In the Christmas special "Voyage of the Damned" (Tenth Doctor), The Doctor explains the TARDIS is programmed to lock onto the nearest centre of gravity when it's adrift (in this case, Earth).

That's all great when the nearest centre of gravity is a planet. But what if it's a star or a black hole?

We know from "The Satan Pit" that:

The Time Lords invented black holes.

We also know from several other, older episodes that:

The Time Lords have been known to have a stellar manipulator which can influence the lifespan of a star.

But to the best of my knowledge, we don't know whether the TARDIS is capable of flying right through a star or a black hole. With all other type of spacecraft I'd guess the craft would perish, but the TARDIS is a bit odd.

The TARDIS has a forcefield, but I don't know whether that will hold in the extreme cases of crashing into a star or black hole (let's keep the relativistic effects of "crashing into" a black hole out of it for simplicity's sake).

The real question is of-course whether this safeguard could cause the TARDIS to destroy itself by crashing into a star, black hole or anything similar.

Any episodes confirming or disproving the TARDIS' abilities in this regard are welcome. Canon answers are preferred.

  • 3
    I'd think the TARIDS is smarter than that. Sure she's unreliable, and not invulnerable, but I doubt she'd willing let an automated system just pilot herself into a suicide situation. But someone who knows the show better might say different.
    – Radhil
    Commented Dec 2, 2016 at 18:27
  • @Radhil That's exactly what I thought, so I posted this question.
    – Mast
    Commented Dec 2, 2016 at 18:32
  • 1
    @Mast Just an important point on canon: Dr Who doesn't have one.
    – Kaz
    Commented Dec 2, 2016 at 18:49
  • "the Time Lords practically invented black holes" - this is more like what The Doctor actually said. I don't think he was very serious though. Commented Mar 3, 2017 at 9:56

1 Answer 1


While we've never seen the TARDIS explicitly enter a black hole and return, there is good reason to believe that she's perfectly capable of doing so.

1: The Eye of Harmony

Though continuity is a little foggy on the Eye, it does seem clear that the Eye is a captive singularity used by the Time Lords as a power source. It's unclear whether the Eye is on Gallifrey, if there is one on every TARDIS, or somewhere in between; it is, however, clear that the Time Lords were perfectly capable of engineering black holes to meet their needs.

2: The TARDIS laughs at gravity

Gravity is simply the warping of spacetime by sufficient mass; the TARDIS bypasses any such concerns by traveling outside of spacetime itself, through the time vortex. However, even when it is in contact with the three-dimensional spacetime of the universe the TARDIS still displays the ability to ignore gravity at will. This is seen clearly when it casually pulled the Walker expedition's ship away from the black hole, or when it pulled the entire Earth across the universe at superluminal speed.

3: The TARDIS has survived worse

In Castrovalva, Peter Davidson's first story as the Doctor, the TARDIS was set an an automatic course towards "Event One" - AKA the Big Bang. This is quite literally the most energetic and gravitationally powerful event that is possible in our universe, and the Doctor was able, while suffering from post-regeneration amnesia, to pilot the TARDIS away from that event with little damage. It is hard to imagine the TARDIS being threatened by a measly little black hole after that.

And finally...

4: Stable orbits around black holes are perfectly feasible

Despite what The Doctor said about the Impossible Planet, there's nothing inherently impossible or dangerous about orbiting a black hole. Whether this position was dangerous or not would depend entirely upon how close the orbit was. It's quite likely, given the way the TARDIS achieved orbit in Voyage, that the ship is programmed to lock onto and orbit the nearest centre of gravity.

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    This does a good job of answering the question of whether the TARDIS could survive an encounter with a black hole (so +1). I think a better question would have been whether that would be a sensible place for an unmanned TARDIS to wait for its owner, and I would suggest the answer to that question is "no".
    – Blackwood
    Commented Dec 2, 2016 at 20:28
  • 1
    @Blackwood Given that the owner is supposed to be a Time Lord, and thus has access to the necessary technology to travel around black holes, it sounds like a pretty good security system!
    – Werrf
    Commented Dec 2, 2016 at 20:42
  • Very good answer! I completely missed the Castrovalva events, quite enlightening.
    – Mast
    Commented Dec 2, 2016 at 20:53
  • As mentioned this season, the true mass of the TARDIS, if it existed in our universe, would be great enough that it would "crush the Earth" The ship's force fields have been shown to be nearly impervious - it's very likely there's little if anything in the physical universe that can penetrate them when at full charge. Commented Feb 16, 2017 at 16:22

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