During Deep Space 9's first episode, Emissary, Benjamin Sisko and Jadzia Dax discover the Bajoran wormhole. It's said the wormhole is the first stable wormhole to be discovered in the galaxy and has been there as such for 10,000 years. Now, 10,000 years is a long time for a stable phenomenon within a populated planetary system to go undiscovered.

I know the wormhole is located in the Denorios belt, which is apparently a navigational hazard, but we see no plasma fields or hazards near the wormhole after it is discovered and ships seem to come and go to DS9 with no trouble. We also know ancient Bajorans traveled the Denorios belt in lightships, and since the orbs as well as the "Celestial Temple" are central to the Bajoran religion I would think the area would warrant some investigation. I'm also a bit puzzled as to why it wasn't discovered from the Gamma quadrant.

So, what's the deal here—how did the wormhole go so long without being discovered, when Sisko and Dax found it so quickly and easily?

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    Given that the Bajoran religion has stories about the Celestial Temple, I think we can assume they did find it, albeit long enough ago that knowledge of its specific location was lost (or was never gained in the first place — judging by Sisko’s replica lightship, the originals may not have had particularly accurate navigational equipment). Commented Oct 15, 2016 at 12:01
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    "Space is big. Really big. You just won’t believe how vastly hugely mindbogglingly big it is. I mean you may think it’s a long way down the road to the chemist’s, but that’s just peanuts to space."
    – Matt
    Commented Oct 15, 2016 at 12:54
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    Actually, Akorem Laan already "discovered" it two hundred years before - he just was kept inside by the wormhole aliens until 04x17 Accession
    – Zommuter
    Commented Oct 18, 2016 at 7:11

3 Answers 3


Deks has some good points regarding the rest of the universe. But there's another point to be made there. The Prophets were immensely powerful beings who generally wanted to stay hidden. The wormhole was only useful in the first place because the Prophets allowed it. Further, we see at least one instance (Prophet Motive) where they altered the personality and/or erased the memories of someone in the wormhole. It's plausible they simply erased the knowledge of the wormhole from other explorers' minds to stay hidden.

Now, there's also the opposite side of the coin. Why did Sisko find the wormhole so easily? If you haven't seen the rest of the show yet, you might want to stop here. There be spoilers ahead.

Towards the end of the series, we find out that the Prophets deliberately selected Sisko to be the Emissary of the Prophets. They went so far as to possess his mom long enough to get her pregnant and create Sisko. Given how much effort they put into making him their Emissary, it stands to reason they deliberately showed him how to find the portal entrance.

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    The wormhole also appears to be activated only by a ship or an object on a very specific path. DS9 is relocated to a position in space that allows for direct observation of that approach path. The times that we see a ship travel from DS9 to the wormhole it doesn't take a direct route but always one with a pronounced curve. Ships exiting the wormhole always do so following a specific path with respect to DS9. If the activation of the wormhole (on either side) does indeed require such precise location and direction it's only logical that chance discovery of the wormhole would be highly unlikely.
    – user45485
    Commented Oct 15, 2016 at 10:11

The Federation is focusing a lot on exploration and discovery. They have a huge assortment of sensors, and keen interest in studying past myths to see how they might relate to odd occurrences in the given system they are studying.

The Cardassians were not paying virtually any attention to the Bajoran ancient texts and/or religion... and quite frankly, I could have easily seen DS9 without the writers injecting religious nonsense (the way I see it) into it.

So, the Cardassians first off likely wouldn't/didn't know what to look for. Even if there were references to the Celestial Temple for instance, they wouldn't know what it is. All they would know is that the 'Prophets' sent them the 'tears' (which in their own right are very odd and obviously alien like technology). The Bajorans were certainly too-uneducated to try and see it as something other than a religious notion - although, they were at a time more technically advanced species, but Cardassian occupation would likely turn this around.

The Cardassians had a few of the 'tears' but I doubt they paid any significant resources into finding out more into it. Plus, they are mainly a military... pure scientific discovery is not something that was mostly seen among Cardassians (unless it might have been connected to military).

They might have discovered some bits and pieces of information, but likely not enough to see an emerging pattern consistent with neutrino emissions that pointed to the Denorious belt in the Bajoran system - plus, again, Federation sensors are far more high-tuned to spatial phenomena and discovery... Cardassian sensors might not be.


The very first Bajoran Story "Ensign Ro" said that Bajorans were civilized before humans walked upright (and thus for at least hundreds of thousands of years).

But a DS9 story about the ancient lost city of Bahala indicated it was legendary and only about 20,0000 years old.

My theory is that civilization firs arose on Bajor hundreds of thousands of years ago and later fell, leaving ruins of Bajor and/or other orlds in the Bajoran system studied by archaeologists. The present Bajoran civilization would have begun only about 20,000 years ago making Bahala one of the oldest cities of that cycle of civilization.

Bajorans have been recording dates that can be converted to their current dating system for at least 20,000 years I guess since it has been said in the first episode of DS9 that the orbs of the Prophets have appeared in the skies over Bajor for that long.

I'm not sure if the orbs have been falling out of the sky to the ground for 10,000 years or if they have appeared in orbit around Bajor and were detected from the ground by Bajorans for 10,000 years and the Bajorans eventually developed spaceflight to bring the orbs down to Bajor. In any case I think that for hundreds of thousands of years the advanced or primitive Bajorans had totally different religions and did not worship the Prophets. Finding the orbs caused the Bajoran religion of Prophet worship to develop and spread over all Bajor in the last 10,000 years.

I have a theory that Bajor and Cardassia are very close together and have been so for tens or hundreds of thousands of years. Eventually their stars on their separate orbits will become farther apart. Thus every time civilization develops on Bajor or cardassia it invents star travel and travels to the other solar system first and the natives of the second solar system learn advanced technology from the natives of the first. Perhaps Bajor and Cardassia alternated in developing civilization and advanced technology and star travel and teaching the other society. Eventually the Bajorans and Cardassians would fight and destroy civilization on both their worlds, and civilization would eventually arise again after tens of thousands of years.

Posssibly space travelling Bajorans and/or Cardassians sometimes discovered the wormhole mouth, and fought over control of it leading to the collapse of their civilizations.

Anyway, if both Bajor and Cardassia have been too primitive and backward for space travel for the vast majority of the hundreds of thousands of years since the first civilization on either of those planets, they would have been incapable of discovering the wormhole mouth for most of those hundreds of thousands of years.

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    It’s definitely an interesting theory, but is there anything in canon to support it? And if not, is there an alternate theory?
    – Adamant
    Commented Oct 18, 2016 at 5:23

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