Monday, February 16, 2015

The Flawed Science in Jupiter Ascending

I'm a huge fan of science fiction.  The imaginations of various authors have led to advances in science and technology.  The problem is when they stray far from known science. My husband, who is a planetary scientist, often watches these type movies albeit with groans and face palms.  He's even had professors use Hollywood blockbusters in class to show that the science in the movie is flawed.  They may consult scientists, but in the end most of Hollywood is in it to entertain so they ignore the science.  Heck, Myth Busters often devotes episodes showing just how wrong Hollywood is.  Jupiter Ascending is no exception.

The main character, Jupiter, is said to be the "reoccurance" or reincarnation of a former queen/empress.  Basically it's slide-of-hand talk for saying that through the power of genetics and probability she has the exact same genetic code as the dead queen.  Apparently this isn't all that uncommon because the royals often include provisions for their "reoccurance" in their wills.

Except this doesn't happen.  Even identical twins aren't entirely genetically speaking identical.  Forget epigenetics, you can actually look at the dna sequence of twins and see small but significant differences.  Throw in micro-evolution that occurs naturally in humans and the fact that our genes within our own bodies mutate constantly over time and there's no way that Jupiter could in fact be an exact genetic replica of the queen who was born 90+thousand years ago.  Heck I'm not the same genetic replica of myself.  Portions of my genes within my cells are already mutating as we speak.  They are wrongly (or rightly depending on how you look at it) dividing out the code.

Jupiter may be closer than any other human to the dead queen, much like twins are, but she's not an exact copy.  There will be differences between herself and the dead queen particularly if we take into environmental factors that may have caused problems during her childhood.  What I mean is she could have had a poorer diet and is shorter than the dead queen.  However I'm inclined to think that because of evolution, Jupiter is probably far from being a copy of anyone.  She's uniquely herself.

So the whole premise behind the movie, that Jupiter is this queen's "reoccurance" is bunk.  It's made up science to tell a story.

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