There’s a passing comment in the San Francisco Chronicle’s original review – on May 27, 1977 – of Star Wars, that quips:
spaceships are beat-up and dirty (the nearest garage is light years away?)
I don’t remember when I first heard about why this was, but George Lucas apparently coined the term “Used Universe” when describing the decision. Many movies set in space have pristine looking spaceships that are brand-new looking even after zooming from planet to planet all the time. The Star Wars Prequels did this to a crazy degree.
I was always more a fan of the dirty spaceship reality. Sure, sure, sci-fi writers can reason away anything — fancy future space shields could plausibly make actual structural integrity unnecessary, keeping dirt and micrometeorites at bay (they work on weaponized lasers after all), but the dirty ones seem more real to me.
Which is why I’m SUPER excited today about our first re-launch of a Falcon 9 Block 5 rocket. Don’t get me wrong, I think our rockets are pretty spiffy looking when they’re new — the Block 5 paint job is super advanced and quite on fleek (that’s still a thing, right?). I mean look at this:
But the REAL test is reusing a rocket, and THIS is why it’s starting to feel like Star Wars to me around here. Today is the second launch of one of our fully-reusable Block 5 Falcon 9s. Props to the Space Shuttle for paving the way, but I’m excited to be a part of continuing the way. Here’s tonight’s rocket, ready for launch, in all of it’s Used Universe glory:
UPDATE: It seems like Reddit is curious about the glyph-looking marks too. I can’t comment — but let’s see if we can get a conspiracy theory going: