For most of us, what happens in outer space is either something we read about or see on TV. The vast, endless black out there seems mysterious and only beckons a few to be courageous enough to actually board a vessel that will take them there.
In Gravity, Matt Kowalski (George Clooney) is a veteran space traveler on his last mission. As mission commander of Shuttle Explorer, he's joined by Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock). Their mission? Read- justing the Hubble Telescope. Ryan, a single woman trying to get over a very bad incident in her life, is a brilliant medical engineer but still a little nervous on her first shuttle mission.
Matt has a grand time floating around with his new jet pack, which means he doesn't have to be tethered to the shuttle. In addition to taking in some of the more incredible views of earth and the skies around it, Ryan -- attached to a robotic arm -- is installing a new scanning system on the telescope.
Things are going along okay until a chain reaction of collisions caused by the detonation of a Russian satellite hundreds of miles away sends a huge area of debris flying into everything and breaking apart the shuttle. Matt floats away from Ryan, who can't disengage from the robotic arm until another piece of debris hits and she's off floating in space all alone.
Objects are still hurling by like models on a Paris runway and although Matt and Ryan can communicate through their instruments for a short while, it's clear they have no idea how to get back home. Finally Matt tells Ryan she needs to get to the Chinese space station and get a ride from there. (It was never revealed how someone steers themselves though space – makes me curious.)