In Interstellar, how did they know that the water on Miller's planet would be shallow just before landing, when they clearly didn't know that the entire planet was covered in water in the first place? Also, what would have happened if the planet wasn't shallow and was actually as deep as oceans?

  • 2
    Maybe they saw the wreckage of the other ship. But I would think they would have floated either way, since they were "floating" while riding the wave.
    – PiousVenom
    Commented Apr 6, 2015 at 14:24
  • 3
    I don't have the script or anything so I can't say what their excuse was, but I'm sure they had ground radar and other tools that could tell the water was shallow. Plus they're following the scientist's beacon and they knew/assumed the scientist would have set up camp in an appropriate place. Commented Apr 6, 2015 at 14:28
  • @Rijumone, do you want a canon source or will a plausible explanation serve? If the latter, I recommend Robert Wertz promote his comment to an answer.
    – Jim2B
    Commented Apr 7, 2015 at 20:41
  • @MyCodeSucks how did they "know" they would float?
    – Rijumone
    Commented Apr 8, 2015 at 6:24
  • 2
    @Rijumone: It's possible the craft is made to float, and they would know that much.
    – PiousVenom
    Commented Apr 8, 2015 at 13:08

1 Answer 1


In the official novelisation, they added an additional line of dialogue to suggest that Brand was monitoring some kind of remote sensor, possibly an active radar of some description.

Cooper banked as hard as he could, trying to shed more speed. The surface was coming fast.

“It’s shallow,” Brand said. “Feet deep…”


The retro-rockets kicked in just above the surface, punching back against their velocity. He tried to hold it, but the craft slewed sideways as the landing gear came down. They dropped, hit the water, casting up a spray. The impact nearly jarred Cooper’s teeth loose, but he held on stubbornly. Then when the air cleared, they were down, and everything looked good. Brand had been right — the water was really, really shallow — so much so that the landing gear held the Ranger just above the surface.

This line is also found in the final draft screenplay. Presumably it was simply cut in editing.

DOYLE : Just water.

BRAND : The stuff of life ...

CASE : Twelve hundred meters out.

Cooper BANKS sharply, eases down.

BRAND : It's shallow. Feet deep ...


The Ranger is low now, kicking up backwash

In the film itself, we (and presumably Cooper) can see that the downthrust is penetrating all the way to the sea bed:

enter image description here

  • Ah good to know... I think it adds more drama wondering if they are going to plunge into the abyss with every step they took running around in that water. Commented Apr 23, 2019 at 1:12

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.