Weird that you should post this just now. I was suddenly drawn to watch “Contact” just a couple of days ago — haven’t seen it for years. It’s definitely a movie that ticks all the boxes for me.
I might not agree with your description of that alien machine as a “spacecraft”. I think it comes across more as a device for opening some sort of wormhole — more like Stargate SG1 perhaps? That wormhole aspect comes across strongly during Ellie’s “journey”. It was also interesting that Ellie’s Dad (ok, not really her Dad — it was some alien intelligence taking the form of her Dad) said that they didn’t know who had originally built that inter-dimensional transport network. Again, this has resonance with SG1 and the “Gate Builders”. Coincidentally (maybe!) SG-1 and Contact both date to 1997.
But I definitely agree with your final question: would I be that brave? Gender issues aside, I’d like to say yes. But after watching the first version of the alien device blow up in spectacular fashion (one of the best bits of the film!) I’m not 100% sure!
I’m also a one-time radio ham (GW0LUA) and I loved seeing the young Ellie calling CQ. Ham radio is a brilliant way into science/technology, and it would be great to see more young people (girls and boys) being made aware of the hobby. 73, Dave