Rockets may be a thing of the past one of these days. Instead, we may use huge electromagnetic "rail guns" to escape from the gravity of a body such as Earth or the Moon. But this concept hasn't appeared much in movies or TV yet. Hence this new short film (which is still in development, hence the unfinished test footage, just posted last night.)

Maelstrom II is based on a short story by Arthur C. Clarke.

An engineer hitches a ride on the lunar rail, hoping to visit his family on Earth. But the rail malfunctions and falls 1,000 KPH short of the 8,500 KPH speed needed to escape lunar gravity. He winds up in a decaying lunar orbit, and only a risky spacewalk (or a jump, really) can save him. NASA scientists are helping with this digital short, which director Jeroen Lapré hopes to show in schools as "a teaching tool in the colonisation of space." Given that Lapré works at ILM and is using ILM resources on his own time, you can expect the final special effects to look way better. The acting and costumes won't ever improve, alas. But maybe Maestrom II can inspire more cool DIY films that use real science.