Ad Astra

Ad Astra (2019)

15 mistakes

(7 votes)

Factual error: It is stated that at the start of the mission it is "almost full moon", the earth as seen from the moon must then be crescent, and not 3/4 full as seen on the buggydrive.

Factual error: It is not possible that Pitt could have gone up to the ship when it was already blasting off. There was literally fire in the tunnel.

Factual error: Pitt and the other astronauts fight at zero gravity during the take off. However, they are under acceleration, so they wouldn't be able to move.

Factual error: From the continuity of the movie it appears that the response from LIMA came within a few minutes of the transmission from Mars. This would be impossible. Even if Mars and Neptune were on the same side of the Solar System, in a straight line, they would be 4 light-hours apart, meaning the replay could not be received less than 8 hours after transmission. There's no implication that they kept Brad Pitt sitting in a room for 8 hours waiting for a reply.

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Suggested correction: IIRC, there was a communication sent from earlier. It's very possible they resumed 8 hours later, even if it was the next day. And, judging by the auditors sentiment to LIMAs response (discretion), there is a chance that LIMA did not respond favorably, nor ever would have a chance hear the "emotional" version of the communication sent that day.

Suggested correction: The objective of sending McBride to Mars was for him to transmit a number of appeals to his father on a familial level. Although McBride didn't know it, his messages were intended to catch his father off-guard, making him believe his son was en route to Neptune, but actually clearing the way for a nuclear strike against the LIMA. Unfortunately, the movie fails to make it clear that the younger McBride is transmitting several sequential messages over an extended period of time before his father finally responds. This is more a matter of bad pacing and editing than it is a factual error.

Charles Austin Miller

It was shown that the message the father answered was exactly the one in which the son rejected the script and began to speak from the heart. And this was the same message after which the father immediately answered, while the son was still in the room.

No, Roy McBride sent more than one message, and it even shows time pass between messages. His father's reply to an earlier message only arrived coincidentally as Roy went off-script on a subsequent message.

Charles Austin Miller

Factual error: When driving across the moon, Brad Pitt waves his hand through lunar dust that's floating in the air. But there's no atmosphere on the moon to suspend dust like that, even if was kicked up by another buggy - it would fall straight back down.

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Suggested correction: Dust particles become charged by electrostatic and radiated by Ultraviolet rays from the sun. This would cause the dust particles would leap several centimeters above the surface of the moon and the lack of gravity would keep them floating there. This is why the moon has a 'Horizon Glow'. Source:

But these aren't "several centimetres" above the surface - they're a good metre or more up, at head height when sitting in the lunar rover.

There is no lack of gravity at that height. The particles would tend to fall back down to the surface like anything else would. They'd stay suspended at a constant altitude only if there's an upward force to balance the downward force. Even given that much, individual particles would not stay suspended stably owing to dynamics spelled out in Earnshaw's Theorem.

Factual error: Regarding people walking on the moon base, the movie made no attempts at recreating the moon's gravity being 1/6 of earth's. Everyone just walks around normally like on earth. Impossible.

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Suggested correction: Maybe there is some kind of artificial gravity field around the moon city, because during the moon rover chase, the gravity is apparently the normal, 1/6 Earth gravity.

There is nothing else about the technology shown in the film that would suggest such a thing is possible. All other technology shown is somewhat recognisable as an advancement on the present day. They at no point suggest the use of artificial gravity.

This correction appears to be made by someone guessing without knowledge of the film or scene. While using "maybe" in a correction could be considered valid, generally it's only when presenting a number of plausible explanations and you suggest 1 as an example. But 1 random maybe isn't acceptable, especially without in-film proof.


If the artificial gravity is developed it can be used in space travel also. But we don't see any during their space travels that they have any form of artificial gravity.

Character mistake: During the debrief meeting with the generals, Roy states the Lima Project was "some 29 years ago" and "the ship disappeared approximately 16 years into the mission." A few minutes later, Roy narrates "I was 16 when he left, 29 when he disappeared." This of course is only 13 years into the mission. (00:11:27 - 00:15:03)

Factual error: A nuclear explosion couldn't kick start a rocket on its journey home as shown. There's no atmosphere, hence no shockwaves to help propel the ship forwards.

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Suggested correction: The explosion itself is still a projection of energy that would push the ship. The plan itself is stupid, as it would be impossible to correctly set a trajectory, but the explosion would still push the ship.

The only way the explosion could transfer energy to the ship would be if massive pieces of the Lima slammed into the ship, destroying it.

What the spacecraft needs is some way to acquire momentum from the explosion. The explosion does convert a great deal of nuclear energy in the form of radiation, but not very much useful momentum. This was a major hurdle attacked during Project Orion back in the early 1960s, which was a program to develop an interplanetary spaceship propelled by exploding a series of nuclear bombs near to an aft pusher plate. The solution was to coat the plate's surface with a material which would ablate off the plate. The material would rise in temperature under the intensely hot radiation, with its molecular constituents vibrating violently. At a critical temperature the outermost molecules would attain escape velocity and scatter off the plate aftward. Momentum is conserved, so the aftward momentum of each escaping molecule would be balanced by an equal increase of forward momentum by the spacecraft.

