Tuesday, November 11, 2014
A few Questions About Interstellar...
Saw Christopher Nolan's Interstellar this weekend. It was amazing and I really like it, but after breaking down the story I have just a few questions (SPOILER ALERT):
How did humanity have so many wars that we no longer need a military? How did that happen? Did the global food shortage prompt this shift in priorities? How? Aren't wars usually caused by shortages of resources?
Are there no police in the future either? Why can they just go around setting fields on fire and stealing people's families with a tire iron?
Why can't they build MRI machines? Because everyone is a farmer now?
If everyone is a farmer, what is college for? Why does anyone go to college?
Where do their taxes go? Secretly funding NASA's program of sending people into other galaxies with no defined parameters for mission success?
Wouldn't a massive government program to fix the Earth or synthesize okra and corn have been more economically feasible than a plan to send the entire human race to another galaxy?
Why did the gravitational anomalies cause Cooper to crash? What was the significance of most of them?
Why did Cooper leave NASA to become a farmer? Because his wife died? If they kept their funding in secret, why didn't NASA just ask him to stay?
Who was going to pilot the Endurance before Cooper showed up?
If Cooper was the best pilot NASA ever had, why didn't they just call him up and ask him to be on the Endurance crew in the first place? Or in the Lazarus missions?
How did Cooper know about the Lazarus missions? Did they start while he was still at NASA or were they public knowledge?
How much preparation was done for the Endurance mission after Cooper showed up? How long after he stumbled into the secret NASA base did they shoot him into outer space?
If the future human race controls time and space to the point where they can create a wormhole to another galaxy, why didn't they send back the gravity equation that would allow the human race to use it and escape?
Why do they all assume an intelligence was behind the construction of the wormhole when no direct contact or communication had been made outside of the binary message Cooper received from himself? If wormholes are not naturally occurring, why are they scientifically assumed to exist in a time where there is no technology remotely capable of creating them?
Why did the 5th dimensional future people create a wormhole that only led to 3 viable planets, 2 of which border a black hole?
If Cooper so easily accepted the binary message that led him to the NASA base, why did he so casually dismiss the Morse Code message urging him to stay?
Why do the Endurance crew decide to investigate Miller's planet first, the planet closest to the black hole, knowing that the time shift would make it almost impossible to transport humanity to that planet? Wouldn't gravitational problems also make it far too problematic to transport the entire human race to this planet?
If Miller was killed only minutes after arriving and all her data destroyed, what useful information could she have possibly sent back to lead the Endurance crew to risk everything to explore her planet first?
Why didn't Brand want to go to Edmunds' planet first? If love was her compass, why did she wait until their initial failure at Miller's planet to decide that going to Edmunds' planet was what she wanted to do best?
Why is Cooper the only member of the crew interested in saving humanity? Is he the only one with actual ties to the human race?
Why is everyone so quick to fall back on Plan B when it could literally be accomplished almost any time and on auto pilot? They could fall back on Plan B after exhausting just about all other resources, so why are they so interested in prioritizing it above a plan that would actually accomplish something?
How could they hope to cultivate an entire colony of human embryos on the target planet? They only sent 1 person and 1 robot to each planet and the Endurance crew consisted of 3 men and 1 woman, plus two robots; How could five people and 2 robots raise 150 babies?
How would a sampling of 150 babies insure genetic diversity enough to create a thriving new off-shoot of humanity? If they're attempting to re-build the human race, why does the crew only consist of English-speaking Americans?
Why is there a Plan B at all? Wouldn't preserving the acquired knowledge and history of the human race be more of a legacy than depositing 150 babies on a planet with 1 astronaut and a robot and expecting them to evolve into an extension of our culture?
Why didn't NASA send a man and a woman to each site with a colony's worth of embryos? Especially in cases where two of their astronauts were in love, wouldn't that be a better foundation for seeding humanity in an alien environment?
Why didn't Romily freeze himself with a timer that would wake him up every five years if he was afraid of sleeping forever? Why did he just stay awake for 23 years because he had given up on the others? Why didn't he ever consider just going home?
Why didn't anybody even mention that they could return for Doyle if the mission were successful, since years of their time would be seconds to him? Why did they assume he drowned when he was wearing a spacesuit?
Their entire reasoning for going to these planets was based on communication they received from them, so why did the Endurance lose the ability to communicate with Earth the second they crossed through the wormhole?
Why did the Lazarus mission send humans on a suicide mission to collect samples and communicate their findings back to Earth? Why couldn't robots do that?
If Murph is so mad about her father leaving, why does she dedicate her life to helping Brand solve the Gravity equation? Why does he let her, knowing it's all a sham?
Why couldn't Cooper tell Murph the world was in danger? Didn't Brand basically tell her anyway? If she worked with him to save the planet, then doesn't that mean someone told her? And didn't Cooper know that, since he saw on the tapes that she was working on the project?
Why does Professor Brand feel like a failure and make a deathbed confession that Plan A was never meant to work? If he finished his equation years before and was confident that Plan A would never work, then why does he feel like he failed? Shouldn't he feel like he succeeded, since his goal of duping astronauts into seeding alien planets with human embryos actually was working?
Why did Brand think that humans wouldn't sacrifice themselves to seed alien planets with human life, when all the members of the Lazarus mission had readily agreed to do just that for basically no reason? And if the Endurance already had everything they needed to succeed at Plan B, why couldn't the Lazarus probes have all been sent with the same resources? Couldn't they have seeded every planet they found with human embryos, if that was the only real objective of their mission? And again, couldn't robots have accomplished that? Wouldn't the astronauts have been even more willing to go on the Lazarus missions if they were all given the same odds of survival, instead of dooming all but one on a plan that was unnecessarily exclusive?
