8

When the astronauts in Interstellar reach Mann (the planet and the ..man) they receive a disturbing message from Cooper's daughter Murphy.

She states that Dr. Brand (senior) had already 'solved' the equation he was working on to the maximum extent he could, but lacked vital data from a black hole in order to complete it. Since they had no way to get the data, the entire 'Plan A' is a sham and there is no way to save the people remaining on Earth.

As they are reeling from this news and from Murph's (incorrect) accusation that Coop and Dr Brand (junior) knew before departure, Mann further surprises them by admitting that he knew all along.

Given Mann's later actions, ..no scratch that, given the possibility of how that knowledge might make him behave, why was he given information that was deemed too dangerous to give to the later crew?

I'm thinking it should have been plausible to advise all the 'first mission' volunteers that even if their planet was not suitable, no problem, put themselves into deep sleep (or whatever they called the suspended animation chambers) and we'd drop by and pick them up once we'd become established on a suitable planet.

I can't really understand why anyone that left Earth needed the information, so why give it to Mann?

11

Because Mann wasn't just another volunteer. The Lazarus missions were Mann's own plan. He seems to have originated it, along with Brand Sr. when it became apparent that their "anti-grav spaceship" plan wasn't going to get off the ground (pun intended).

Not only did Mann craft the plan and encourage the eleven other scientist/astronauts to take part but he himself volunteered to take part in it as their leader.

“Remarkable,” she said. “The best of us. My father’s protégé. He inspired eleven people to follow him on the loneliest journey in human history.” A different sort of passion flared in her eyes, and he saw some of her father there. “Scientists, explorers,” she said. “That’s what I love. Out there we face great odds. Death. But not evil.”

Obviously he later came to regret this decision, but that's a different question.

  • The word that really jumps out of the quote is protégé. I had not remembered that detail. It implies that Dr Brand and Mann might have been working on the formula together. If Brand was despondent one day after realizing the need for unobtainable data, it might have prompted Mann to invent the missions to both cheer him up and ensure the human race had a chance. – Andrew Thompson Jun 18 '15 at 9:12
  • @AndrewThompson - Brand's actions were very odd and largely out of character based on what we were told about him... – Valorum Jun 18 '15 at 10:50

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