Plot hole: During the Congressional hearing, it is suggested that the alien signal could have been faked from a satellite - as Ellie only has her own experience to go on, it leaves her believing what happened, but still with an element of doubt. However, as a professional astronomer, Ellie would have immediately dismissed this since a simple parallax (triangulation) would have confirmed that source was at the distance of Vega - a distance far too great for any rocket to reach. (This is mentioned in the book). In fact, this is mentioned early in the film, when the employees in New Mexico calculate the source of the signal while it is transmitting prime numbers.
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.
Ellie Arroway: I work for a project called seti.
Palmer Joss: Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence? Wow, that's out there.
Question: In the few seconds (Earth time) it took for the pod to fall through the time travel device, it would have been impossible for Ellie to have become detached from the safety seat. It would have been even less possible for the seat to have become dislodged from the pod, AND for the seat to smash against the side of the pod with sufficient force crush it. I understand there was a cover-up (e.g., the 18 hours of static on her recording device), but Ellie, herself, would have remembered the dislodged, smashed seat. Why did she never bring it up in defense of her version of the facts? Was there a reason someone knows of, or is this just a plot hole?
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