Why weren't the Lazarus astronauts simply instructed to put themselves in cryosleep after finishing their mission and await pickup, which totally could have happened if all went well? And isn't this exactly what happened for Mann?
Why was Mann so lonely? If he learned everything he needed to know about the planet pretty early on, why didn't he just put himself in cryosleep and hope for the best? Why did he remain awake until the temptation to trick the others to rescue him became irresistible?
What did NASA do to vet the information sent back by the probes? Mann only tells them specifics when they get there, so is the entire Endurance mission based on him hitting one button that he could have just as easily hit by accident? What would they have done if all the Lazarus astronauts had hit the button on their planets, as they almost certainly would have done? Shouldn't they have insisted on data transmitted by the mission robots to prevent someone from doing exactly what Mann did?
Why was Mann aware of the futility of Plan A? If Brand thought that the astronauts would be demotivated by the prospect of not being rescued, why would he send the Lazarus astronauts to remote planets to test the atmosphere, then tell them their only chance of survival was to say that their planet was the best candidate to be the New Earth?
Why was Mann's robot rigged to explode if accessed by another human? How did Mann know he wouldn't be in the pod or near it when someone triggered it? What if they had parked the lander in the blast range of the explosion? Why are the robots rigged to explode at all? Is there no way to simply wipe their system memory, like smashing their hard drives with a rock?
Is Romily the blackest guy in scifi? Why was he the one who had to age 20 years while they were on the wave planet and also the one who blew up?
Why doesn't anybody notice that Mann is a creepy sociopath?
Why do they send Cooper, the pilot and engineer, to check out the atmosphere of the planet, something he has no qualifications to judge? Why doesn't anyone notice when his transmitter stops transmitting? Why wouldn't they send one of their two robots to collect samples and analyse the atmosphere?
Given the planet's limited gravity, why was Mann's plan to push Cooper to his death?
Why didn't Mann know how to dock with the Endurance? Why didn't he know that blowing the hatch would kill him? Wasn't he the best of them?
Why isn't there cemetery technology in the future? Is everyone just buried in the back yard?
Where was Murph going to take her brother's family to keep them safe? Why was this the first time anyone had ever heard of dust cough being fatal? Does only NASA have doctors now? Why?
Why is solving the Gravity equation helpful if Professor Brand never actually built a centrifugal space station capable of transplanting the entire human race to another galaxy? Why would he build it if he never thought the Gravity equation would help? What exactly did he build that would accomplish the task of transporting all of humanity through the wormhole?
Why couldn't NASA build a fleet of ships to make the one-way trip to various potential host planets? Or even just a few ships? Why was this an all or nothing proposition?
How did they think TARS would be able to transmit useful data from inside the black hole when not even light can escape a black hole? And if he could get useful data from outside it, couldn't they have done that when they went to Miller's planet? And even if TARS could send data from inside the black hole, wouldn't the time shift cause the data to reach them years too late to use it?
Cooper learns that he used the teseract to communicate with himself and his daughter in the past; if he was the one who sent himself to NASA and provided Murph with the Gravity equation, why didn't the future people from the 5th dimension do any of that? How did they expect NASA to discover the wormhole without telling them what it was or what to do with it? How did NASA discover it?
How is Cooper able to communicate with TARS in the 5th dimensional teseract? If he can't send radio transmissions through any of the points in time he can physically touch through the bookcase, why can he talk across the void to TARS just because they both have walkie talkies?
What the hell happened to TARS? He's speaking like he's in contact with the 5th dimensional future people but he's in radio range of Cooper; why can't they just talk directly to Cooper? If they created the pocket in spacetime for Cooper to access Murph's room, why couldn't they also put TARS there so he could send the equation to the watch instead of having to tediously relay it to Cooper?
If love is what makes it possible for Cooper to connect to the room and to Murph, why is it so hard for him to get through to her or himself or anyone?
Why does Murph not take the "ghost" that sent her father into outer space as encouragement that a greater power is at work? Why did she lose faith so quickly and so completely?
If you controlled the gravity of a room enough to knock books off a shelf in Morse code or make dust fall in lines that spell cryptic messages in binary, couldn't you just write messages in the dust or with a pencil or on a laptop? Murph says she made attempts to communicate with the "ghost"; why didn't Cooper ever visit one of those moments and actually communicate back? In the future he's aware that she discovered the Morse Code, so why not use that to send her more useful messages?
TARS says the future people won't allow Cooper to change the past, but isn't that exactly what they're doing? And if they can control time and space, couldn't they have put him back on the other side of the wormhole moments after he went in it? Why did he come out through the wormhole at all, when it was the black hole he had traveled through?
Is it just lucky that Cooper emerged on the other side of the wormhole where people would find him? If not,why couldn't he have been deposited somewhere safer, like back on Earth?
If we could terraform a Saturn base with Earth conditions, why didn't we just do that to the other planets in our own solar system? Why didn't we just do that to Earth?
Cooper acts like going through the black hole will cost him hundreds of years of time, but he arrives on the other side maybe 80 years later; what is the time differential in the black hole? Why was there any at all, since he spent most of that time in a timeless spaceless teseract unbound by all laws of physics?
Would old Murph really just send her dad away after waiting a lifetime to see him? Wouldn't he want to meet his grandchildren and great grandchildren? And wouldn't they want to meet him, seeing as how his return was apparently public knowledge?
Is Cooper just allowed to take a spaceship and fly it through the wormhole? Wouldn't resources be even more limited now that humanity is spread across the universe and re-building? Why is the wormhole even still there?
What if Edmunds was still alive on the planet and he and Brand were happy there? Wouldn't Cooper have felt like an ass just dropping in on them? Why doesn't he even think about saving Doyle, who's still only been on Miller's planet for a couple of days?