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I was just thinking about Ascension again and realized that there appears to be a rather bad plot hole. Perhaps I don't understand the context though?

Early in series, Christa is on the observation area and looks up through the dome. She then says something about how the red nebula is bad and they shouldn't go there. This is one of the earlier references to Christa's powers.

I'll spoiler even though I suspect it no longer is:

The problem is that the red nebula doesn't actually exist and is nothing more than a klieg light and a gel. Moreover, the ship isn't going there, or anywhere else. If Christa has these transcendent powers, why would they possibly say not to go somewhere, especially a place that doesn't exist?

Am I missing something here?

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I think you might be referring to this scene in the first episode, which is set in the "Crow's nest", an area of the ship that "offers unimpeded views of the stars":

EMILY Christa, see that star cluster? Alpha Centauri is binary -- two suns orbiting each other. But when we zoom in a little closer...

She uses her digitab to ZOOM IN on the quadrant. It's binary nature is now clear. And next to it, another star.

EMILY (CONT'D) We can see a third. That's Proxima. That's where we are going to live.

Christa shakes her head.

CHRISTA You're wrong. There’s no life there.

Christa takes the pointer, indicates another star system.

CHRISTA (CONT'D) There. That’s life. That’s where we have to go. (then) Everything else is death.

Something about the way she says it rings true. Emily and Juliet share an unnerved look.

Given that Christa is later shown to

have the power to instantaneously transport a person (Gault) to another planet

it's not unreasonable to assume she is

able to remotely view these star systems and planets, maybe subconsciously, and therefore has insight into which planets offer the best chance for survival

The fact that

the ship isn't really going anywhere, and never left Earth, isn't important in this context because Christa apparently has evolved galaxy-spanning powers of remote viewing and teleportation (which seems to have been the purpose of the experiment). For her the "observation dome" of the Crow's Nest is more akin to looking at a map, that fact that they are not the actual stars is irrelevant, as she has presumably seen the real star systems and deduced which ones are a threat and which are benign.

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I'm hesitant to put this as an answer, but it's a bit too long for a comment. Unavoidable Spoilers below given the nature of the question.

While the ship isn't going anywhere, the people on board think it is. The people on board, or at least the Upper Decks section of them are also intelligent and skilled scientists. While the secret goal of the project is

the creation/search for the Star Child with mental superpowers

The intermediate goal is "hothouse" research and development. I'd have to watch it again to be able to provide a specific quote, but the show attributes the invention of a significant amount of modern technology to the Ascension project.

So, to get back on track... In order to maintain the illusion of travel to a group of scientists the illusion needs to be as realistic as possible. It is therefore reasonable to conclude that the images in the dome are real, in so far as they represent what would be seen from a ship on an interstellar journey, just not what's actually out in front of the ship.

You could then run into speculative territory that Christa is young enough that the distinction between an image of where everyone is trying to get to, and actually travelling there hasn't become something she finds strange yet. It's always been there so assuming her abilities have always told her where the ship actually is, the fact that everyone acts as if it is somewhere else is just life on Ascension.

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    I do understand the speculative nature of your answer, but... the issue here isn't that she would confuse the light show with a real object, but that a light show would cause her to have a sense of foreboding. The underlying problem is that there is no reason for this feeling in the first place. – Maury Markowitz Oct 17 '18 at 15:10
  • I'm not sure how to explain it. But the idea would be that the images represent a truth. They are showing the destination, just as extrapolated images rather than simple camera images. They still represent destinations A and B. Just like looking at pictures of a holiday destination in a magazine. – Jontia Oct 17 '18 at 15:17

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