Given the advanced technology of the Ancients, I'm assuming that the windows in Atlantis are more than simple glass. And I'm pretty sure there were instances on the show where bullets ricocheted off the interior windows without harming them. However, when infected with the Iratus Bug virus, Sheppard shattered one with a single blow - after which, it appeared to shatter into small fragments like tempered safety glass would. I'm guessing, though, that it is supposed to be some sort of futuristic Lantean polymer material.

Has the show ever mentioned what the windows and "glass" of Atlantis are made of, or even just a mention of what the Ancients used instead of glass?

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    The city isn't actually space-worthy without it's shield. In the episode "Adrift", the city starts collapsing the shield to save power, resulting in the deaths of several members of the expedition. Without the shield, the city isn't airtight. Having said that, in that same episode the windows obviously survived being exposed to the vacuum of space, so they're clearly more than glass. Commented Jul 6, 2017 at 12:04
  • @DisturbedNeo: Please move that to the answer section Commented Jul 6, 2017 at 16:06
  • Really? I didn't feel like it answered the question at hand, namely what the windows were made out of, hence why it's a comment. Granted, the answer is almost certainly "Nobody knows", because nobody ever made reference to it, but even so, I've made no suggestions as to what they might be, only that they're definitely something that can survive in a 0-Pressure environment. Commented Jul 6, 2017 at 16:09
  • Of course, the entire question starts with "Given that the city is space-worthy", which is a pretence in itself, so.... I don't know Commented Jul 6, 2017 at 16:10
  • @DisturbedNeo - fair enough, that could be confusing the issue. I tweaked the question to remove that part. Your first comment would make a fairly decent answer if you wanted to post that. Sometimes "we don't know, it was never discussed" is the only answer.
    – Omegacron
    Commented Jul 6, 2017 at 16:30

3 Answers 3


Nobody on the show has ever discussed the materials the windows are made out of, so we don't really know for sure.

However, given that in the episode "Adrift" (S4, E1), the city collapsed the shield and exposed the windows, as well as most of the rest of the city, to the vaccum of space, we know that it must be a material that can withstand a Zero-Pressure environment. So it can't be standard glass, which wouldn't have withstood the pressure and temperature of space.

There is a possibility that one of the books in the Stargate Atlantis: Legacy series mentions it, I haven't read them, but I think it's quite unlikely.

In all likelihood, we're supposed to just assume that it's some special material made by the ancients that behaves exactly like glass, allowing light and heat to pass through it, but can also withstand the vacuum/coldness of space without breaking.

EDIT: In the episode "First Strike" (S3, E20), the windows in the control room, and presumably other areas as well, are shattered when the Asuran Satellite Laser hits the city. In "Reunion" (S4, E3), the episode directly following the city landing on a new planet, the windows are suddenly fixed but, as with all the other areas of the city that are now suddenly in working order, nobody mentions when or how this occurred.


Glass (according to the Stargate Atlantis: Legacy novels)

In Stargate Atlantis: The Furies (Book 4 of the Legacy series of novels), there is a blink and you'll miss it passage indicating that the windows are made of glass:

[Teyla] got up and paced to the windows, stood with her hands against the glass, looking out at the snow.

Chapter Twenty-three, "Original Sin"

Now this was in the counselor's office, rather than the gateroom, but it stands to reason that it was made of the same material.

That said, this might be an oversight since the rest of the book, and the other books in the series, seem to make a point of not describing the material of Atlantis' windows (and the characters spend a surprising amount of time looking out of them). Contrast this with windows on Earth, Sateda, an off-world settlement, and even a land-based Ancient facility, all of which are stated multiple times to be made of glass.

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    It could be 'glass' is just a genericized term for window material. Commented Jul 7, 2017 at 8:17

I would assume they would be something like fused silica (as is used on our space-faring vessels today). However the key thing to remember is that, yes, the city is indeed a space faring vessel, however it is also shielded. The same shields that are capable of keeping water out from the bottom of an ocean. I should think that the structural integrity of the city is more to do with that than the glass itself.

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