“By doing this, you’re willing to give your life, you’re willing to die for it. Why?”
The skeptical scientist Dr. Ellie Arroway researches extraterrestrial life with her team in Puerto Rico. When David Drumlin (Tom Skerritt) shuts-down the project, Ellie seeks for private funds to reopen her research in New Mexico. An anonymous millionaire provides the necessary funds and Ellie proceeds with her work. Four years later, she is contacted by alien forms from Vega that send a coded message. The millionaire S.R. Hadden that is financing the research deciphers the message and gives to Ellie the design of an intriguing machine. Ellie concludes that the equipment might be to transport a passenger to Vega. Now she needs to convince a commission formed by military, politicians, scientists and religious leaders that she is the best candidate for the journey.