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Early on in Ad Astra, Roy McBride (Brad Pitt's character) is told "Major, we would like you to send a personal message on Mars by secure laser to what we hope is the Lima Project." Then, he travels to Mars to record a message that will be sent to his dad who's around Neptune.

My question is, why did he have to go all the way to Mars to merely record a message? Couldn't they just have him record a message on Earth, send the message to Mars and then the folks on Mars could have sent the message to Neptune by secure laser? I mean, after getting a response from his dad, they wanted nothing to do with Roy anyway. They were going to send him back to Earth. It's not like they were going to ask him to travel to Neptune if his dad responded. They didn't. His dad responded and they tried to send him to Earth.

So the only reason they brought him all the way to Mars was just to have him record a message that could have been recorded on Earth just as easily. He would have recorded the message on Earth, the message would have been sent to Mars, then the folks on Mars would have transmitted the message to Neptune by secure laser. It's that simple. The only way this film works is if he's asked to go to Mars. If he doesn't go to Mars, there is no film. But the reason he's asked to go there doesn't make any sense at all. Or does it? Am I missing something?

  • Please do not show spoilers in the title. – Jason P Sallinger Jan 22 at 18:15
  • Perhaps they just wanted him to suffer a hellishly boring ride through space minus physics so as to silence his never ending daddy issue narrative he seems to want to bestow upon us all. – Kai Qing Feb 29 at 0:17
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I am not gonna lie, I don't think that you will get a satisfying answer to your question.

I guess the reason is that it is a top secret mission and they don't want to take the risk of the transmission being intercepted or anything. Also, he does not send only one message, but does it every day for quite a while before getting an answer.

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Perhaps because the surge destroyed the space antena on earth, making it impossible to transmit any messages to Mars in the first place. Wild guess..because honestly, there's more than one plot hole in this movie in my opinion ;)

In the briefing around 13 minutes the generals says "Our underground mars base was the only one unaffected by the surge". Right before that when Pitt asks why Mars the general answers with "It is the last secure hub we have".

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We don't know what McBride's superiors originally wanted McBride to do. The movie was shown through McBride's perspective--anything he doesn't know, we, the audience, also don't know.

They may have originally wanted McBride to travel to Neptune from Mars, but changed their minds based on the response they got from McBride's father (something else we never really learn).

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