After the scuffle between Mann (Damon) and Cooper (McConaughey) in Interstellar, our protagonist gets a hold of a radio and alerts his shipmates to Mann's duplicity. Then his ship explodes. What happened there?


4 Answers 4


It was a booby-trap set by Mann. It was activated when his robot was rebooted and the hidden data was accessed. Mann set it to cover his tracks and hide the fact that his planet wasn't habitable.

  • I don't think the movie showed exactly why the base exploded but I agree with Brett. Mann must of set a booby-trap when rebooting the bot. The guy got killed(can't remember his name) did mention that the data does not look right
    – Huangism
    Commented Nov 13, 2014 at 14:27
  • 1
    Pretty much this. Mann had been falsifying his data in an effort to have an exploratory team come to his planet to possibly rescue him. His robot had the real data, so Mann had to disable the robot unless he wanted his secret to get out. He likely rigged it to self-destruct in the event someone tried to get it back online, which would cause them to learn of his falsified data. When Romilly is looking at the robot's screen after he manages to reboot it, he notes the data he's seeing doesn't look right for what Mann had been reporting. Then, boom.
    – MattD
    Commented Nov 13, 2014 at 15:19
  • 2
    Also remember that Mann said he used its power source to keep "the mission running". Might have connected it with an explosive material. Commented Mar 26, 2015 at 12:37

Could be because Mann had booby-trapped KIPP when he took its power cells for his cryo-sleep

Or at the very least pushed it to self-destruct mode (as TARS joked it would do when Cooper increased its humour percentage).


The way I interpreted this scene:

The mission coordinator sent robots to aid the humans on their journeys, not only to add company and tech/ physical support - but to counteract the human-element weakness/ strength - which is a theme in the film.

If a robot found that the world was uninhabitable - it was to self-destruct and kill the scientist, once it had sent a report of its findings (to prevent exactly what happened with Mann)

That is why I think he disabled/ tore apart the robot - and gave the lame excuse 'was using it to power my mission' - and why upon reboot - the reaction was 'this data makes no sense' - because the data was: 'planet uninhabitable' - the protagonist, antagonist and audience know this already - but the soon to be killed character just finds out, and is killed in an explosion.

(The robot at the end jokes about self-destructing, and as seen by the race to the main-ship - no weapons were ever taken, since it wasn't assumed there would be hostile life-forms - I would think they wouldn't have had explosives with them - it wasn't a mining/ prospecting mission, just analysing livability/ sustaining of life.)

These were world-class scientists - so could have Mcguyvered something from rocket-fuel and ammonia, and it seems cruel for the mission leader to murder his scientists - but as they said - they had no resources to recon all of them - and the 12 were willing to die to find a habitable planet. An explosion would be more humane than leaving them on an uninhabitable planet to slowly die.

  • 1
    They would die in cryostasis, so much more humane than explosives. It would also be fairly amoral of NASA to intentionally kill them, which counters anything in the film. It would also make Mann a likable character, as his only fault would be spur of the moment panic, instead of premeditated murder.
    – cde
    Commented Mar 13, 2017 at 5:10
  • And this can be verified in the script.
    – cde
    Commented Mar 13, 2017 at 5:11

At the moment that the robot realizes that human life is not viable, a procedure to self-destruct would start, with an intention to kill the scientist and don't let him send fake data about the planet, how happened in the movie.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .