Space 1999.

TheTomG

Thomas M. Grimes
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Used to love the show. It used to annoy the heck out of me that the moon could somehow be travelling not only faster than light, but totally crazily faster than light AND could slow right down to sublight speeds nearby interesting planets AND somehow in the vastness of space where it's mostly vacuum with nothing interesting in it, the moon was drawn, magnet-like, to only those worlds with something happening on them.

I mean a spaceship, sure, it *chooses* to go to those places, but this is a hunk of rock flying in a preset trajectory, so how come that kept happening?

I know, it's weird the things we can suspend belief on without a second thought, and which bug us. There's probably a psychological profiling technique that can be built around what we can suspend belief about and what we cannot.
 

Metryq

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so how come that kept happening?

To borrow a line from The Blues Brothers, they were on a mission from god. In just the second or third episode, Luna plunges through a wormhole, and Koenig and Bergman talk to god along the way. Also, the "survival ship" Eagle sent out in another direction somehow rejoins Alpha on the other side.

This divine intervention occurred in many other episodes, as well, such as "Collision Course" where Koenig must do nothing and allow Luna to "touch" another planet in its way. He was told that Luna's arrival had been expected for millions of years.

Then there was the closing episode, "Testament of Arkadia," whose major flaw—even though I am not religious—was depicting "Adam and Eve" as homicidal nut cases.

Space: 1999 was never meant to be taken literally.
 

Jeffbert

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I recall seeing a prop made from ERECTOR SET beams on the episode where they hope to emigrate to an ice planet. :D I suppose an entire thread could be made to discuss the use of consumer products as high tech items in scifi shows.
 

Metryq

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I suppose an entire thread could be made to discuss the use of consumer products as high tech items in scifi shows.

Without a doubt: Dr. McCoy's surgical salt shakers, a rechargeable flashlight masquerading as a rare laser pistol in Firefly, Luke defending the galaxy with a photographic flash unit—the list is endless. In fact, the Internet Movie Firearms Database is a fun place to look at all the real weapons modified into futuristic firearms.

However, I don't think those beams are actual Erector Set parts in the episode "Death's Other Dominion":

Death%252527s-Other-Dominion.jpg

The prop does look rather hokey, though. Space: 1999 had a lot of stuff like that, such as the security code bypass transmitter built by Queller in "Voyager's Return" with the chrome-topped lightbulbs from the interior decorator's store. Although I'm usually more fixed on the guest stars, such as Brian Blessed (what a voice!) and John Shrapnel in "Death's Other Dominion."
 

Huttman

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The true stars of the show were indeed the Eagles. They seem so practical for a real ship. And they were rendered so beautifully by the SFX of the day. It's been a while, but I think they would contend with today's fx. Amazing models, sets. I really would like to see them again.
If memory serves, wasn't the original explosion that launched the moon out of the Earth's orbit accompanied by a space/time warp? And did they not go through a few of those throughout the series? That would definitely explain how they got around so fast.
 

TheTomG

Thomas M. Grimes
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Ha, Brian Blessed! An awesome figure of a man, in more ways than one.

Cool gun page, I'm trying to find time to finish up my model of a realistic gun, with the thought that it would be fun to make a futuristic type version next, so this site is very useful, thanks!

The Eagles were awesome, lots of imagery of those all over the web, definitely liked how they moved away from the "jet fighter aircraft" look which is actually pretty meaningless in space, and into something that was more "tow truck of the future" with what is, as you say, a practical design compared to most of what we see on TV.
 

Jeffbert

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Death%252527s-Other-Dominion.jpg

If that is not ERECTOR, why all the little holes along the entire length of the beams? :)

As a whole, the series totally ignored the effects on the Earth itself without its moon. They may have reported how it affected earth, but focusing on the moon instead reminds me of an old FAR SIDE cartoon with a bird reporting the demise of another bird sucked into a jet engine, while totally ignoring the airplane that crashed & the passengers killed. :D
 

Metryq

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If that is not ERECTOR, why all the little holes along the entire length of the beams? :)

Let me put it this way: I'm no expert, although I played with Erector Sets ages ago. If the toy still exists, it may have changed. I don't recall beams of such length in the kits and doubt that any were sold. However, I've often seen such perforated metal in hardware stores for building things bigger than toys...such as movie props.

As a whole, the series totally ignored the effects on the Earth itself without its moon.

