I'm thinking of scenes like this from the film The Martian, where we see large picture windows in one of the modules in the Ares III.

Wouldn't the windows look out onto either black space or the Sun for 99% of the mission? And expose the crew to radiation, micrometeorites, etc?

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1 Answer 1


No. There is no need for windows, from a technical perspective. Humans like windows, or at least display screens so they can see what's going on, avoid going stir-crazy from living in a capsule for months etc..

In reality, windows will be as small as possible, as they are on any high stress vehicle (aircraft or spaceships) because they are a likely failure area, whether that be from fatigue/stress at corners of windows, or in case of puncture from space debris.

  • $\begingroup$ This would be the case in a real spacecraft, but the huge panoramic screens in the OP are to serve the audience, not the inhabitants. $\endgroup$
    – user20636
    Commented Mar 7, 2020 at 12:18
  • $\begingroup$ I think astronauts would do better with large display screens depicting scenes on Earth vs. large windows displaying the empty blackness of deep space. The one thing that Hollywood consistently gets wrong in sci-fi movies: once you're in space you see lots of stars. In reality, unless all other light sources are blocked/turned off, the glare from a spacecraft's interior lights plus glare from the Sun, Earth, and/or Moon overpower our eye's ability to see the far more dim stars. $\endgroup$
    – RobertF
    Commented Mar 8, 2020 at 16:54

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