The Expanse is chock full of nifty gadgets, technology and, uh, sexual recreation. But just how realistic is all of it? Let's take a look at all of the future tech in each episode and discuss just how possible it really is.
In Episode 4: "CQB," Miller uses a pair of 'auto-forceps' to poke and dig for the memory crypt buried in the data broker's thigh. It's certainly not an exact science, as it takes him a few stabs and weaves to get a hold of the thing.
Do we have any doubt that technology will be grafted into humans in such a way that improves peoples lives? No. But, it's nice to see that the laws of the Electronic Claw Crane are preserved. It takes Miller 3 tries to claim his prize in the morgue.
How long do people live in this future world, anyway? According to the Coroner, the average life expectancy on Earth is 123 years ... and it's "even better on Mars!"
(Oh, and it's only 68 years on Ceres ... don't live there.)
Let's get technical. Studies in the biodemography of human longevity indicate that mortality rates in late-life, decelerate: that death rates level off at advanced ages to a mortality plateau. That is, there is no fixed upper limit to human longevity, or fixed maximal human lifespan. Good news if you're going for immortality.
One study done in 2009, which a bunch of fancy modified stretched exponential functions for human survival curves suggested that the maximum human lifespan for humans to be 125, so that's pretty much spot on with Mars. Mars' average lifespan! That means they've done something to mess with the degredation of telomeres and achieved a modicum of negligible senescence. Good for them!
"I need some juice!" exclaims a woozy Alex as he takes the wheel of the Tachi. As we saw in Episode 1, the 'juice' is a drug cocktail that instantly wakes him up and prepares him for the upcoming trip with a combination of stimulants and medication to protect his body from the ravages of a full g thrust.
While pilots have been medicating with adrenaline stimulants for years, the medical protections "juice" offers are completely feasible hundreds of years in the future.
A shoot-out is exciting enough, but how about a shoot-out at 0g? After the Donnager's drive once again gives out, Holden and Naomi find themselves floating across the hangar bay, making them helpless flailing targets in a virtual shooting gallery!
Thinking fast, Holden attaches a tether line to Naomi's suit, kicks her into the 0g abyss, quickly anchors himself with his mag boots and pulls Naomi back to safety. Yowza!
Let's break down the physics of this incredibly sweet 0g maneuver. While Naomi and Holden are running the ship stops accelerating and the gravity force they're experiencing drops from around 1g to 0g. This makes their last steps propel them up and forward. while floating forward, Holden attaches a tether to Naomi and kicks off of her. This kick applies an equal and opposite force to each of them, so Naomi accelerates up and forward while Holden accelerates down and backward. Once Holden reaches the ground he locks his boots to the ground and yanks Naomi back. Naomi now accelerates down and backward and the force applied to Holden is applied to the whole ship because his boots are attached to it. Day = Saved.
In this episode, we meet Fred Johnson, head of operations at Tycho Station. Fred is overseeing the construction of the Nauvoo, a massive 'Generation Ship' commissioned by the Mormon Church to send their "best and brightest" on a hundred-year voyage to a new world around a new sun.
The issue of the generational ship is one that's actually already been addressed in the show. Before the Canterbury was hollowed out to make room for more storage it was a generational ship used to colonize the belt. The real question here is whether or not the Mormons could amass enough money to fund a generational vessel on their own. Current estimates of the Church of Latter-Day Saints' value puts it at a staggering 30 billion. Compound that over the course of several hundred years and it's completely possible.
When the enemy evades its torpedos, the mighty Martian warship Donnager switches to 'rail guns.' Charged plasma spews from its barrels in a straight line, extending its "length," as huge chunks of electromagnetically accelerated metal blast out at a fraction of the speed of light, trailing plasma in its wake like a tracer.
In other words, it looks and sounds awesome ... and packs a powerful punch!
So what is a rail gun? It consists of two parallel conducting rails, along which a sliding armature is accelerated by the electromagnetic effects of a current that flows down one rail, into the armature and then back along the other rail. They exist and they do serious damage.
Poor Shed. Not only did he lose his head, he lost it in zero-G!
Shed was decapitated by rail gun fire, which punched through the compartment and made a few holes in the walls ... holes through which air rushed out, dragging two red, glistening trails of Shed's arterial blood still pumping from his neck along with it.
Shed's blood starts to flow out of the room not because of gravity, but because the room is depressurizing on account of the giant hole in it. Once pressure is restored and the ship returns to a 1g environment? Splash.