I don't know if you're being specious or flippant. By this argument, Star Trek was equally negligent by not covering everything going on outside the ship on Federation and non-Federation planets all over the galaxy. The same might be said of any other personal story every told.

I laugh at the people who peg the Eagle as the "most realistic" spaceship in dramatic sci-fi—just because it is non-aerodynamic and has visible RCS thrusters—while completely overlooking the total lack of scientific rigidity in the rest of the show. Considering that the Eagles were meant to make the Earth-to-Moon run in one step, one really should have expected some aerodynamic features. If not—because the ship apparently has power to burn—then Mankind in the series should have been all over the Solar system and even making the first interstellar jumps. Instead, they were burying nuclear waste on the Moon—a civilization with fusion powered Eagles would not be hauling nuclear waste. And so on.
 

Huttman

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I laugh at the people who peg the Eagle as the "most realistic" spaceship in dramatic sci-fi—just because it is non-aerodynamic and has visible RCS thrusters—while completely overlooking the total lack of scientific rigidity in the rest of the show. Considering that the Eagles were meant to make the Earth-to-Moon run in one step, one really should have expected some aerodynamic features. If not—because the ship apparently has power to burn—then Mankind in the series should have been all over the Solar system and even making the first interstellar jumps. Instead, they were burying nuclear waste on the Moon—a civilization with fusion powered Eagles would not be hauling nuclear waste. And so on.

It was a sci-fi show that required a lot of stretching of the imagination (see previous posts of the moon's traveling so fast). There was also the fact the moon base had normal Earth gravity while inside but moon gravity once you stepped outside. I'm sure the creators of the show went through long lengths to make it as feasible as possible for the viewers, but writing sci-fi is difficult because we don't know how things will be 30 years from now.

Onward to the Eagles. Someone earlier referred to them as space tow trucks, great analogy. To me, with today's technology, they would look to be excellent Earth orbit to moon haulers, as their design would be perfect for that. Aerodynamics have more to do with using the atmosphere with the wing lift theory. Also, we currently have no other way to return to Earth without plummeting down in a fireball, so some kind of aerodynamics would need to be employed there as well as some good heat shields (did the Eagles have star trek type shields? I forgot). The problem is if it could land on Earth, the fuel consumption would be too great to keep it aloft, let alone enter/leave planet surface just constantly using rockets, so I can see where your coming from.

As orbit/moon ships, they have a very realistic design to them, in my opinion. Of course the show pushed that realism greatly (artificial gravity inside for one). As for the burying of nuclear waste on the moon, I find that to be one of the most realistic scenarios of the show because politics probably decided that one. We have a lot of nuclear stuff that will not expire for thousands of years, so why not jettison it to the sun? But that's like, soooo far away.
 

Metryq

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We have a lot of nuclear stuff that will not expire for thousands of years, so why not jettison it to the sun? But that's like, soooo far away.

I've heard that one before, too, but dropping mass sunward is nothing compared to lifting it off the Earth in the first place. Many people seem to think of heavy elements as somehow "alien" to the Earth—all of it came from right here, and the energy released from radioactives is part of the dynamics of the planet.

The waste material from fission reactors can also be recycled so that most of the mass is "burned up." I know it is a contentious subject (for both technical and political reasons), but the recycling would be far cheaper than shipping it all to the Moon. Again, if compact fusion engines like those on the Eagles were possible, Earth would not be using fission reactors. Some types of (hypothetical) fusion reactors would produce waste material, but now we're really off on a tangent far outside the show. If the Eagles and Alpha had artificial gravity (and the anti-gravity shield in the episode "Black Sun"), then even the fusion engines would be superfluous. It might have been easier to have some kind of high tech experiment go awry, such as a radical new type of anti-matter reactor being tested on lunar farside before implementing it on Earth. Or perhaps a ground test of a new type of stardrive worked too well and "folded" the entire Moon through hyperspace.

I read one description, ostensibly from a "writer's guide" for the show, stating that the nuclear material being carted to the Moon was from dismantled weapons. Earth had survived a World War III (during which John Koenig lost his wife), but even that premise is ridiculous.

Going by only what it seen in the show, Koenig's flight from Earth (mirroring Dr. Heywood Floyd's trip in 2001: A Space Odyssey) could have been a multi-stage affair; the Eagle could very well have been shuttling between a station in Earth orbit and the Moon. The only station shown in the pilot episode was at the LaGrange point between Earth and Moon. However, later episodes established the Eagle as an all-in-one vehicle.

