Contact

Corrected entry: Towards the end of the film, when they review Foster's footage of her supposed space trip, they note that about 18 hours of static has been recorded, but she was only off the cameras for a split second. Foster claims to have traveled to a distant region of space and claims the trip may have lasted for hours (the camera static supports this), and that the cameras on the machine may have only missed her for a split second "Earth time". But, this contradicts Einstein's special theory of relativity, which states that time will slow down for objects traveling closer to the speed of light (which Foster was doing) relative to objects at rest (observers on earth). If Foster truly traveled for almost 18 hours, as she states, and as her camera records, then it would be impossible for the stationary observers on Earth to see her gone for only a split second. They would have to had to recorded her as being gone for far, far longer than 18 hours.

Correction: A slightly technical answer, but Sagan has used another consequence of general relativity to get around the time-dilation effects of close-to-luminal velocities. The Einstein-Rosen bridge, or 'wormhole', is link between two distant points in space which allows matter and energy to travel between them without crossing the intervening space. Now the ?wormhole? get out is not without its own problems - which it is well beyond our current capability to even comprehensively understand never mind solve. Purely in theoretical terms though it would allow both for Ellie to travel to distant areas of the galaxy at (effectively) faster-than-light speeds, and also to (effectively) travel back in time by arriving back at her start point with zero time elapsed after a journey of 18 hours. Unfortunately the ?worm hole? has been used in a number of other slightly less fastidious sci-fi settings (Star Trek Deep Space 9, Stargate SG-1) and might now be seen as being something ridiculous or impossible. Whilst the portrayal of wormholes in these programmes is often based more on fantasy than science, the underlying theory is sound, as one would expect from a scientist with Carl Sagan?s reputation. Indeed in his updates to the seminal factual series ?Cosmos?, Sagan mentions his discussions with Kip Thorne about the use of wormholes as a plot device in ?Contact?. For more information about our current understanding of wormholes see ?The Universe in a Nutshell? or ?A Brief History of Time? by Dr. Stephen Hawking.

Corrected entry: During Jodi Foster's "trip" she releases herself from her chair which eventually breaks and smashes in the sphere. This couldn't have happened during the tenths of a second of the sphere's fall without her being seriously injured, so that might be a good proof that the trip really happened.

Correction: Well, the U.S. Government knows the trip really happened, they covered it up, so it's unlikely they will let the public know that the chair broke off, it would make people ask questions.

troy fox

Factual error: When Mr. Hadden reviews Ellie's life history on his airplane, he says she graduated from MIT 'magna cum laude'. This is impossible, as MIT does not award academic honors to graduates.

More mistakes in Contact

Ellie Arroway: Mathematics is the only true universal language.

More quotes from Contact

Trivia: John Hurt (S.R. Hadden) and Tom Skerrit (Dr. Drumlin) were both in 1979's Alien. They both died in each movie as well.

William Bergquist
More trivia for Contact

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