Why Watch ESA Rosetta's Movie 'Ambition'?

Ambition is a science fiction short film that explores the motivations behind ESA’s Rosetta mission. This is how the short science fiction film Ambition was announced at its premiere on Friday 24 October. Funded by ESA, it is a collaboration between the space agency and digital film company Platige Image.

Oscar-nominated director Tomek Bagiński’s seven-minute film explores the philosophy behind the Rosetta mission. It also includes some eye-popping special effects. These include a breath-taking scene in which Rosetta deploys the Philae lander, while the comet rotates to bring the jets into view.

This is an inspiring and imaginative use of outreach funding. In my experience most people want to be entertained rather than educated. So the more real science that can be seamlessly woven into entertainment, the better.

If the film doesn’t quite work as a complete story because of its brevity, that’s OK says Mark McCaughrean, senior science adviser at ESA. “Think of it as a seven-minute trailer to a 20 year mission.”

The Rosetta mission is turning science fiction into science fact by being the first spacecraft to orbit a comet. So, why not the other way around? Ambition features two post-humans discussing the ‘ancient mission’ while conjuring visions using only their minds.

Science is as much a cultural endeavour as film making. By funding film makers, ESA are making a bold statement about where space exploration should be in our society, which is in its very heart and soul.

Ambition stars Aiden Gillen and Aisling Franciosi, and was shot on location in Iceland. You can watch the film below.