CLOSE

Watch an Astronaut's Dream Come to Life

Leaving Earth, even for a short while, has been known to change people forever. The sight of our planet from a distance has inspired spiritual epiphanies in some space travelers. Others have come home with a fresh appreciation for Earth’s beauty and a renewed determination to preserve it. British astronaut and chemist Helen Sharman was only on the Mir space station for eight days in May 1991, but the experience has lived on in her dreams for decades.

Sharman’s dreams of adventure come to life in this video, which was animated by Andrew Khosravani, animator-in-residence at the UK’s Royal Institution. The video made its debut December 1 as the first day of the Royal Institution's space-themed advent calendar.

In one dream Sharman floats down a very long module on the Mir and takes in the beauty of the Earth from a window alongside her fellow astronauts. When she awakes, "I'm always very disappointed that I've woken up, because I wanted to be back in space," she says.

The British space program is small, to say the least. Sharman’s trip nearly 25 years ago made her the first-ever British astronaut. This month, Tim Peake—who recently announced his plans to run the London marathon from space—will become the second. The program’s inadequate funding is a source of frustration for Sharman, who calls it a “tremendous disappointment.” 

Speaking to the Guardian, Sharman quoted British-Sir Lankan science fiction author Arthur C. Clarke: “[He] once said that when an organism stops pushing its boundaries forward, it starts to die. We should be pushing our boundaries. After all, we Britons are explorers and adventurers.” 

Banner image courtesy of the Royal Institution

nextArticle.image_alt|e
Amy Meredith, Flickr // CC BY-ND 2.0
arrow
travel
You Can Still Visit This Forgotten Flintstones Theme Park in Arizona
Amy Meredith, Flickr // CC BY-ND 2.0
Amy Meredith, Flickr // CC BY-ND 2.0

Like many pop culture institutions of the 20th century, Hanna-Barbera’s The Flintstones hasn’t been relegated to just one medium. The animated cast of America's favorite modern Stone Age family sold cigarettes, starred in a live-action 1994 film, and inspired all sorts of merchandise, including video games and lunchboxes. In 1972, it also got the theme park treatment.

Bedrock City, located 30 minutes from the Grand Canyon in Williams, Arizona, was the brainchild of Linda and Francis Speckels, a married couple who bought the property and turned it into a 6-acre tourist attraction. Concrete houses were built to resemble the Flintstone and Rubble residences and are furnished with props; a large metal slide resembles a brontosaurus, so kids can mimic the show’s famous title credits sequence; and statues of the characters are spread all over the premises. The site also doubles as an RV campground and parking site.

A Flintstones theme park house
Matthew Dillon, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

A statue of Bam-Bam at the Flintstones park in Arizona
Matthew Dillon, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

A statue of Wilma Flintstone at Bedrock City in Arizona
Matthew Dillon, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

When it first opened, Bedrock City employed actors to stay in character, but the remote location proved challenging to retain both employees and visitors. Over the past four decades, it's had a steady stream of tourists, but not enough to turn a huge profit. Atlas Obscura reports the attractions are in various stages of disrepair.

Linda Speckels put the property up for sale in 2015 with an asking price of $2 million, but it has yet to sell. One possible hold-up: The new owner would have to negotiate a fresh licensing deal with Hanna-Barbera and Warner Bros. for the right to continue using the show’s trademarks. (A separate Flintstones park in South Dakota, owned by another member of the Speckels family, was sold and closed in 2015.) With its proximity to the Canyon, the 30 total acres could be converted into almost anything, from a mall to a golf course. For Flintstones enthusiasts, the hope is that the park’s unique attractions won’t be reduced to rubble.

nextArticle.image_alt|e
Carlo Allegri/Getty Images
arrow
holidays
Watch Terry Gilliam's 1968 Animated Christmas Card
Carlo Allegri/Getty Images
Carlo Allegri/Getty Images

In 1968, future Monty Python member Terry Gilliam was kicking around London, working as an animator. He was asked to put together an animated segment for a Christmas show, so he hopped over to the Tate and photocopied a bunch of Victorian Christmas cards for inspiration. The resulting film, The Christmas Card, is brilliant, bizarre, and delightful. Enjoy some pre-Python madness from the master:

If you liked that, check out Terry Gilliam explaining his animation technique in 1974.

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios