Christopher Nolan’s brilliant epic science-fiction piece, Interstellar, is about a former NASA pilot (played by Matthew McConaughey) and a team of researchers searching for humanity’s new home via a wormhole. Ever since the film's release, the movie has been praised worldwide for one specific aspect — its scientific accuracy.
There should be no doubt that this film made a huge effort to make a lot of the sci-fi tropes fit within modern science, but it wasn't 100 percent accurate. Want to know where they bent the rules a little? Find out below!
The film portrayed the Earth as having a blight predicament, which is causing the Earth to be uninhabitable. However, according to Astrobiologist David Grinspoon (2014), the blight circumstance the Earth was facing in the film would have taken millions of years to consume and diminish the atmosphere's oxygen content, regardless how voracious it is.
2. The Black Hole’s Event Horizon
The instant one enters a black hole, reality splits in two. He/she would be incinerated instantaneously. On the other hand, he/she would delve into the black hole completely intact and undamaged.
As you accelerate toward the event horizon, you stretch and contort. The closer you get to the horizon, the more you would appear to move in slow motion. Once you reach the horizon, you freeze and stay still as an escalating heat begins to consume you in a process known as Hawking radiation.
However, if the black hole was massive enough, a person would not have undergone such extremities as above. It is even theorized than one can live a rather normal life while delving deeper into a black hole.
That is, of course, until you reach the singularity of the black hole, where you are crushed to infinite density and your mass is added to the black hole's aggregate. But, before that happens, they would have been ripped apart by the mounting tidal forces, which is known as spaghettification or the "noodle effect."
4. The Frozen Clouds On Dr. Mann’s Planet
When McConaughey and the crew entered one of the three planets that could serve as mankind’s new home, their ship struck a frozen cloud. The planet's atmosphere only contains 80 percent of Earth's gravity, thereby making it impossible for a frozen cloud to stay afloat. In fact, according to Astrobiologist David Grinspoon, the frozen clouds should not have stayed afloat, as the gravity should have pulled them down.
5. No Escape
A black hole is a region of spacetime continuum that possesses immeasurably strong gravitational effects so powerful that even electromagnetic radiation such as light are unable to escape it.
Therefore, McConaughey escaping the black hole near the end of the film is rather bewildering. In addition, the singularity’s tidal forces would also make it impossible for McConaughey and his crew to even pass through the center of the black hole in the film.
Lastly, though the director himself admitted, the black hole lacked the Doppler effect. This furthers my point that the film had scientific inaccuracies.
On an unrelated note, kudos to Christopher Nolan for bringing to a film on space habitat to life, a subject I have been obsessed with since I was 8 years old.
To see how Matthew McConaughey saves the Earth, go watch Interstellar now.
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- Hawking, S.W. (1974) ‘Black hole explosions?’, Nature, 248(5443), pp. 30–31. doi: 10.1038/248030a0.
- Mastin, L. (2009) Singularities - black holes and Wormholes - the physics of the universe. Available at: http://www.physicsoftheuniverse.com/topics_blackholes_singularities.html (Accessed: 7 July 2016).
- Wald, R.M. (1984b) General relativity. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
- Wheeler, C.J. (2007) Cosmic catastrophes: Exploding stars, black holes, and mapping the universe. 2nd edn. United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press.