The Lazarus missions were launched by NASA, ten years prior to the Endurance's departure from Earth. There were twelve landing pods sent to twelve potentially habitable planets which could sustain human life. It is presumed that none of the astronauts that disembarked on the missions survived. It is unknown where the other systems are located.
Ten years prior to the Endurance mission, twelve Rangers, each carrying a landing pod, were sent through the wormhole, led by Dr. Mann. Each landing pod had sufficient life support for two years, but with hypersleep chambers, the astronauts could extend their observations over a decade or more. Their mission was to assess their world and send reports back to Earth via a binary pings on an annual basis, giving a clue of which planet would be suitable for human colonization. When introduced to the mission, Joseph Cooper remarks that it would be impossible to rescue all twelve astronauts due to NASA's limited resources. Doyle made it clear that "bravery" fueled the Lazarus expedition members due to the unlikelihood of ever being rescued, thus many of the other planets of Mann's colleagues are presumed to be lost causes.
Of the twelve astronauts sent, three potentially habitable worlds were found by Dr. Mann, Laura Miller, and Wolf Edmunds that were in the Pantagruel/Gargantua system. It was the only promising system the Lazarus missions found for the Endurance to ensure humanity's survival.
Upon arrival on Miller's planet, it was quickly discovered that Laura Miller's landing pod was destroyed by the immense waves caused by the tidal forces of Gargantua. Due to the time slippage caused by Gargantua's immense gravity field, Brand realized she probably died minutes prior to their arrival, unable to warn NASA of the dangerous waves.
After the decision is made to proceed to Dr. Mann's planet, the crew revive Dr. Mann, who begins to share his discoveries. His data was promising, showing drinkable water, organics, and breathable air on the planet's surface, yet has all the resources for human colonization. As the crew unloads supplies from the Endurance, it is revealed that Dr. Mann had falsified the data, earlier claiming his planet a habitable surface when in reality it did not. Mann and KIPP found only seemingly endless layers of frozen clouds. After learning that Cooper wanted to use the Endurance to return to Earth, Dr. Mann attempted to kill him and frame his death as an accident. He intended to gradually persuade the rest of the crew to colonize Edmunds' planet instead. But when learning that Romilly was killed by his trap and Brand was rescuing Cooper, he then decided to maroon the crew. However, when attempting to dock to the Endurance, he was killed by airlock depressurization which also severely damaged the Endurance.
Finally, after using a powered gravitational slingshot around Gargantua, Brand successfully arrived on Edmunds planet where she began to establish a colonial infrastructure. CASE and Brand made the discovery that Dr. Edmunds was killed by a rock slide that crushed his Lazarus pod and hypersleep chamber.
List of missions
- Dr. Wong (MIA, presumed DECEASED): Photo is visible in the conference room at NASA headquarters.
- Dr. Laura Miller (DECEASED): Photo is visible in the conference room at NASA headquarters.
- Dr. Eric Hale (MIA, presumed DECEASED): Photo is visible in the conference room at NASA.
- Dr. Mann (Lazarus 4) (DECEASED): Scientist landed on an ammonia rich ice world orbiting Pantagruel-Gargantua binary. Killed during an imperfect lock in attempt to steal the Endurance and complete Plan B. His robotic companion KIPP was decommissioned after providing a requested "theoretical model" that would make his planet seem promising to NASA. KIPP was destroyed during Romilly's attempt to analyze the true data, which killed Romilly and destroyed Dr. Mann's Landing pod.
- Dr. Morin (MIA, presumed DECEASED).
- Dr. Yashin (MIA, presumed DECEASED).
- Dr. Lee (MIA, presumed DECEASED).
- Dr. Wolf Edmunds (Lazarus 12) (DECEASED): Particle physicist landed on a habitable desert world orbiting the Pantagruel-Gargantua system. Killed during a rockslide near his pod while in hypersleep. His unnamed robotic companion may have perished as well.
- Dr. Oita (MIA, presumed DECEASED).
- Dr. Ostro (MIA, presumed DECEASED).
- Dr. Pila (MIA, presumed DECEASED).
- Dr. Somov (MIA, presumed DECEASED).
- PLEX (MIA, presumed DESTROYED): Robotic companion for one of the other twelve astronauts. In the Interstellar Text Adventure game, it and their astronaut companion land on a geologically unstable planet where they most likely perished.
- The Lazarus program is named after Lazarus of Bethany, aka Saint Lazarus. He is a biblical figure who was restored to life by the works of Jesus Christ. The name choice most likely reflects mankind's resurrection by exploring interstellar space.
- Presuming that all the other Lazarus mission scientists were never rescued or returned to Earth, all the scientists are now dead or will be when their Hypersleep chamber fails.