Can the interstellar film come true

Of course - before the cinema release on November 6th - we don't want to reveal too much here. But if you have seen Christopher Nolan's huge astrophysics spectacle "Interstellar", from a scientific point of view there are some questions that you would not otherwise ask Hollywood.

The premise of the epic, which every trailer already reveals, is simple enough: The earth is doing badly, new living space is needed. A wormhole opens up in the solar system, a kind of short circuit in the space-time structure that shortens the trip to another galaxy, which normally takes many thousands of generations, to human-possible time periods. Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway are among the astronauts embarking on this journey.

Gravitation theory, quantum mechanics, the curvature of space-time according to Albert Einstein, time expansion and time shrinkage and the bending of light - all of this occurs in "Interstellar". The producer Lynda Obst sought scientific support very early on - before the brothers Jonathan and Christopher Nolan even came on board as authors. She found it with Kip Thorne, a star among theoretical physicists, ex-professor at the famous California Institute of Technology and a friend of Stephen Hawking. The man is even named as an executive producer, Hollywood advertises his authority.

So can this film be accepted scientifically?

Allegedly, Einstein's general relativity equations were used to calculate what a cosmic wormhole might look like. In fact, the great crossing is visually impressive: Cosmic waves, twisted star clusters and interstellar goo rush past the heroes. The spaceship remains untouched by this, miraculously. Only on the starboard side in the cockpit do the space-time ripples create a few streaks into which you can stick your hand like in a liquid. Somehow the multidimensional knotting of space-time, which a so-called wormhole could enable, stops in front of the spaceship and its occupants.

A sublime and in some respects realistic sight is the film's large black hole, aptly named "Gargantua". A black ball surrounded by a wreath of rays of light and a huge disk of dust that is absorbed by the spacetime singularity. However, given the ease with which the film heroes move around this huge space-time vacuum cleaner, the question unfortunately arises as to what would happen to a biological organism that comes close to such a celestial body. The fact is: it would not end well. Not only that the extreme gravity would interrupt all blood flow. Black holes are pure X-ray sources. The intense radiation would shred every single molecule in a wide area.

This and many other inconsistencies cloud the furious cosmic roller coaster ride that "Interstellar" offers the viewer. The high demand for scientific research turns out to be marketing again - last year "Gravity" was a hundred times more realistic, despite some absurdities.

© Süddeutsche.de / chrb / lala