In the movie Interstellar, the protagonists' spaceship, the Endurance, travels through a wormhole. As it is explained in the movie, the wormhole allows them to travel to a couple of systems, one of which is hoped to contain a world habitable for humans.

As for the wormhole itself, its entrance is spherical, and someone aboard remarks that the ship cannot be steered while inside the wormhole.

How do the crew control in which one of the connected systems they end up after leaving the wormhole?

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    I was under the impression that the planetary systems were fairly closely grouped. They only have enough fuel to get them to one, from the wormhole which is just a fixed point leading to another fixed point.
    – Valorum
    Jun 14, 2021 at 22:22
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    There isn't "a couple of systems", there's a supermassive black hole with three planets and an accretion disk - that's it.
    – Mithoron
    Jun 15, 2021 at 0:01
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    @Mithoron - You are incorrect. Probes were sent to the twelve most likely target planets. Three were in orbit of Gargantua but other were orbiting other nearby stars; "She nodded. “And whoever ‘they’ are, they appear to be looking out for us,” she said. “That wormhole lets us travel to other stars. It came along right as we needed it.” “They’ve put potentially habitable worlds within our reach,” Doyle put in, excitement tangible in his voice. “Twelve, in fact, judging from our initial probes.” ... "He paused, then added, “One system shows promise.”"
    – Valorum
    Jun 15, 2021 at 0:08
  • @Valorum - The Science of Interstellar indicates that Kip Thorne was imagining that Mann's planet, like Miller's planet, was in orbit around Gargantua, but on a more distant and highly elliptical orbit. It doesn't say one way or another whether Mann's planet was itself orbiting a star that was orbiting Gargantua, but I'd think it's possible. If so, the other planets could be a combo of ones orbiting that star (or other stars orbiting Gargantua, there was a reference to doing a gravitational slingshot with a neutron star) and planets orbiting Gargantua on their own like Miller's planet.
    – Hypnosifl
    Jun 15, 2021 at 3:08
  • ...although now that I look at the script, shortly after they pass through the wormhole Doyle has the line that Gargantua is "A very large black hole. Miller’s and Dr Mann’s planets orbit it." So maybe that implies that Edmund's planet does not orbit the black hole. Though it could also be taken to impy that Miller's planet and Mann's planet orbit Gargantua directly, while Edmund's planet orbits a star that orbits Gargantua.
    – Hypnosifl
    Jun 15, 2021 at 3:14

1 Answer 1


The wormhole is simply a portal from point-a to point-b. There's no 'steering' any more than there would be if you walked through a doorway. On the other side are a plethora of stars, and their attendant planets, that are evidently within reach of the ranger ships.

Earth’s sun was nowhere near the center of its galaxy, but was in a hinterland nearer the edge of it, where the stars were thin and distant from one another—a lonely house on a great plain.

Certainly not a condo in the city.

This place, this sky beyond the wormhole, this was more like New York. Or Chicago, at least. Stars blazed everywhere, some brightly enough to leave impressions on Cooper’s retinas. Gauzy nebulae draped between and among them, coloring whole quadrants of space with light refracted through gas and dust and the fresh brilliance of newly born stars.

Interstellar: Official Novelisation

Note also that the planet(s) that they initially travel to are the closest to the wormhole, which makes good sense since the wormhole is an artificial construct put in place to allow them to travel from Earth to another viable planet.

Still, maybe it wouldn’t take all that long. In theory the trip through the wormhole would take a fraction of the time, relatively speaking. Maybe the closest planet would be the one to pan out. He might yet be home while Murph was still in her teens.

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