Skip to content Skip to navigation


Josh Sullivan's picture

This Is No Time For Caution


I'm going through a bit of an Interstellar kick lately, and just like most fans of the movie, the matched-spin docking scene BLOWS MY MIND on so many levels. [Spoiler Alert!]  Earlier in the movie, "the remarkable" Dr. Mann describes the limitations of using robots by saying "robots don't improvise well because you can't program a fear of death."  The docking scene plays on this exchange when CASE exclaims "Cooper, it's not possible" to which Coop iconically replies "No.  It's necessary."  Whether it's CASE's 90/10 truth setting coming in to play to protect Cooper from making an extremely difficult yet possible maneuver, or really a lack of improvisational skills, by all means docking with the Endurance spinning at 68 rpm is damn near impossible!

As a student whose research focuses on spacecraft formation flying and rendezvous, this scene particularly strikes a chord.  It is an impressive illustration of spacecraft relative dynamics and docking that's enough to make anyone in my field giddy with motivation and excitement (Admittedly, I pondered building a simulator to recreate the scene, but resigned due to the fact that I actually have real work to do).  I particularly enjoy the cinematographic choice of having a view of the docking sequence as a fixed observer on the Endurance, watching the ranger and Mann's planet spinning in and out of frame.  

I'm not even going to get into the music for this movie... remember- MIND BLOWN!  

I think it's safe to say that now I have the perfect response to my advisor if (*when) he shoots down my ideas by saying it is not possible....

"No professor.  It's necessary."