The planet was first visited by Dr. Mann, ten years prior to the launch of Endurance. Upon arrival, Mann realizes his planet was uninhabitable. With his robot companion KIPP, they dropped probes at nearby locations with the hope of finding a rocky, habitable surface, below the frozen clouds they stood on. After years of probing and exploration, they found no surface. This demoralized and infuriated Dr. Mann, yet KIPP was determined to increase the probe's range and continue their search. He cannibalized KIPP, using its power-source for extra energy for his hypersleep chamber, while rigging the robot to explode if someone attempted to access its archives - which would unveil the truth about his world. When the Endurance crew arrive, they awaken Dr. Mann, who convinces them that his world is habitable.
The crew immediately begins to deliver supplies and shelters on the planet, with Cooper deciding to use the Endurance to return home as soon as their base was completed. While surveying for a suitable site for the colony, Dr. Mann, knowing his planet could never sustain human life, attempts to murder Cooper. Dr. Mann needed the Endurance to survive and complete Plan-B with the surviving crew. Meanwhile, Romilly successfully accessed KIPP's archives, which revealed the true data of Dr. Mann's planet. Before Romilly could inform the others, the robot detonates, killing him in an explosion. Knowing that Cooper survived and Romilly was gone, Dr. Mann decides to take over the Endurance in order to start a human colony on Edmund's planet. Dr. Mann docks with the Endurance, but imperfectly, unaware that his docking ring was unable to firmly latch itself to the ship. Despite Cooper and Brand's protests, Dr. Mann opens the pressurized hatch. The explosive decompression rips open the hatch, violently throwing Dr. Mann into the docking port of the Endurance, killing him instantly.
Aside from Dr. Mann's falsified analysis of the planet, the planet does have 67 hour-long days and 67 hour-long nights. No surface was ever found, in fact, the planet is honeycombed with seemingly endless layers of frozen ice-cloud crevices and mountains. He surmised this from the sublimating ice clouds, which, after a while, would totally evaporate. Therefore, the clouds must freeze and evaporate repeatedly, which Thorne believed could be caused by the eccentricity of Mann's orbit. The planet's gravity is 80% of Earth's gravity. It is so cold that even the clouds are frozen, giving the disconcerting view of vertical mountains. While the planet has water and an atmosphere, it is thick with ammonia, making it deadly to breathe. Probably surface atmosphere is able to breathe due to low altitude. The surface temperature is not cold enough to be fatal instantaneously during the day,, but is well below at least the freezing point of pure water of 32 degrees F (0 C) or at most the freezing point of pure ammonia of -108 degrees F (-77.8 C). Due to the presence of frozen clouds and the evaporation of carbon dioxide clouds, it seems possible or even probable that the sky is usually never seen from the solid ice.
In the 2008 version of the script, the crew of the Endurance arrive on the Ice Planet and descend to a habitable, subterranean biosphere, inhabited by an alien ecosystem called "fractal life." They soon discover a Chinese outpost that is largely abandoned, save for a few security androids. They discover that a nearby neutron star sends out pulses of intense radiation once every 24 hours, which presumably killed the Chinese astronauts that attempted to complete its construction. Upon much searching, they fall through a crevice where they find the Gravity Box.
- Dr. Mann was marooned on this planet for 35 years, as evidenced by the 23-year time dilation on Miller, the two-year trip to Saturn and the launch of the Lazarus missions which predated Endurance's launch by ten years. Because of cryogenic hibernation, Mann was able to significantly slow his aging, but it did not help his mental health.
- Chemically minded viewers might sneer at Dr. Mann's explanation of the planet's surface, which is supposedly low enough that the chlorine in the atmosphere doesn't reach it (what with chlorine being so heavy that in most atmospheres it should sink to the bottom rather than remain floating at height). A hint of the lie that is told.