, that's what they had the 2nd set of SR Bs for.) It's a bit depressing that they at least got this stuff plausible, when the whole rest of the movie was such crap.
    • Let's not forget that in addition to being bigger than regular shuttles, these two were each carrying a pretty big-ass vehicle, and a nuke.
    • So actually refueling at the station might make sense... but why does it have enough fuel to fill up two Space Shuttles on board in the first place?
      • It turns out to be another surprising bit of wisdom from this movie. Since it takes so much fuel just to get from the Earth's surface to Low Earth Orbit, there have been proposals for waystations there to have fuel standing by for spacecraft whose destinations are farther afield, essentially acting as orbiting gas stations. The fuel would be transported there little by little in Soyuz capsules or the equivalent in preparation for the arrival of a much bigger ship, such as the two shuttles in the movie.
  • The real question about the spacestation scene is why they start to spin the thing before the Shuttles dock with it.
    • Because in soft science fiction movies (which this pretty much is) that want to make some concessions to the concepts of hard sci-fi, spinning equals gravity.
    • Because if they tried to start spinning with the shuttles already attached, the mass of the shuttles would break the docking tubes and send them off into space.
  • In the movie, it's shown that the Independence Shuttle crashed, and all the equipment save for the Armadillo was destroyed. So where did Lev, AJ and Bear get their orange jumpsuits from at the end? They surely didn't wear it under their Spacesuits..
    • Dude, I had the same question!
    • As mentioned above - "Here at NASA, we double up on everything." Obviously they brought spares. But I assume that the crews had extra jumpsuits and Spacesuits just in case something was to happen. So AJ, Lev, and Bear just took the extras and wore them..
      • They should've just sit around in their underpants while riding the Armadillo.
      • well there was at least 1 extra set because the other air force guy died by being blown into space.
  • Where exactly is Lev sitting inside the Independence Shuttle? i know there's not good lighting in the scenes where the cockpit is shown, but it only appears to be 7 seats ( 2 for the pilot/copilot, and the remaining 5 in some sort of v-shape, with the munitions specialist in the middle, and the members of harry's team seated 2 to each side of the console in the middle), unless there is a secret compartment with an extra seat..
    • That's what I aays wondered..
    • He just got done serving aboard that Russian space station - I'm sure he could have made himself comfortable in a Jeffries tube or a freezer or something.
    • But if you remember, Lt. Watts, or during the scene where Sharpe radios back to houston where Harry tells him how much they drilled, he goes to a seperate room/compartment with computer equipment and a seat. So Assuming that the Independence Shuttle had the same configuration, that's where Lev most likely sat..
  • Harry, a seasoned oil veteran firing a shotgun on an oil rig w/ flammable chemicals and vapors everywhere? Really?
    • So seasoned an oil veteran he probably knows exactly where it's safe to smoke and/or shoot on the rig and where it isn't. This troper's impression that a substantial portion of Harry's rage was just put on, and that he just wanted to scare the crap out of A.J.
    • As it happens, just firing a gun usually isn't enough to cause a huge explosion, even on an oil rig. It's not a good idea, but it's not as dangerous to the rig as you're implying.
    • Because when a bullet ricochets you get sparks ? And with buckshot, you really don't have to worry about penetration of anything substantial (except AJ's skin).
      • Look again, you'll see Harry loading green shells into the shotgun. Green shells tend to be birdshot, not buck. Even lighter ammo less likely to cause severe damage.
      • Besides safety, Harry must have had a huge thumb on every single person on that rig to prevent one of them from reporting the foreman shooting guns at employees.
      • He's not just the Foreman, He's the owner, It's "STAMPER OIL" after all.
      • And most of the people who see his little rampage are his friends, who likely knew that he wasn't actually going to kill AJ, just scare him. Well, maybe ruin a kneecap...
  • The shooting: His ADULT daughter has sex consensual sex w/ another adult and that makes him angry enough to attempt to kill the man? Was there some subtext going on here that we may have missed?
    • Harry's own self-esteem issues. He doesn't believe oil workers are good enough for his little girl, which includes A.J. So when his own daughter starts having sex with one, it puts him into something of a tailspin. He's also a little immature emotionally, as his own daughter says.
    • Also, he's protective of his little girl. A lot of us tropers aren't parents, so it's hard for us to imagine, but— Well, you know the Squick you get when you try, in total earnest, to picture your parents having sex? It's probably even worse when you think about your children doing it.
