October 7, 8, 9 2016 - World Space Week/ Day #4, Day #5 and Day #6
My topic for today's celebration of WSW will be the movie Interstellar directed by Christopher Nolan!! :)
"Interstellar" is without a doubt one of the greatest and most spectacular movies I've ever seen.
Interstellar bases itself on a mission to help save humanity.
Set in the future, "Interstellar" depicts the many consequences of overpopulation on planet Earth, one of them being a shortage of food. The cause for this shortage of food production is an insect that has gotten to all of the existing crops except corn (which is the last crop available). It is the "blight" that has occasioned this. The situation is also regarded as "Global Crop Blight." These insects have entirely exterminated nearly all the available food sources.
- Blight invading the plant.
By the time that the Interstellar mission sets off into space, the last crops of okra on Earth are dying, leaving only corn as the unique viable and reliable source for food.
Apart from this, a "dust bowl" is also happening! These situations have affected and weakened Earth. The fact that corn is the only crop available and severe dust storms are taking place signals a need to do something for the well-being of Earth.
By definition, dust bowls are massive dust storms that occur due to poor maintenance of prairies, drought and the failure to apply dryland farming methods.
We can link a part of US history to these "dust bowls." During the 1930's, dust storms took place and critically damaged the pastures of the US and Canada. This period is also dubbed the "dirty thirties." The cause for these storms was that during the 1920's, farmers did not know of the severe damage they were causing when they extensively plowed the virgin topsoil of the Great Plains.
In search of better lives, families left their homes and hearts and headed towards the cities that were not being affected by the storms. The majority of these families fled to California in hopes of better living conditions and to escape from the horrible circumstances.
The route that these desperate families took was route 66. Route 66 is a historical highway that connects Chicago to Los Angeles, and it was established during the summer of 1926. Hopes for a better life full of opportunity was what these farmers deeply desired, but instead their lifestyles didn't really change for the better since what they encountered when settling in California was the continuation of the Great Depression.
Going back to what "Interstellar" depicts, both the Dust Bowl and termination of crops had led to the search of a new alternative that could save life on Earth. For this, Professor Brand - a brilliant NASA physicist - set a solution. The solution that he had in mind was to transport part of Earth's population (and all of those who were lucky enough that they could be sent to space and had time) in different missions, through a wormhole towards another world and galaxy.
Professor Brand had 3 planets in mind that would be apt for humankind. He informs the research team that a mysterious black hole had appeared near Saturn 48 years earlier. According to Dr. Brand, 12 volunteers had ventured through it in a mission called "Lazarus" in order to evaluate the planet's adaptability to serve as the human civilization's new home.
But before this idea is set as a definite solution, he sends Cooper (former NASA pilot) and a team of researchers on the spaceship Endurance to investigate the conditions of the planets that lie across the black hole while he works on PLAN A - determined to create an exodus from Earth. The Endurance also carries 5,000 frozen embryos as Plan B of colonizing a habitable planet.
They soon learn about warped space-time and are that in the other specific dimension that subsists crosswise the black hole, seven Earth years are equal to one hour. The explanation for the major time dilation experienced at the other side is the blackhole's proximity to the galaxy of Gargantua.
Yet, in the will of saving humanity, they set off to complete their mission. Professor Brand convinces the research team (astronauts) that the mission is secure. In reality, while years have passed on Earth, Dr. Brand confesses to Murphy (Cooper's daughter, now a scientist) that Plan A had never worked and Plan B was the only solution all along.
- Plan A: Finding a new planet - such as Edmund's planet - capable of sustaining humankind as we know it.
- Plan B: Prepare 5,000 embryos on a foreign planet for continuation of human-life in the universe.
As the spaceship's fuel supply rapidly dwindles, the team chooses to stop on Mann's planet rather than Edmund's since Mann still transmits signals. Upon arrival, Mann assures that despite the ammonia-laden atmosphere, the planet is habitable. While reviewing the planet, Mann attempts to kill Cooper and since he knew that the mission was a failure, he falsified all of the data with the hope of being rescued. Romilly (researcher and astronaut) is killed by a trap set by Mann while he runs towards the ranger and spaceship Endurance.
Brand and Cooper go after the rangeraboard the second lander, while Mann is attempting a very dangerous docking operation (to detach the lander). Cooper warns him about the danger, but Mann ignores him. Like that, Mann is killed by the attempt, which critically damages the Endurance.
Following this tragedy and considering the rapid decrease of fuel...Cooper decides to detach Brand from the main ranger. This is done with the purpose of forming a human colony with the 5,000 embryos on Edmund's planet.
Until this moment, more than 23 years have passed on Earth. A major implication of time dilation is highlighted when Cooper sits down to watch the videos that his kids have sent him (through the hours) and he cries uncontrollably and realizes how his kids have become adults and are now possibly older than him. His daughter Murphy feels complete anger towards him because he had promised (when she was 13) that he would be home when they were both the same age (as when he departed). Sadness and profound melancholy is what Cooper feels, and the wrath that his daughter Murphy expresses is equally as heartbreaking.
But, as how life has fallen to be and how it has unfolded... these are the circumstances that result to proceed.
All in all, Cooper finds himself back on Earth reunited with his senescent daughter Murphy (she already has her own family). As they watch themselves amazed by how time unfolded itself between them, Murphy asks her dad to leave.
Altogether, Cooper and his Endurance spaceship robot, TARS, leave to rejoin Brand and her robot, CASE, on Edmund's habitable planet where she is adapting a new human settlement.
To conclude, "Interstellar" is the most amazing movie I have ever watched and will forever remain in my memory as a testament to the vastness of the cosmos - a vastness that reflects the infinite reaches of my own mind.
--Astrophysics Angie (10/8/2016)