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The Expanse: The Success Is In the Science

Read an astrophysics professor and self-described "evangelist of science"'s take on The Expanse.

By Bryan Enk

The first season of The Expanse wrapped over a month ago, but the series is still a topic of frequent discussion out there in the ever-expanding universe of the World Wide Web. In some cases, the absence of the show has made certain hearts grow even fonder of the series as there now has been some time to allow the dense and detailed story to really sink in.

The subject of The Expanse has recently found its way to the Cosmos & Culture section of, with writer Adam Frank calling it "the best science fiction show in a decade." That's definitely saying something, as Frank is himself an astrophysics professor at the University of Rochester and a self-described "evangelist of science" (awesome) … and, according to him, it's the realism of the science aspects of the show that made all of the other elements so successful.

"What makes the The Expanse so exciting is how hard the creative team worked to bring the science's lived-reality to bear in a way that has not been seen since 2001: A Space Odyssey," writes Frank.

Frank geeks out to the portrayal of artificial gravity on Ceres (particularly the "corkscrew" effect of pouring a drink) and the practice of "thrust equals gravity" in the spaceship scenes … and believes it's that sort of detailed and realistic world-building that make the characters and their plight all the more compelling.

"Without [the attention to detail], the internal logic of a universe where Earth and Mars are superpowers standing at the edge of war would fall apart," he writes. "And without giving us a vision for the realities of a life in space, the impoverished third-world status of societies living in the asteroid belt would have become a cartoon rather than an extension of realities we know today."

He also really likes Miller and his hat.

Click here to read Adam Frank's entire unique take on The Expanse at