In Pixar’s robot love story WALL-E, the Earth is surrounded by a dense field of orbiting junk. (Incidentally, you know you’re a geek when you’re the only one laughing in the cinema because you recognise one of the satellites that WALL-E has to brush out of his way as Sputnik 1.) But while things today aren’t quite as bad as depicted in WALL-E, space debris is still a big problem, as can be seen on a real plot from NASA of the junk orbiting overhead.
Pixar worked its magic this weekend, shooting to the top of the box office for the ninth consecutive time with WALL-E. And deservedly so–the movie pulls you into its world, and anybody whose heart doesn’t go out to the title character has a soul made of burnt toast. WALL-E is the name of the last robot left cleaning up the garbage-strewn Earth. All the humans left for an intergalactic cruise while the planet was getting spruced up, but the cruise has been going on for 700 years now with no end in sight.
Used to being pampered by robots and never leaving their hover-chairs, the humans have gotten a little bit portly over the centuries, and now find it difficult to even walk (if it ever occured to them to do so). Which is a problem that lurks in the minds of the people who are planning real-life expeditions to Mars.