Interstellar, Christopher Nolan’s most complicated movie, is not perfect, and neither is it trying to be (as I write in my review here). It uses the science of interstellar travel, relativity, black holes, wormholes and fifth dimension as a tool to tell an emotional father-daughter story. So, expecting ‘Interstellar’ to be 100% scientifically accurate is not only foolhardy but also, not the right way to watch the film. In fact, many of the theories that ‘Interstellar’ uses, haven’t yet been proved; so it’s virtually impossible to portray them on-screen. Having said that, it doesn’t mean whatever ‘Interstellar’ deals in is all bullshit. In fact, far from it. After all, there’s a method behind all the madness that you see in Interstellar. So, let’s tackle it one by one. Here is the explanation and meaning of science and logic behind Interstellar.
What’s Plan ‘A’ and Plan ‘B’?
Early on in the film, we find out that NASA is working on a plan to have humanity leave the earth in the face of impending catastrophe. The scientists have also learned that an unknown civilization (referred to as “they”, read below) have put created/put a wormhole near Saturn (read about wormholes below). The scientists have also found out after sending a number of expeditions in space that there are three habitable planets in another galaxy. They have named the planets after the explorers who went in search for them: Miller, Mann, Edmunds. And therefore, to understand which out of three planets is actually habitable, they are planning to send a team of scientists (Endurance) to these planets. Meanwhile, professor Brand (Michael Caine) himself has been working to solve a quantum equation for last several years that will solve the riddle of space, time and gravity.
Plan ‘A’ : During the time Endurance will be on its interstellar voyage, Dr. Brand will continue working on the equation, which if solved, will allow them to figure out all the five dimensions including gravity. After which, their plan is to carry all the remaining population of earth in a massive space station to whatever the most habitable planet is.
Plan ‘B’: If Dr. Brand fails to solve the equation, they have a fallback option. NASA have harvested a bank of fertilized embryos which will be carried by the Endurance team on their interstellar voyage, and in case the Earth gets destroyed, they will raise the next generation of humanity in a planet that they find most habitable.
Later in the film, Dr. Brand will reveal that Plan ‘A’ was never possible. To completely solve the equation he would have needed data from the center of black hole, which was impossible to get, and hence the whole plan was a lie.