During last night’s open thread I brought up the “science” in the movie Interstellar.
I think I was being a bit misleading there, making an implication that the physics behind some of the movie’s concepts were incorrect. I wouldn’t know – I didn’t watch the entire thing. I ended up turning it off after about an hour because of a simple gaffe that took me out of the story so completely I had no interest in carrying on.
The scenario: the team arrives at Miller’s planet – a world covered in water – and visits the site where Miller was supposed to have landed years ago only to find the lander swamped and Miller completely absent. Very shortly thereafter a giant tidal wave arrives and one of the idiot crew dies and Cooper (Wooderson) and Brand (Hathaway) argue about what happened. When in orbit, the crew believed that the probe had been on the surface for years. Despite having known in advance that there was massive time dilation on the planet’s surface (due to the spacetime warping of a nearby black hole). Some dialogue:
BRAND: …judging from the wreckage she died shortly after landing.
COOPER: How’s the wreckage stay together for all these years?
BRAND: Because of the time slippage. On this planet she just landed hours ago…
SOME OTHER GUY OR MAYBE THE COMPUTER OR SOMETHING I DON’T KNOW: The data Doyle received was just the initial status. Echoing endlessly.
Again, THEY KNEW ABOUT THE “TIME SLIPPAGE” WHEN THEY WERE IN ORBIT. But more importantly, here’s a question: what does every electronic message ever sent since the invention of the telegram have in common? Answer: a timestamp.
So if they only ever received a single message from the probe, “echoing endlessly” – it would have had an identical timestamp each time. I can’t even get started on how blitheringly stupid everyone on board that ship would have to be to miss something so basic like that. And despite knowing about the time dilation effect, they were dumb enough to believe that the probe had been on the surface for years? Nope. Can’t do it. That’s when I turned it off.
Anyhow, to the music!