Star Trek study proves it ain't more dangerous to be a redshirt after all

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Feb 28, 2013, 10:03 AM EST

What if the best-known Trek trope of them all turned out to be wrong? 

If you've just beamed down to a soundstage alien planet, it's a well-known fact that you're as good as dead if you're wearing a red shirt. During the entire run of Star Trek: The Original Series, 24 folks decked out in crimson bit the dust -- more than any other crew member on the show. But does that mean it's more dangerous to be a redshirt? Time to do the math!

A recent trope-destroying study points out that, while redshirts suffer more deaths, there's a question of ratio that has never been analyzed. Based on blueprints sanctioned as canon by Paramount itself, there are a sum total of 430 crewmen on board the Enterprise, 239 of whom are red-shirted engineering, operations and security personnel. With 24 of those having died, that's about a 10 percent mortality rate.

Ready to have your mind blown? There are 55 gold-shirted command and helm personnel members on the Enterprise -- nine of whom died over the course of three seasons. Mortality rate? 13.4 percent! 

So the next time you're imagining yourself as a member of the NCC-1701 USS Enterprise, think twice before you decide what kind of crewman you'd be, because it turns out there are worse things than wearing red after all.

(Significance Magazine via