Dustin Hoffman plays the role of Norman Goodman, a psychologist. He is a person who is brought to plane crashes to give therapy to the survivors so when he is flown to somewhere in the Pacific, he thinks he's being flown to the site of a plane crash. When he arrives, he meets up with four other leaders of their respective scientific fields. Beth Halperin (Sharon Stone) a doctor, Harry Adams (Samuel L. Jackson) a mathemetician, and Ted Fielding (Liev Schreiber) an astrophysicist. The four have been taken to a group of military boats where they are briefed on what's happening. Informed that the US had found something of alien architecture (a ship perhaps) down in the bottom of the ocean that had been there for 300 years, the four are taken down into a temporary "habitat" at the bottom of the ocean set up by the military 1,000 feet below the surface.
Upon arrival, this "contact" team get into suits and go into what appears to be a door on the side of the structure. Mysteriously, the door opens and they step through. Yes, now, it appears to be a space ship, there are strange radioactive shielding on the insides of the ship and the materials the ship is made of is unknown to man. The group seperate into two. Both groups walks through various walkways and doors which happen to be perfect for the size of a human. This is when one group comes upon a metal container on the side which has the words "trash" on top of it, making them realize that this, is an American spaceship. The other group meanwhile, comes upon the bridge of the ship and when they press a button on the flight recorder, a virtual reality scene is shown where the ship flies into what appears to be a black hole....? They say to themselves, interesting, but let's move on. The other group meanwhile, finds what can only be described as a sphere, and calls the first group to where they are. The sphere is a "perfect" sphere. Yellow, golden-ish, it has slight fluctuations on the surface, yet is solid. Mesmerized, but out of air, the group returns to the habitat to gather their thoughts. However, just as they're prepared to go again, the surface calls them up and tells them that a typhoon or something is going to blow through up on the surface and the boats must leave in 6 hours, so at that time, they are to be extracted. At this point, Harry deductively observes that they're all "going to die." Why else would the flight recorder on the space ship from the future have said "unknown entry" when it flew through the black hole, and back in time? Anyways, the four scientists go to sleep but when Norman wakes up, it seems that Harry Adams has mysteriously disappeared! In the control room, he sees through the camera that was put by the sphere that Harry is next to the sphere. NEXT, to the sphere and then.. gone.