In Star Trek it seems that they almost always have artificial gravity. The idea of not having it is shocking, even though my 21st century mind relates it directly with space. Here are a few examples:

  • Deep Space 9 episode Melora, Dr. Bashir shows wonder and amazement at being in a low gravity environment. (He'd really never been outside artificial gravity?)

  • In the Star Trek VI, when the Klingon's gravity is disabled, they even refer to themselves as being helpless. (They never trained for this?)

  • In the TNG episode Ethics, Worf gets severely injured because something like a barrel, fell on him in the cargo-bay. (Couldn't the gravity be reduced in the cargo bay at least?)

  • In the TNG episode Hollow Pursuits, Barclay has problems with his anti-gravity device. (Why not just switch the artificial gravity off?)

The only explanation I can think is that for some reason artificial gravity is required for space travel, but is there any canonical explanation for why they cling so doggedly to gravity?

I'm looking for an in universe explanation. I'm also curious why the gravity generators are rarely targeted, but that may be another question.

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    Really? Everything? I think that that is clearly not true.
    – Daniel
    Commented Sep 14, 2015 at 17:16
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    Well, floating around the ship would be harder. But low-g makes it harder to eat, drink, sleep, work, navigate the ship, use the toilet, brush your teeth, bathe,... Not to mention the consequences to your health Commented Sep 14, 2015 at 17:19
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    Gravity seems like something that may be very difficult to control in individual locations. If you had gravity "on" in one room, it would affect adjacent rooms that were at "0 gravity", so things would be pulled to the left/right instead of down. Since it's likely all-or-nothing, I'd imagine that since they often need gravity it's always going to be on. Commented Sep 14, 2015 at 17:22
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    The individual gravity generators keep working for 240 minutes without power, according to the technical manual, making them a very poor target during an assault
    – Valorum
    Commented Sep 14, 2015 at 17:27
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    It's all relative. In southeast Texas, we almost NEVER turn the A/C off, yet to someone 200 years ago the very IDEA of A/C was preposterous. Just sayin'...
    – Omegacron
    Commented Sep 14, 2015 at 20:52

1 Answer 1

  • In TOS: The Doomsday Machine, we see a crippled, nearly destroyed USS Constellation. The gravity still works.
  • In TNG: Booby Trap, we see a ship which has been in an energy draining environment for centuries. The gravity still works.
  • In ENT: Broken Bow, we see Mayweather exploiting Enterprise's "sweet spot": a section of the ship where the overall gravity configuration demands an area where gravity is reversed. He says "all ships have one."

This would seem to indicate that artificial gravity is a low power system, difficult to disable, and finicky to configure. Bear in mind that Qo'noS One was hit at point blank range with her shields down by a commander who knew her systems intimately; this is not common battlefield damage. In universe, this forms a solid rationale for gravity hi-jinks being rare.

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    Enterprise was a Holodeck game tho'; the "sweet spot" thing could have just been a made-up plot device.
    – Gaius
    Commented Sep 14, 2015 at 17:38
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    YOU'RE a holodeck game! ;-)
    – Politank-Z
    Commented Sep 14, 2015 at 17:41
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    @Gaius: pfft.... Commented Sep 14, 2015 at 18:02
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    Also gravity in TOS: Space Seed aboard the Botany Bay. - Which makes no sense, considering it is way pre-warp. and presumably before "gravity plating." Commented Sep 14, 2015 at 18:34
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    It seems that gravity plating, or a working predecessor, was in operation well pre-warp. See also, TNG: The Neutral Zone.
    – Politank-Z
    Commented Sep 14, 2015 at 18:46

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