NASA Adds Unique Touch to Transformers

NASA's historic adventures and cutting-edge technology provide some of the underpinnings for "Transformers Dark of the Moon," and there are also some star turns of a different sort for some of the workers who appeared as extras in the film.

Director Michael Bay and his production team all but moved in to NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida for a week in October 2010. There were casting calls, costuming and catering tents, and of course a flotilla of high-performance cars and trucks.

Employees at the center were able to see the outcome of all the effort during a sneak preview of the movie Tuesday at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex's IMAX theater.

"I thought they did a great job," said Mike Cianelli, a NASA Test Director (NTD) at Kennedy who appears in the movie. "It was fun to see the production and then to see the end product."

The cast and crew filmed at Launch Pad 39A where Discovery stood ahead of its STS-133 mission, inside the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) and an Orbiter Processing Facility and at the Space Station Processing Facility.

Bill Heidtman, also an NTD, said NASA shined in the feature.

"It was kind of an homage to the space program," Heidtman said.

The feature film is the third installment of the Transformers franchise, covering the life-and-death battles of a species of robots that bring their war to Earth.

For Bay, the science fiction elements bring out the most in what audiences go to movies to see.

"The highest grossing films of all time are science fiction movies and things that are in space. I think it's something we still have to discover," Bay said.

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