The explosion creates violently expanding gases that apparently were great enough to offer some push to the rocket. Since there is no friction in space to act against the force, theoretically the ship would be pushed at the same speed as the expanding gases.


Factual error: The Cepheus appears to be under continuous acceleration on the way to Mars, and to Neptune. That would be the only way it could travel so far so fast. So, there would not be weightlessness any any time on board the ship, unless the engines were turned off.

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Suggested correction: You are making an assumption that Cepheus was under constant acceleration. It could have accelerated to the desired speed then "cruised" at that speed the rest of the way.


If Cefeus travels to Neptune in only 79 days, it should fly 500 km per second. It's a long time to accelerate to this fantastic speed, and long time to decelerate, whole time of travel easily.

Character mistake: Brad Pitt ends his message to his dad by saying "over and out", which is often used in movies but not how radio communication works. "Over" signifies the end of your current speech, "out" means you're done with the conversation. You use one or the other, not both.

Character mistake: Brad Pitt has control jets on his space suit - he uses them to accelerate him back towards his ship at the end, but somehow doesn't think to turn himself around and use them to slow down, hence slamming into the ship at great speed. Given the skill he demonstrates every other time in the movie, this only seems to happen for the sake of a dramatic arrival.

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Suggested correction: It is not unfeasible that he used the RPS fuel to accelerate and had none left, since he already wasted a certain amount after his father pulled him away from Lima station.

In space you can't just swing around and change directions because there is no friction or gravity. He would have to have a jet that shoots forward (a retrorocket) or he would have to turn using the jets which would make him go in the opposite direction, not slow him down. From what I saw, there was no retrorocket on his pack.


There were retrorockets in his father's suite, he was flying in space using them. Why there was no such rockets in Roy's suite, wasn't it exactly the same? Helmets were identical, and other details too. He could slow him down.

Factual error: There no explanation given for why Cepheus does not have enough fuel to return to Earth. It would have been refueled on Mars and sent on a mission to Neptune. They wouldn't have sent it without enough fuel to return.

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Suggested correction: It's never specifically stated, but the implication is that they are going to destroy LIMA with a nuclear weapon, and the ship and astronauts are not expected to survive.

wizard_of_gore Premium member

The other astronauts knew the purpose of the travel, it's very unlikely they would have gone there to die.

Unlikely but not impossible. The suggested correction, however unlikely, is still valid.

Factual error: In the movie, Neptune is shown having bright, wide rings. While the planet does have rings, in reality, they are very faint and thin. They were barely visible even from Voyager 2's flyby of the planet in 1989. They are nowhere near as big and bright as seen in the movie.

Character mistake: When Cepheus stops accelerating (which it would not have done until it turned to decelerate) crew plays in zero G's like amateurs who had never been in space. They were described as professionals with a lot of experience. They would never have risked fluid in the electronics by doing what they did.

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Suggested correction: In fairness, they were on drugs (mood stabilisers) at the time. This might have affected their judgement.

Roy McBride: I'm steady, calm. I slept well, no bad dreams. I am active and engaged. I'm aware of my surroundings and those in my immediate sphere. I'm attentive. I am focused on the essentials, to the exclusion of all else. I'm unsure of the future but I'm not concerned. I will rely on those closest to me, and I will share their burdens, as they share mine. I will live and I will love.

More quotes from Ad Astra

Trivia: When Roy McBride is reviewing a top-secret message regarding his father and the LIMA mission, the message filename is "6EQUJ5," which is a very obscure easter egg in the movie. The filename 6EQUJ5 refers to the real-life "WOW Signal," a deep space radio signal received by the Big Ear radio telescope at Ohio State University in 1977. The alpha-numeric designation "6EQUJ5" was a printed readout of the signal's duration and intensity. This signal lasted 72 seconds and was 20 times stronger than background radio noise, causing a surprised astronomer to circle the printed 6EQUJ5 readout in red ink and make the handwritten notation "WOW!" in the margin. While the signal was an anomalous one-time event that was never repeated, and there is still no proof that 6EQUJ5 was alien in origin, it has stimulated debate about extraterrestrial radio signals for decades. Ironically, the movie "Ad Astra" concludes that there are no alien radio signals and that we really are alone in the universe.

Charles Austin Miller

More trivia for Ad Astra

Question: How did the monkeys get onto the space ship and why were they so aggressive?

Answer: On the way from the Moon to Mars, the Cepheus interplanetary vessel receives an automated distress signal from a Norwegian bio-medical space station (that studies and conducts experiments on Earth animals in the deep-space environment). Apparently, a couple of very powerful and temperamental adult baboons escaped from their cages and killed everyone aboard the space station, feeding on their bodies. When the Cepheus answers the distress signal and arrives at the space station, the baboons attack and try to eat Captain Tanner and Roy McBride, also.

Charles Austin Miller

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