Was The Russian Skycomm Experiment Successful? Why Didn’t Niko Age In ‘A Girl And An Astronaut’?


Directed by Bartosz Prokopowicz, Netflix may have presented “A Girl and an Astronaut” as a science fiction, but in reality, it is a toxic love triangle between people who were hostages of their own feelings and couldn’t let go of that one thing they knew would be the reason for their downfall. People might romanticize their obsession and call it “love,” but it ceases to be that when it becomes a compulsion. They don’t only ruin their own lives, but their actions affect everyone associated with them. It is said that no judgments should be made when two people are in love, but how can somebody not do that when their life turns upside down just because they cannot let go of each other and end up ruining everything associated with them? There comes a time in every love story when neither party derives anything from it, and that’s probably a good time to call it off. It is tough to do, and giving in to one’s impulses is quite easy, but the ramifications of such actions are not always positive.

Niko and Marta were infatuated with each other, but the latter was always confused, and she could never make up her mind about what she actually wanted or what would be best for her. Niko was a stubborn and ambitious man who knew what his priorities were and wanted the best of both worlds. He wanted Marta to be his life partner, but not at the cost of his career. Bogdan, Niko’s best friend and colleague, was not the same, though. He was ready to sacrifice everything if it gave him the opportunity to win over Marta. Bogdan was the more stable guy, but Marta had always been more inclined toward Niko.

Both Bogdan and Niko were selected for the experiment that was being conducted by a Russian space research organization called SkyComm. Bogdan was that hopeless romantic who was ready to pay any price just to spend a moment with his lady love. It was not like he thought that going to space was a suicide mission, but he didn’t want to take the chance. He had started feeling that he could win Marta over by showing her that she meant everything to him, though Niko called him delusional as he was not as insecure as his friend. Bogdan lost to Niko on purpose and pretended as if he was not as capable as his fellow lieutenant. 

On August 31, 2022, SkyComm sent Niko into space hoping that they would get some breakthroughs and, in turn, be able to develop new technologies that would not only be useful for security purposes but also for finding a cure for terminal diseases and extending the life span of human beings. At the helm of it was a gifted scientist/engineer named Andrey Davidov, who wanted the space program to be a success more than anything. Davidov’s idea was brought to life when Sergei Pudovkin, a businessman, decided to back him up and provide him with the necessary resources. Sergei wanted the world to know that he was a potential rival to Elon Musk, and he wished to be known as a visionary who led the world to a better future.

Was The Russian Skycomm Experiment Successful? Why Didn’t Niko Age In Niko-One Capsule?

Space orbiter Niko-One emerged out of nowhere in the year 2052, exactly 30 years after it disappeared. The research and development wing was now headed by Nadezhda Petrovna, a.k.a. Nadia, the granddaughter of Davidov. The rest of the world had given up on Niko, but Nadia had stayed because she believed that Niko would one day emerge from the abyss and return to Earth alive. Nadia suffered from a terminal neuron disease called ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis), which was characterized by the degeneration of cells, and that is what kick-started the entire space program in the first place.

Professor Andrey Davidov met Mrs. Edyta Rewicz in 2022, and it was there that he told the Polish Minister about his space program plans. The professor wanted to study the reactions that the body had when exposed to lower temperatures as compared to Earth. He was using the concepts of cryogenics because he knew that it had the potential to provide a breakthrough that could demystify many aspects of life. Davidov was planning to hibernate the astronaut who went to space and then slow down his vital functions. He was hopeful that when put in such conditions, the stem cells would develop new traits, which could, in turn, be beneficial in curing illnesses like cancer and sclerosis. Davidov wanted to find a cure for his granddaughter’s ailment, and he wanted to see her lead a normal life. Davidov had tried the experiment on Earth as well, and the results were more than promising, so he believed that if the same experiment was conducted in space, it would give better results. Aside from that, Russia was working on developing stealth technology, which would allow a satellite to be stationed in space without being detected. It meant that they could keep tabs on other nations and use it to their advantage. Though SkyComm was not a government-funded organization, the regime had vested interests in the program because ultimately, they could benefit greatly from the technology.

On the day of the launch, everything was going as planned, and Davidov and his entire team of engineers and scientists were monitoring the situation from the SkyComm observatory. The Niko-One capsule was successfully placed in orbit, and the scientists were elated as it felt no less than a victory. Niko got ready for the beta test, and he was told by Sergie that once he activated the system, he would lose contact with them. The beta test was going to last for six hours, and the SkyComm team waited impatiently for the time to pass. After the stealth procedure was complete, Niko came online, and he informed the mission control department that he was fine and ready for the second and final stage of the experiment. The second stage was to last for 24 hours, and once Niko activated the system, the sub-hibernation process was initiated. Everything was under control, but just then, Niko started hallucinating, and he felt that he was drowning in water. Though sub-hibernation was activated, instead of 24 hours, the time duration was set to 30 years. The control room lost all contact, and Niko was lost in space.

Niko reemerged after 30 long years, and Marta, Nadia, and all the others were shocked to see that he hadn’t aged a bit. Because he had stayed in sub-hibernation at an extremely low temperature for such a long period of time, biological aging had slowed down. It’s also possible that while his spaceship was in stealth mode, he experienced time dilation due to his relative motion and his proximity to Earth’s gravitational field. Davidov had figured out years ago that hibernation didn’t have the same kind of impact on the brain cells as he had thought. He realized that he would never be able to cure his granddaughter completely. When the Russian security agency obtained the pen drive containing Davidov’s testimony, they decided to kill Niko because his body couldn’t help cure the terminal diseases, and he had also become a potential threat to national security.

Towards the end of the series, “A Girl and an Astronaut,” we saw that JJ got hold of him and was taking him to the federal agents when Nadia killed him. The Polish army arrived on the scene and saved Niko from the Russian security agencies, who wanted to kill him. Bogdan had once again assisted his friend as he had asked his own father to contact his sources in Poland and call the army to his friend’s rescue, though it is unknown what would happen to him after he returned to Poland. Maybe in the second season of “A Girl and an Astronaut” (in case there is one), we will get to know if Niko makes peace with his new life or once again bumps into an adventure that aims to make new discoveries and demystify the forces of nature.

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Sushrut Gopesh
Sushrut Gopesh
I came to Mumbai to bring characters to life. I like to dwell in the cinematic world and ponder over philosophical thoughts. I believe in the kind of cinema that not necessarily makes you laugh or cry but moves something inside you.

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