As we've all noted in this thread, Space: 1999 does not bear close scrutiny of its technical details. The science isn't hard or soft. The show is essentially a fantasy. Twilight Zone 1999.
 

Ray Pullar

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As we've all noted in this thread, Space: 1999 does not bear close scrutiny of its technical details. The science isn't hard or soft. The show is essentially a fantasy. Twilight Zone 1999.

Martin Landau & Barry Morse had both appeared previously on The Twilight Zone & The Outer Limits. Twice on both shows in Landau's case.
 

Jeffbert

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I don't know if you're being specious or flippant. By this argument, Star Trek was equally negligent by not covering everything going on outside the ship on Federation and non-Federation planets all over the galaxy. The same might be said of any other personal story every told.
I am sorry that I neglected to say anything about how the moon being gone would theoretically affect the earth, so I brought this on myself. :D I am no physicist, but as I understand it, without the moon, we would be in big trouble. I refer to science programs, though I cannot recall which channel, so I googled it, & found this (among others):

http://www.astrosociety.org/education/publications/tnl/33/33.html

Unfortunately, this does not address the question of HOW WOULD THE MOON LEAVING ORBIT AFFECT EARTH, so I guess I can only rely on my memory, though that is hardly evidence. :) I do not care to speculate on the effects of the moon leaving earth orbit, or the continual lack of its presence. :D I do believe that the effects on earth were mentioned in the episode, but as I said, the focus was on Alpha. If anyone has the #1 DVD, & the time to watch it, I welcome your comments. My bad!:D
 

Metryq

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Jeffbert, your linked article says essentially nothing about how the sudden lack of the Moon would affect Earth now—all the factors mentioned concern the development of the Earth up to now over geological and evolutionary time scales.

The epilogue of the pilot episode, "Breakaway," shows the Alphans gathered around the Main Mission monitor listening to a newscast from Earth. The anchor is reporting massive quakes and names three areas specifically (in the US along the San Andreas, Yugoslavia and southern France). He fades away into static as he reports on an emergency meeting of the International Lunar Commission to determine if anything can be done to rescue the surviving Alphans.

After the quakes, the sudden loss of the Moon would result in lower tides, as they'd be driven by the Sun, only. Some waterfronts might have to be rebuilt, but ocean-going traffic would continue. The greatest change might be a turbulent readjustment in the weather. The Sun dumps a great load of energy into the oceans, and that energy is then dissipated in various ways that affect land. I'd have to consult an expert on the subject, but I imagine the loss of the Moon would change something of that energy economy. Would the weather be more turbulent due to "hot spots," or would it become milder without the Moon's daily churning?

One other observation: None of the episodes ever mention where Alpha is located, although I've heard "writer's guide" info that it is located in Plato (far to the north on the edge of Mare Imbrium). This would put Earth fairly low in Alpha's sky, so the VFX are good on this point.

We also do not know exactly where the waste dumps are located, except that they are somewhere on lunar farside, which the opening titles erroneously call "the dark side of the Moon"—one would think the writers could have gotten a few facts straight before creating this fantasy. Anyway, if the dumps were only a little way over the pole, for example, the catastrophe might have given the Moon some significant spin, as the Moon is not neatly balanced, to say nothing of the vector crossing that of the Moon's orbit. If the dumps were farther over lunar farside, the Moon might even have plunged closer to Earth on its way out. Booyah.

The "gentlest" ride would come from the dumps being squarely on the equator in a location to complement the Moon's orbit, rather than cut across it, or even thrust the other way.

The one thing I will say in the show's defense is that most critics of the "Breakaway" scenario assume a single explosion. Given one big enough to push the Moon out of orbit, it would probably destroy the Moon altogether. However, Prof. Bergman reported the dumps as acting like a giant rocket motor as they burned out. Even this scenario is sketchy, as the thrust would probably have to run for days, at least, just to break orbit, to say nothing of the interstellar speeds later attained.
 

JunkMonkey

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Jeffbert

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Jeffbert, your linked article says essentially nothing about how the sudden lack of the Moon would affect Earth now—all the factors mentioned concern the development of the Earth up to now over geological and evolutionary time scales.
Yes, I myself noted that fact. :D I admit, I should have searched further, though I was tired.

