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 Season 1, Episode 7: "Windmills," Chrisjen Avasarala visits the Farming Collective of the Montana/North American Trade Zone, a snow-covered rural landscape covered by a wind-turbine forest. With the energy demands of tens of billions of people, it makes sense that Earth is looking to derive enegry from any source that it can, including the wind, and this turbine farms certainly consistitutes a formidable effort. But those are some funky looking turbines! This type of windmill is called a vertical axis helical turbine. The helical design is most similar to a type of water turbine called the Gorlov helical turbine. The most popular current version of this turbine is called the Quietrevolution, which has won several awards including the "Sustainable Innovation Award" in 2006. There are proposals to use the turbine in projects in New York and Shanghai, and after that Montana is only a matter of time.
Being stuck in the airlock ain't no thing if you're Kenzo and you have a CAMERA EYE. With the help of his nifty ocular gadget, Kenzo is able to sabotage the airlock control panel, turning it into a detonator. He's all set to fry the next person who shows up on the other side of the panel ... and then Amos shows up and tells him his help is needed.
Last week we brought up the fact that the first bionic eye has already been implanted in a patient with age-related macular degeneration. The retinal implant converts video images from a miniature video camera worn on his glasses. Where things get really interesting is that Kenzo's eye is performing actual analysis of the airlock control panel. This implies that not only is the Camera Eye transmitting a signal, it's receiving one. Kenzo has a cyborg computer eye! Imagine being able to access wikipedia just by looking at something! Sure could have used that tech in calculus class.
So how do you break into an operations locker that requires a 24-digital security code to open it? Well, you could try a power drill, but it might not be very effective against its sleek composite titanium hide.
Sometimes cracking open a safe requires complicated alogrythims, knowledge of the inner workings of a safe's spindle, delicately figuring out the location of the drive cam, visualing the fence and tumblers, and watching Ocean's 11 on repeat for Clooney-style inspiration. Other times, it's the future and you've got a sweet helical power drill to help you out. Nice to see that this technology is still around and kicking, even if the bits have received a nice upgrade.
You could also take an even more analog approach to opening the locker and use a good old-fashioned crowbar. Yup, that's a futuristic crowbar. Put away your Alpha-Omega Bombs, Gristle Guns, Sonic Shotguns, Noisy Crickets, Identity Discs, Lighsabers, L.O.O.K.E.R. Guns, Proton Packs, M41A Pulse Rifles, ARC guns and Weirding Modules. The Expanse crowbar is the weapon of the future.
Inside the operations locker, Alex finds a sealed tube, in which is a rolled plastic sheet. On the sheet are three code words that are used to send the Martian boarding skiff on its merry way. Respect the black ops!
Respect to Alex on his pronunciation and throwing in the "Donkey Balls" for good measure. Codes like this have been a vital aspect of communication since the invention of war itself, so it's no surprise that the MCRN Corvette Class, fast-attack light frigate has a specially coded communication system, but is it unbreakable? Alex and Naomi cracked it, to be fair they almost died in the process, but they were able figure it out.
Looking to send an unbreakable coded message? The key lies in the Diffie-Hellman key exchange method. It works like this, say Mars wants to send Earth a secret message and wants to prevent the OPA from reading it. Mars places the message in a box, puts a good lock on it, keeps the key, and sends the package to Earth. (If Mars were to separately send Earth the key, there would be a chance that the OPA could intercept both the package and the key.)
Earth has no key to the Mars' lock. So Earth puts their own lock on the box, and returns the packed locked twice. Mars gets the package, removes its own lock and then resends the box. Now Earth uses its key, opens the box, and gets the message! Praise Science!