Mirrors? How Do They Work? The Science of The Expanse, Episode 6

Thursday, March 2, 2017 - 18:22

The Expanse has been painstakingly crafted to be as scientifically accurate as possible, so we'd be doing the whole universe a disservice if we didn't call out all of the minutiae that make the show the most realistic look at the future we've ever seen. We sat down with Daniel Abraham, Mark Fergus, and Hawk Ostby, the co-creators and producers (Daniel is also 1/2 of the team that wrote the book series the show is based on)  to get the lowdown on the insane level of detail and intricacy they put into the science we see in the show. But how real is it? Nerds, read on.

Q:  How does the Epstein drive work and what were you  trying to show during that flashback?

Daniel Abraham:  It works really well. 

Mark Fergus:  Works at the speed of convenience.

 

Daniel Abraham:  The Epstein drive is a very efficient fusion drive. Ty has seen the paper that it's based on, and he will never ever ever tell you what it is. That way, when the paper is disproven, we won't be in trouble.
 
Mark Fergus:  That is another patent we will be coming out with.
Daniel Abraham:  There is a design for it.  There is an idea of how it would work.  It's probably not right, so we don't talk about what it is.  It's just a really, really efficient fusion drive.  It's just hyper-accelerating the propellant mass.
 
Hawk Ostby:  The beauty of it in the show is that it's this tripped-over,  kind of fantastic, accidental world changing discovery as opposed to…
Daniel Abraham:  We bring it into the show at a moment when new technologies are being introduced. Things that were not possible before, suddenly becoming possibly. That changes the game and at the same time destabilizes things.
 
Q:  What is the orbital mirror on Ganymede doing and why is it a problem that it falls?
 
Daniel Abraham:  It's concentrating sunlight.
 
Mark Fergus:  Light and heat.
 
Hawk Ostby:  Gathering and bringing it down to the plants.

Daniel Abraham:  Because once you're that far out, the sun is not what it is here.  The nice thing about Ganymede is that it has a magnetoshere, so you can grow things on the surface there.  You just have to get light to it, and a mirror is a cheap way to do that. That way that you don’t have to rely on a local energy supply, you can use the ultimate energy supply, the sun. So the orbital mirrors are there to concentrate sunlight support the farms.

 

Hawk Ostby:  And the falling thing is a problem because they’re big and when they come down they wreck shit.  [LAUGHS]

 

Catch up on The Expanse here.