In May 2009, the crew of the Space Shuttle Atlantis launched a mission to make vital repairs and upgrades to the Hubble Space Telescope, the world’s first space-based optical telescope. An IMAXÒ camera captured stunning footage of the five intricate spacewalks required, as well as close-up images of the effort to grasp the orbiting telescope with the shuttle’s mechanical arm at 17,000 MPH – and an unexpected problem that could sabotage the entire mission. Hubble combines this breathtaking material with images taken during the 20 years it has been our window into space. Through advanced computer visualization, Hubble’s detailed data becomes a series of scientifically realistic flights that unfold on screen like a guided tour of the universe, through time and space.
Leonardo DiCaprio narrates this spellbinding (if rather brief) look at some unprecedented photos of the farthest reaches of our galaxy, as well as the people responsible for taking off the lens cap. Focusing on the 2009 flight of the shuttle Atlantis
, the film follows the dangerous final mission to repair the Hubble telescope, a process that required split-second timing, some hastily improvised fixes, and the very real risk of suit ruptures. Originally displayed in 3-D IMAX (with much of the footage shot by the astronauts), this loses remarkably little in the transition to home theaters, with a dazzling presentation that stretches the current limits of high-def television screens and subwoofers. (Viewers with sensitive pets might want to get them out of the room before the launch cycle starts.) While the 40-minute running time may leave viewers wanting more about the specifics of the mission, this demo-quality disc offers a succession of amazing images, whether it be an entrancing glimpse beyond the edges of the universe, a speculative look at the creation of infant solar systems, or the somehow equally gorgeous sight of a weary astronaut rolling a perfect zero-g burrito. --Andrew Wright