I find the remainder of your response interesting & informative. As I understand it, if the moon's orbital velocity were increased, it would rise to a higher altitude. I believe they already used lasers to prove that the moon is already widening its orbit by about 3 inches a year. :) if the blast occurred in line with the orbital path and pushed the moon along rather than slowing it, it should go into a higher orbit. If it were caught by the next strongest gravitational field (as was the case with the gravity shields used in Welles' The First Men In The Moon) would begin drawing it. But to simply blast it laterally with respect to the orbital path? This seems odd because the science of interplanetary space travel uses arcs instead of simply traveling straight outward. :D Although the rockets initially blast vertically, eventually they begin an ever-widening orbit. I guess it is a matter the of fuel required to continue vertically is impractical or impossible to carry in a spacecraft of practical size. I had only technical physics in college, so I am out on a limb here. :D

But that is where the fiction or fantasy element comes into play. So, once we take for granted that the moon goes bye-bye, the effects on the earth are next. What causes the earthquakes? The blast is so far away, that though an EMP might disturb electronics on earth, would the moon's mass moving suddenly away have that much affect? ;)

looks like some 'Dexion' type shelving.
Except for the fact that on these beams, the holes are all round & the beams are shiny.
 

Metryq

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If it were caught by the next strongest gravitational field (as was the case with the gravity shields used in Welles' The First Men In The Moon) would begin drawing it.

It's not quite that simple. A body in orbit around Earth is in a delicate balance between gravity and angular momentum. Rockets thrust vertically to get through the atmosphere as quickly as possible because of the drag it creates, which translates into enough friction to burn up many materials. An airplane rises slowly because it is supported by the air, but would eventually reach a speed where it would burn up. A rocket could also rise just as slowly by thrusting only slightly more than one "G," but that is terribly inefficient. One would waste a lot of fuel only slightly counteracting gravity, rather than getting away from it as quickly as possible.

The "ever widening orbit" you referred to is a Hohmann transfer orbit, which uses the minimum amount of fuel to climb to a higher orbit in time to meet up with another orbiting object. Traveling from Earth to Mars, for example, one is climbing higher against the Sun, not the Earth.

This is where intuitive notions don't hold up. Once free of Earth's gravity, an object is still bound by the Sun—but that doesn't mean the most massive object automatically wins. Earth and Moon are both bound by the Sun, but the Moon stays in orbit around the Earth because that is closer. Every mass has a gravitational "sphere of influence." The Voyager spacecrafts toured the outer planets through maneuvers known as gravity assists, rather than expending the needed fuel outright. That is, without a nearby planet, the Voyagers would eventually have looped back inward, taking up "cometary" orbits around the Sun.

If you roll a ball down a hill, for example, the ball will be at its maximum speed when it reaches bottom, then will slow down again going up another hill, but it will never go higher up the next hill than the height from which it was rolled. So when the Voyagers dove past Jupiter, they lost all the speed they had gained while falling towards Jupiter. However, relative to the Sun, the Voyagers were then traveling faster than before and could then climb even farther away from the Sun. (In short, the Voyagers "stole" some of Jupiter's orbital speed.)

What causes the earthquakes?

The same thing that causes the ocean tides twice a day.
 

Jeffbert

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The sun & the moon's gravity cause earthquakes? I had thought that the geothermal activity was the cause; the expanding and contracting of solid or semi-solid objects underground. I can envision the gravity of the moon having such an effect if the moon's orbit decayed suddenly, but not if it was torn out of orbit. :eek:
 

Metryq

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The sun & the moon's gravity cause earthquakes?

You're taking my statement out of context. I'm not talking about "supermoon" or any of that other astrological nonsense. And any studies you look up concerning tidal stresses from the Moon and earthquakes assume the current situation—with the Moon in orbit. We've already established that the "science" in Space: 1999 is very sketchy.

However, assuming the Moon could be "suddenly" blown out of orbit, earthquakes are not a completely silly idea. The tidal changes would not be the sole cause. Various faults around the world slowly build up pressure and eventually shift. The Moon breaking orbit might trigger a sudden release of tensions on those faults.

If it really bothers you, consider it allegory, the way nature goes into upheaval in Shakespearean plays.
 

Jeffbert

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Sorry about that, Metryq; I only sought clarification on your statement, any out of context stuff was unintended. :D
 

JunkMonkey

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I was wondering about the ecological impact of suddenly not having tides. A lot of coastal ecosystems are going to just die, I seem to remember reading a lot of migrating insects and birds use to moon to regulate their migrations and breeding - and I wonder if it would effect ocean currents?
 

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