On Thursday NASA paid tribute to the men and women of space exploration who have lost their lives. Space exploration has long influenced many in the entertainment industry, and vice versa.

Before The Martian starring Matt Damon went into production, NASA jumped at the opportunity to both offer technical advice and to promote space exploration.

Life Imitates Art

Before there was a reusable manned space vehicle in real life, the term “shuttlecraft” was first used in the television series, Star Trek.NASA honored the show's cast and crew by naming the space shuttle Enterprise after the spaceship that carried their characters to “boldly go where no man has gone before.”

Disaster in the Air and On the Ground

When the movie Top Gun in Houston premiered the day after the Challenger explosion, producer Jerry Bruckheimer recalled thinking that the debut “..was like a funeral..

They just walked out. I thought, ‘Oh my God - this is a disaster.’

Of course, it turned out that moviegoers were just in shock over the 1986 shuttle disaster. Top Gun ended up breaking box office records, and now there is discussionabout finally making a sequel.

The Future for NASA and Hollywood

Armageddon, the highest grossing film of 1998, popularized the idea of giant asteroids threatening life on Earth. Director Michael Bay admits that the premise of sending blue-collar drillers to space was unrealistic.

Even with a disclaimer that NASA's involvement does not reflect their endorsement, the film clearly still made a lasting impression. Last year NASA established the Planetary Defense Coordination Office to protect the planet from the threat of doomsday asteroids.

More recently, NASA turned down a request for the movie Interstellarto be screened on the ISS. However, The Martian was not only screened on the international space station but several bases on earth as well.

So, while NASA seems to embraces its partnership with Hollywood, they appear to be sending the message that their affections aren't easily won.

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