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Early in the film the Fifield's 'Pups' (The red survey balls) are released to map the structure. After they have done the mapping one of them stops at the end of a passage.

We later discover this is the entrance to the Alien Spaceship, or perhaps a door within the spaceship.

Later when Milburn and Fifield are stranded in the pyramid structure after becoming lost trying to find the way out, Janek (back on the ship) notices that this pup is "pinging" a life form. But not consistently so they suspect it was a glitch in the pup.

Is this pup picking up the engineer in the stasis pod? If so what accounts for the inconsistent nature of detection? If not, what Life-form is the pup detecting?

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Keep in mind Prometheus is one of the most scientifically inaccurate films ever made! – cregox Apr 22 '14 at 23:08
up vote 10 down vote accepted

Is this pup picking up the engineer in the stasis pod?

Yes, certainly the pup picking up the engineer in the stasis pod.

Reason for the inconsistent nature of detection:

To stay alive, you need to maintain some level of metabolism, and a heartbeat on every hour makes some sense. Suspended animation isn't a complete freezing of the body.

Notice that at times there is a light in the stasis pod that comes on for a short while and then goes.That may be simply due to the slowing down of the metabolism in stasis.

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Good answer. Could you also explain why the probes do not detect the worms that are visible to the naked eye, nor the snake-like creatures that the worms become? – Shiz Z. Jun 16 '12 at 14:07
ISTR from Aliens that the aliens do not show up on infra red, perhaps it was something similar? – Stefan Jun 19 '12 at 8:09
@ShaneFinneran The pups probably didn't detect the worms or snake-like creatures as they weren't there when the pups passed through. They only evolved afterwards. – AidanO Nov 19 '12 at 16:12

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