Why is ageing effect limited to only living organisms in Interstellar?

Would electronics gadgets too get aged? I mean performance must get worse over the course of time. I think TARS and other gadgets must stop functioning over the course of time.

  • What makes you think those super high tech robots won't survive a few years of waiting? Especially when they could just turn themselves off (or go into power saving mode) for most of the time.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Dec 4 '14 at 18:57
  • not to mention zero g and vacuum of space often preserves the components. Dec 4 '14 at 19:17
  • @NapoleonWilson there's a proof that advance electronics gadgets wont survive more than few years. its cause of reduced dimensions. hot carrier injection Dec 4 '14 at 19:21
  • 25 relative years for military spec computers that spent most of their life in sleep mode isn't unlikely.
    – cde
    Sep 28 '15 at 7:29

I guess you are adressing the 23 years that the Endurance with Romilly and TARS waited in space while Cooper and the others were down at Miller's planet, since that is the only significant time that the Endurance and one of its robot crew members had to keep waiting (well, apart from the 2-years trip to the wormhole and the months they travel around on the other side of it).

First of all, this is really very high tech equipment produced especially for long time space travel and dangerous environments and use cases (TARS and his colleagues started as military security robots and the Endurance is a spaceship). They especially considered considerably long journeys and durabilities for their travels, seeing that they would have to go 2 years to Saturn in the first place and that the missions of the first 12 were started 10 years ago. So we can assume the tech aboard the Endurance as well as the robots can physically survive for quite a bunch of years without a significant amount of deterioration. Afterall, I would surmise there are currently satellites in earth's orbit that've been there for decades.

Then there is also the energy problem. But again, nothing stops me from believing that NASA has the capabilities to equip its tech with an energy supply efficient enough if they're going to shoot it into space for years anyway. And in addition to that TARS and many of the ship's functions could have simply gone into power saving mode (which also might serve as preventing overusage) for a significant part of the waiting time, as Romilly also did afterall.

There might be aspects about the degradation of electronic devices that I have not considered, as you pointed out in a comment. But to this I can only say that the filmmakers likely just didn't consider this either, since they assumed the audience wouldn't care or notice at all and thus simply deemed it irrelevant for the story, easily to brush off as future tech likely being able to mitigate such problems. As much as I understand that someone very acquainted with the field might find this much more bothersome, it also has to be seen that the majority of the audience just won't notice this at all (in the same way you probably shouldn't ask an AI expert if he finds TARS and the others likely to exist even in 50 years). It's science fiction based on speculation and extrapolation afterall (scientific speculation for sure, but speculation nevertheless) and there have to be made trade-offs for the sake of the story.

The crew really had enough problems with the human factors of extensive time-dilation and the resulting age differences and shortage of time to rescue earth's inhabitants to not also introduce completely tangential technological problems in addition to that. This was just not the story's focus.

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