Past Is Prologue

Why Can’t I Watch ‘The Right Stuff’?

An analysis of astronauts, the French revolution, and the future of space exploration

Movie poster for the 1983 movie of The Right Stuff, featuring the actors playing the Mercury 7 in their spacesuits.
Movie poster for the 1983 movie of The Right Stuff, featuring the actors playing the Mercury 7 in their spacesuits.
Theatrical release poster for the 1983 film adaptation of The Right Stuff.

Our desire to revisit specific episodes of the past say more about our current environment and cultural preoccupations than about the past itself.

The powers that be decided we need yet another tale of space exploration that limits women and relegates people of color to the absolute margins.

One man in a space suit walking forwards, with the faces of the Mercury Seven superimposed behind him.
One man in a space suit walking forwards, with the faces of the Mercury Seven superimposed behind him.
Alternate theatrical release poster for the 1983 film adaptation of The Right Stuff.

The Soviet space program

The class of 1978

Skylab

Mir

Planetary scientist | PhD student | Inclusive feminist | Earth + space science historian | Aspiring astronaut | Pop culture opinionator | Dance-maker [she/her]

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