      • I, for one, have never attempted to kill either of my parents for having sex. And If I did, they'd call me crazy.
      • I don't agree with or like that scene either, but I doubt that Harry was doing much more than trying to scare AJ, even if in an extreme and totally misguided manner. They even go as far as to have a character say that the shot that got him was a ricochet, not Harry aiming to kill or hurt.
    • It's a stereotype. The shotgun-wielding father enraged at the loss of his daughter's virtue is a pretty standard device. Bay's basically using it here as Rule of Funny and to establish the relationships between Harry, his daughter, and AJ. Basically Bay expected people to be familiar with the stereotype and to not take it too seriously.
    • He's her father and she's her only child, so for him she will always be her little baby, it's natural in overprotective parents.
    • This scene always bothered me for the same reason. In addition I would like to ask: why did none of the dozens (if not hundreds) of employees who witnessed this attempted murder (let's just call a spade a spade here) report it to the authorities?
      • Because if we're calling a spade a spade, this is a pedantic nitpick issue.
  • What did exactly kill Oscar in the Independence crash? He wasn't hitten by any object, he wasn't sucked out of the shuttle, he had difficulties to put his helmet but he finally did, he didn't seem to hit against anything, he didn't seem to die of choking, so after the crash his helmet was broken and his face bleeding for no reason.
    • When the Independence is crashing you can hear him say 'Oh-oh' and than while not entirely it was him, one of the astronauts in his chair is blown across the cockpit by some object.
  • In the version released in the cinema somebody wonders if American and Russian computers are compatible; the crazy cosmonaut says "American, Russian- all made in Taiwan." I know this was there because when the movie came out here in Taiwan the audience started laughing at the subtitles before the line was spoken. It's not in later versions- pressure from China, or executive meddling because they were afraid of China?
    • The line's still there in any full-length version. It might have been edited out of a TV-edition for time, or a region-local copy for the reasons above.
  • So this has been said in a couple different reviews I've read but I've never seen it asked non-rhetorically so here goes: Why does the Independence have miniguns mounted on it? Where they expecting to encounter a colony of hostile aliens on the asteroid or what? They do use the guns as sort of a digging tool at one point but wouldn't it be better to just attach, you know, actual digging equipment on the ship? For one, they wouldn't have to worry about running out of ammo then.
    • Out of universe answer: It's a Michael Bay film. In universe: the Miniguns (which were mounted on the Armadillo and not the X-71's themselves) were labeled "Obstacle Removal Devices", which meant they were most likely there to shoot away any bits of rock that might get in the way of drilling. Also it's implied that NASA is using a lot of retrofitted military equipment for the mission (the X-71's were explicitly stated to be originally built for the USAF) so it's not a stretch to imagine that the Armadillo was also a military project that got tapped for the mission.
    • Why not just mount the shovel part of a backhoe on the ship for this purpose? For one you woudn't have to worry about running out of ammo
      • Because that would be probably a few hundred times heavier, require extra motors, have less range, and be a lot slower.
  • The return home is a bit of a mess. For one, NASA's space shuttles don't land in the same part of the country from which they launch and yet all the Earth-side main characters manage to be there to greet the heroes. An ex-wife and a stripper manage to make it onto the flight line on what has to be the world's most secure military base on Earth that particular week, and a part of the ground crew shows up in hazmat suits - which nobody else is wearing. Those three poor fellas appear to be the only ones concerned with space germs.
    • Can't speak for the hazmat crew, but as for everyone being present at the landing, it would have obviously taken the shuttle some time to actually get back into Earth's atmosphere after the destruction of the asteroid, which would have allowed the Earth-based characters some time to get there, and there would have also been time for Molly and Chuck's ex-wife to prove their association with the relevant characters and get permission to be present at the landing.
    • Actually Shuttles did land in the same part of the country from which they launched, whenever that was possible. Only if the weather at the Kennedy Space Center was bad was the landing switched to Edwards AFB. For one thing, it saved the cost of having to fly the Orbiter back from California on the back of its 747 carrier. Many missions were extended in the hope of the KSC weather clearing up so they could land there.
    • Also these weren't typical shuttles, they were actually designed with landing on rough terrain in mind, landing on any normal runway would probably be a breeze for them.

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