"Right. Goggles on!"
Thanks largely to Science Fiction, space is probably one of the most inaccurately portrayed things in modern media, to the extent that complete falsehoods are widely accepted as fact. Or hey, maybe it's just that the work is rather out of date and we're finding out new things all the time.
This is a very specific kind of research failure, which may have been partially justified in earlier media as there hadn't been much research on the subject yet. Modern portrayals of space, however, still haven't changed much from the rock-filled, noisy place which will make an unprotected human instantly explode into clouds of ice.
Some of this is due to a lack of research or just lack of interest. But most of the modern misrepresentations can be put down to the Rule of Cool (the idea that things with sound are cooler, or at least not as scary, as a famous tagline pointed out, as things without), artistic license, or simply the belief that audiences wouldn't accept it any other way.
Specific kinds of Space Does Not Work That Way include:
- 2-D Space: Spacecraft fail to recognize a third axis of movement.
- Arbitrary Maximum Range: When projectiles mysteriously cease to exist upon reaching a certain distance.
- Artistic License Astronomy: Astronomical bodies are portrayed wrong.
- Asteroid Thicket: Asteroid belts in fiction are much denser than in real life.
- Batman Can Breathe in Space: In fiction, oxygen tanks are completely optional in space.
- Continuous Decompression: After a hole is opened in a space ship's outer structure, it has about the same effects as a nearby tornado.
- Conveniently Close Planet: In space, your destination is far closer and more convenient to reach than in reality.
- Everything in Space Is a Galaxy: Writers using the term "galaxy" incorrectly to refer to things that only have one (or a handful) of stars and several planets or that are not particularly distant.
- Explosions in Space: Explosions in space are just like the ones on Earth.
- Explosive Decompression: A sudden shift in pressure makes your everything explode.
- Faster-Than-Light Travel: Spaceships that can travel faster than light.
- Fishbowl Helmet: Astronauts wear helmets that are clear all around.
- Flaming Meteor: Meteors depicted as being fiery boulders.
- Frictionless Reentry: Objects enter the atmosphere without burning up.
- Gravity Sucks: Turn off the engines and you fall straight down, regardless of lateral velocity.
- In Space, Everyone Can See Your Face: Spacesuits always have transparent visors and sometimes even lights to highlight the face of the astronaut in fiction.
- Latex Space Suit: In the future, people will wear fanservicable spacesuits.
- Old-School Dogfight: Air and spacecraft behaving like pre-Cold War planes in situations where they shouldn't.
- Planar Shockwave: Explosions in space tend to spread out in only two dimensions.
- Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale: Sci-Fi writers make measurements much more different than they realistically would be.
- Space Clouds: Fictional nebulae behave like clouds.
- Space Friction: Turning your engines off in space inexplicably causes you to slow to a stop.
- Space Is Air: Spaceships are just airplanes in space.
- Space Is Cold: In fiction, you'll probably freeze to death with unprotected exposure to outer space.
- Space Is Magic: Space is literally magical.
- Space Is Noisy: According to fiction, sound is possible in the vacuum of space.
- Space Is an Ocean: Space travel is treated like sailing an ocean.
- Space Zone: Space levels in video games often have wonky physics.
- Spy Satellites: Spy satellites used unrealistically in fiction compared to Real Life.
- Stealth in Space: How characters in space go undetected.
- Streaming Stars: Stars are seen streaking by to emphasize how fast a spaceship is going.
- Universal Universe Time: The rest of the universe follows Earth's time system.
- Unrealistic Black Hole: A black hole with strange properties, often behaving like a vacuum cleaner.