When the crew is entering Mann's planet's atmosphere, their ship hits a frozen cloud. How can a frozen cloud stay afloat even though the planet contains 80% of Earth's gravity?
ScienceInsider interviewed Kip Thorne (who is a "renowned theoretical physicist at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena and one of the world’s leading experts in the astrophysical predictions of general relativity", scientific consultant and executive producer of Interstellar, and author of The Science of Interstellar):
Q: Is there anywhere the moviemakers strayed outside your guidelines?
A: Not seriously. The one place where I am the least comfortable is on [a] planet where they have these ice clouds. These structures go beyond what I think the material strength of ice would be able to support. But I’d say if that’s the most egregious violation of physical law, they’ve done very, very well. There’s some artistic license there. Every time I watch the movie, that’s the one place where I cringe. I don’t think I’ve ever told anybody that.
(bold emphasis mine)
There’s also a lesson from Interstellar for Educators: Can Frozen Clouds Exist?
In this activity, students will experimentally determine the density of ice, then consider the air density and temperature required for a frozen cloud to remain suspended in the air.
I think gravity is not a factor because everything has mass it's really a matter of how much space that mass displaces, i.e., density. Like, ice cubes float in your milk even though gravity is pulling on the ice cubes. So I think the only factor that matters is that the solid clouds are less dense than the gaseous atmosphere.
In fact, stronger gravity contributes to greater atmospheric density by pulling the gases closer to the planet surface (e.g., air is thinner atop Mt. Everest). So, if planet Mann had an atmosphere made of the same molecules as Earth's atmosphere, that atmosphere would in fact be thinner on Mann than on Earth because Mann's 80% gravity is not pulling down as much atmosphere. Which would make floating a solid in such a thin atmosphere even harder--not easier. But, we know Mann's atmosphere is not the same as Earth's because Mann's atmosphere is not breathable.
Possibly the clouds and the atmosphere of Mann are not composed of the same elements/compounds as each other. The atmosphere could be chock full of dense gases. I see that sulfur hexaflouride has a density of 6.17 g/L. And the clouds are made of really not-dense solid. I see that NASA aerogel is only 3 g/L. So, maybe NASA made a sh*tload of aerogel, floated it out to Saturn where it [accidentally] got sucked through the wormhole and fell to planet Mann. Just maybe.
Or maybe the clouds and the atmosphere of Mann are made of the same elements/compounds as each other, and the temperature is just enough to have some of it freeze up, and the solid state is less dense than the gaseous state. Like imagine the planet is just a ball of water or whatever, where a lot of it has frozen into iceburgs but there's still some ocean left. I don't think this is likely though, as I don't know of any compounds whose solid state is less dense than its gaseous state.
The planet is a frozen Jupiter and probably it contains gas elements that freeze. I can also imagine that when the near star blows up a huge chunk of ice will burst trough the space where can hit a planets and can form a place like Earth. I had this feeling through the movie that all this planets are necessary to help forming later on planets like Earth. I also think that gasses act differently on different temperature and to create water in space is a long process that involves multiple cooling and heating up gasses.
What is life is still one of the biggest mysteries for me. If you imagine the Big Bang and all that energy spreading time and space, then stabilizing in hot gasses which eventually cool down and form stars and even planets due to the gravity (which is related to black holes). But then a microbe forms which is not moving, only affected by physical intefare rather it can make moves in every 3d direction by itself. We are missing something huge here and life itself is involved in the mystery of the universe.
Yes, frozen clouds can exist.
But only at unimaginable pressure. The pressure should be much more than at the bottom of the Earth's oceans, definitely not survivable by humans or spacecraft.
I think clouds can float if they are frozen I know this is very farfetched but what if only the outer layer of the cloud was frozen and all the gases in it keep it afloat.
Even if this is right it wouldn't be able to support the weight of the ship and base as it does in the movie.
There's a reason why the frozen clouds can still float on the air.That's because the atmosphere is mixed with planets gravity and black hole's gravity pull so its like pulling the frozen cloud with two hands one from the sky and one from the ground.
Mann's planet orbits Gargantua which is a black hole. I think because of the strong gravity that the Gargantua offers, holds the clouds in the air. Moreover it feels like the clouds are connected to some mountains giving them extra support.