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 the 23rd century really is.
Let's start out with the very first scene of the very first episode; specifically, Julie Mao's hair floating to and fro in zero G.
The Expanse producer Mark Fergus had this to say about Julie's 0G doo: "We did study quite a bit of zero gravity. Zero G is not as weird as movies usually make it seem. A lot of it is like swimming through water. The only time we really said, "screw it" was when we wanted Julie Mao's hair to look awesome like a mermaid. That's not how hair reacts in zero G — it kind of stays together. It's not very beautiful. So we said screw it."
The Belters have very distinct physical characteristics, mostly due to spending years in 'low-G.' For instance, there's the the spurs at the top of Miller's spine where the bones didn't fuse right, the result of "cheap bone density juice" given to him when he was a ward of the state.
It's only been about twenty years since Fosamax, the first medication in a class of drugs called bisphosphonates, came on the market. Bisphosphonates affect what's called the bone remodeling cycle, which involves bone resorption (the dissolving of existing bone tissue) and formation (the filling of the resulting small cavities with new bone tissue. Bisphosphonates are already used by astronauts operating in 0g and there's no reason to think that this technology won't progress by leaps and bounds in the next few hundred years. If Belters are only in 0g some of the time than this futuristic treatment should work.
Some Belters also have elongated bones due to the low gravity conditions.
What's the science behind this? If you're raised in zero g will you end up looking like someone went crazy with the distortion tool in photoshop? The answer isn't as clear cut as you might think.
First, to be clear, this is not a case of evolution. We won't get into the discussion of competition for resources, selection, and time span issues, you'll just need to trust us on this one.
Some of our spinal growth after birth is due to gravity. However, bed-ridden children still grow to reasonably normal heights, so there are clearly many other factors wedged against each other to support spinal growth.
And then there's everybody's favorite scene: Holden and Ade having sex in zero gravity.
We won't get to graphic with the details so let's focus on Newton's 3rd Law, which basically states that the movements of one person would counter the other. Basically, thrusting is a bitch. However, if one person was attached to a wall or bed (or connected to something, as Holden's feet here are) that might help things out considerably.
The conclusion here is that 0 g sex is possible, but it takes some grounding. Unless, Holden is wearing some sort of futuristic 2Suit hidden beneath the blanket.
Poor Paj lost part of his arm to a chunk of ice. It's just another day on board the Canterbury, though, as getting a new arm really ain't no thing in the future.
So how would we go about regrowing a limb? Probably the same way a salamander goes about doing it. After an amputation, cells from the outermost layer of skin would climb over to seal the wound. New cells transform into a structure called the wound epidermis, which sends chemical instructions to those below it. In response, nerves in the stump start to grow again, while mature cells such as muscles and connective tissues revert to an immature mass called a blastema. This is what restores the limb.
We understand the principles behind limb regeneration, but the few specialists in the field dictate that we're not even close to solving this problem. But with artificial limb replacement technology improving at an exponential rate we might not have to. But the conundrum that Paj finds himself in may very well becomes a real one. Regrow a limb? or get an artificial one that might be better than the real thing.
There's that crazy "flip and burn" sequence, in which the Canterbury crew has to get injected with 'the juice,' a cocktail that keeps them conscious at high-g when a human body weights over 500 kilos.
What's important to understand about the scene is the relative speed at which the Cant is travelling. Using the Epstein Drive, which allows them to travel at crazy speeds, the Cant is travelling to Ceres really fast. In order for them change directions and to heed the distress call, they need to drastically slow down and it's not like they have some fancy brake system, so what do they do? They flip the ship and "accelerate" in the opposite direction slowing them down so that they can check out what's going on. Totally feasible.