You don’t have to be a huge movie fan to have suffered through a few stinkers. So why does a major government agency use an awful flick as part of their management training program?
The story comes via New Scientist magazine. They explain:
WHY does NASA show the movie Armageddon as part of its management training programmes? We’re talking about the thriller in which Bruce Willis saves the Earth by nuking an asteroid the size of Texas into dust just moments before it wipes out the home planet…
In reality, the screenings are just a game for NASA’s space geeks: who can find the highest number of impossible things in the movie? The record…stands at 168.
You might be a fan of this particular movie, but there’s not much debate about its scientific accuracy. Even the director, Michael Bay,
told Entertainment Weekly that the idea that NASA “could actually do something in a situation like this” just wasn’t possible (source). When it comes to being reasonable, pretty much everybody agrees that the film is just supposed to be fun.
But once again, we see that failure is the secret to success. Management trainees at NASA get to watch the film and try to find the inaccuracies. So what would normally be a terrible movie that the agency might try to forget has actually become a key part of their progress. Error leads to discovery. Bad moviemaking leads to better science for everyone.