In Star Trek (2009), the villain Nero uses Red Matter in order to

Create a singularity at the center of Vulcan, destroying the planet.

This Red Matter was initially created by Spock

in order to create a singularity to destroy the Hobus Supernova.

In both cases it clearly only takes one drop of Red Matter in order to achieve this. Despite this, a significant amount of Red Matter is seen in Spock's ship- much more than was needed simply to

Destroy the Supernova

(Not sure if that needs to be in a spoiler box, but it's a pretty major plot point.)

So, in short, why did Spock manufacture this:

Red Matter Capsule

When he only needed one of these?

Red Matter drops

(I'm looking for an in-universe answer; out of universe I understand that there's no plot without the extra Red Matter)

  • You're not the first to ask that question :-) Not a dupe though... – Valorum May 31 '16 at 23:05


The Vulcans don't seem overly keen to have a potentially world-ending substance sitting around in their science facility. Spock and LaForge note (in the Countdown prequel comic) that the substance is inherently unstable and that the custom-build container on the Jellyfish is simply the safest place to keep it.

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Having loaded all the red matter onto the Jellyfish the endgame seems to be to jettison whatever's left into the singularity formed, neatly disposing of it in an environmentally friendly manner.

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Out of universe

The existence of a giant red ball is an in-joke between the Director (Jar Jar Abrams) and the film's Production Designer (Scott Chamblis).

I was really happy with the way the Bridge turned out. I guess I have three favorite sets: the Bridge, the whole Narada interior, which is minimalist, with excessive detail, and brutalist, and the Jellyfish, Nimoy’s little ship [the ‘Jellyfish’]. That has a wonderful inside thing from J.J. and my years of working together. In the containment field in the ship is a big red ball. The ‘big red ball’ has a lot of resonance for J.J. and I: we have one in virtually everything we do. It started with the Alias pilot. I always look at a script and wonder what the big red ball is going to be this time.

Interview with Scott Chambliss, production designer on J.J. Abrams new Star Trek movie - Star Trek Magazine #17


QUESTION: Everything you do has a big red ball in it.

JJ ABRAMS: Not everything. There are a couple of shout outs to some of the stuff that we've worked on before and one of them is the big sort of Rambaldi ball from Alias, which was also a cameo.

JJ Abrams Star Trek Interview - Femail

  • Out of universe, +1 for a great and knowledgeable answer! In universe, I'd like to see if there's something more definitive. – Timpanus May 31 '16 at 23:34
  • So in-universe, that rift thing folded Jar Jar Abrams into the fabric of spacetime, such that big red balls started appearing everywhere for no apparent reason. – Molag Bal May 31 '16 at 23:39
  • @Timpanus - In-universe reason also provided. See edit. – Valorum May 31 '16 at 23:47
  • 2
    @armadillo - It's a little known fact that red matter is actually highly compressed lens flare. – Valorum May 31 '16 at 23:47

There is not much on Red Matter. And my answer is more in-universe, however will end up being an opinion as there is just nothing that I have seen why so much in one place.

Red matter was a substance that was created through the use of Decalithium. It was created by the Vulcan Science Academy and took the form of a red liquid substance that collected in the form of a sphere. A single drop of this compound was capable of creating a singularity.


By 2387, the Vulcan government had developed the ability to produce red matter.

Although the above is not canonical, my take is that due to the danger of the substance, Vulcan really did not want the stuff stored in multiple places, as if something was to go wrong, seeing as just a drop can destroy an entire planet it would multiply risks of something going wrong. Having it stored in one place would minimize any damage if it was to become unstable.

Again, this IS assuming that all the Red matter made was in fact on the Jellyfish. Or, another theory would be in line with the above, that they have a lot of of the stuff and they were trying to store the Red Matter in as few place as possible to minimize risk.

Just my take on why there was so much Red Matter in one place.

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