Neil deGrasse Tyson Interstellar Mysteries

Yesterday, I told you how astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson took to CBS News and Twitter to praise the scientific accuracy of Christopher Nolan‘s Interstellar. This surprised many people because Tyson was very critical of Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity, even narrating a 9-minute long Everything Wrong With the movie Gravity video. But Neil deGrasse Tyson is not without questions, and has returned to list nine mysteries that have been bothering him. What logic holes keep Tyson up at night? Hit the jump.

interstellar wormhole

Neil deGrasse Tyson Interstellar Mysteries

Here are the 9 Neil deGrasse Tyson Interstellar mysteries:

  1. If you can poke through a tesseract and touch books, why not just write a note & pass it through.
  2. Stars vastly outnumber Black Holes. Why is the best Earthlike planet one that orbits a Black Hole
  3. Who in the universe would ever know the titles of all their books, from behind, on an bookshelf.
  4. How a pickup truck can drive with a flat tire among densely planted corn stalks taller than it.
  5. If wormholes exist among our planets, then why can’t one open up near Earth instead of Saturn.
  6. Gotta tell you. Mars (right next door) looks waay safer than those new planets they travelled to.
  7. If you crack your space helmet yet keep fighting, the Planet’s air can’t be all that bad for you.
  8. Can’t imagine a future where escaping Earth via wormhole is a better plan than just fixing Earth.
  9. In this unreal future, they teach unscientific things in science class. Oh, wait. That is real.

I will address some of Neil’s issues:

  • I think some of these can be explained, for example, if you were at a different scale behind a book shelf, I’m pretty sure the gaps between books could be rather large and you could read the titles that way, from behind. And why not pass a note? I think it was pretty clear that he only could communicate through gravity, slight movements — not enough to control a pen on a piece of paper.
  • Why not Mars? Good question, which could have easily been debunked with one line of dialogue. I know that in Jonathan Nolan’s original Interstellar screenplay there was a big subplot about how they tried missions to Mars and it didn’t work out. In Christopher Nolan’s movie, the big problem being pushed is they can’t figure out the gravity issue that would prevent them from launching a meaningful amount of humanity into the stars.
  • As for the wormhole, we still don’t know how or why that appeared. In both Jonathan Nolan’s original screenplay and Christopher Nolan’s final film, it is strongly suggested that other beings put it there to help us. Why did they put it so far away? Good question. In Jonah Nolan’s original draft its revealed that there are hundreds of wormholes in our own solar system that we don’t even know about it. The only reason we found out about the one near Saturn was that we detected a neutron star colliding with a supermassive black hole, a signal that made it all the way through the wormhole and to Earth. Without that we wouldn’t have even noticed it.

You can always follow the delightful Neil deGrasse Tyson on twitter @neiltyson. And in case you missed our update yesterday, you can watch Tyson review the scientific accuracy of Interstellar on CBS news, embedded below:

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