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Getting Drunk and Destroying a Moon: The Science of The Expanse, Episode 3

We explore how real the science in the science fiction is. 

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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:  In episode three, we see the destruction of Deimos. Is it actually possible to destroy a moon with missiles?

Daniel Abraham: Not with the mode of force of the missile itself, but depending on what the payload is, I don’t see why not.

Hawk Ostby: You need a lot of nukes.

Daniel Abraham: If you have enough nukes, and you can impart enough energy into the moon.  A moon is just minerals.  It's just stone.

Mark Fergus: Yeah, it could do some damage.

Daniel Abraham: I expect you could do some damage.

Mark Fergus: I have read though, that nukes in space don’t really work that great.  You don't get the pulse

Daniel Abraham:  You don't have the EMP because you don't have an atmosphere. So with no air force, the airburst won’t
scour everything clean.

Daniel Abraham: You'd still wind up with a lot of energy. Those things can deliver a lot of force

Q:  What do the Martian armor suits do and what makes them better than what we've currently got?

Daniel Abraham: They’re actually on the edge of what we currently have.  We are working with artificial muscles right now, we have materials that will contract and relax with electrical current the way that muscles do. You get something that can be very compact and still have an enhanced exoskeleton, that provides the strength you would want in a suit

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Q:  Do they make the soldier stronger?

Daniel Abraham:  They make the soldier stronger, faster and it supports them when they're fighting or running or doing things that normal human bodies couldn’t do. It's also a back suit that keeps them breathing.

Mark Fergus: So it's an improvement on Tony Stark? Were some of the designs perhaps taken from Stark Industries?

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Daniel Abraham:  We may have an inside man on Iron Man, so we had a bunch of leanings to not fall into any of the errors of that (note: Hawk and Mark wrote Iron Man).

Daniel Abraham: With the suit, the soldiers are still doing the work, but it just makes everything they do that much more powerful.

Hawk Ostby: True, but Bobbie doesn’t need it.

Daniel Abraham: Bobbie is awesome. [LAUGHS]

Q:  Miller gets drunk. What happens when you have alcohol, in lowered G environments?

Daniel Abraham:  I don't know that the guys at NASA have released the studies. I'm sure they've been done, but I don't know that we have the data on that.  We are certainly assuming that you would get just as hammered as you would here.

Hawk Ostby: I heard there are no hangovers.

Daniel Abraham:  [LAUGHS]

Screen Shot 2017-02-09 at 4.50.34 PM.png up on The Expanse here.