4

Given the vast technology available during the age of Legends, added to the obviously inquisitive minds of the scientists of the time. It is extremely likely that space exploration would have been part of the time of Legends, at a minimum the use of satellites, the exploration of other worlds by unmanned probe. But also potentially putting people into space. The fact that at our level of technology we can achieve that shows that it should have been straightforward to achieve in that age.

Has this ever been discussed or mentioned by RJ or Brandon Sanderson?

  • Hi, I wondered if you would consider marking my question as the Answer? A few days have gone by and it doesn't seem like anyone else is able to offer anything. If I haven't answered your question, can you let me know in what way the answer could be improved? – cryptarch Dec 23 '18 at 6:56
  • The age of legends technology does not appear mirror our own in relation to machines, satellites, space craft. Everything they had that was "tech" was something that would use the power. Why build a satellite when you can simply open a shielded gateway above a distant moon, planet, star, all from the comfort of your own house. Fly to the moon? na put yourself in a bubble of air, and simply travel to the moon. – Himarm Aug 13 at 20:26
8

Ever since first reading the books about 20 years ago, I have suspected that our own civilisation is intended to be somewhere near the end of (one iteration of) the First Age.

It appears I am not the only one to reach this conclusion, as you can see from the evidence accumulated at Real-world references. If this speculation is correct then certainly at least satellites and some human spaceflight existed.

As far as I know neither the canon nor the authors of canon have ever expanded on the question more deeply. Nothing is mentioned about space technology at Age of Legends, only miscellaneous sub-orbital aircraft.

It's quite possible that extraterrestial colonisation would simply be too hard even for a civilisation equipped with the mythic technology of the Age of Legends. There are all sorts of barriers that need to be overcome; I don't just mean the hostility of extraterrestial environments or the vast distances to overcome, which in turn require immense amounts of fuel. There are more prosaic barriers that may well prevent us from ever making great leaps, for example see End of Space - Creating a Prison for Humanity.

With all those barriers to interplanetary or interstellar colonisation, it might explain why channelers in the Age of Legends ended up focusing on the development of weaves such as Travelling and Skimming. After perhaps attempting to develop space travel as we understand it at the end of the First Age, they might have decided that the reward:cost ratio is just too punishing compared to alternative methods. Access to other worlds through Portal Stones also would have offered an out that obviates the need for space travel.

tl;dr:

  1. Canon is not opinionated about whether or not space flight was common or even possible in the Age of Legends. Everything else is speculation.
  2. If space flight were common in the Age of Legends, it seems likely that canon would have expanded on this topic. The failure to express any opinion suggests that space flight was not a large part of Age of Legends civilisation.
  3. Some kind of space flight would not be inconsistent with canon.
  4. If you give credence to one popular fan theory that we are approaching the start of the Age of Legends, then some level of space flight is furthermore likely, not just "not inconsistent".
  5. There are reasons consistent with real-world physics about why space flight would not necessarily have become greatly developed during the Age of Legends, despite the, ahem, legendary levels of technology available.
  6. In addition to (5), canon is clear that there existed alternatives to space flight. When combined with the physical challenges of space travel, these alternatives could have obviated any draw towards the imagined goal of developing a space-faring civilisation.
  • 3
    The examples in that link and "evidence" are quite bad and silly, part of someone's wild imagination. Apart from the well-known fact that Jordan took whole lot of inspiration from all over, Arthur legends, Nordic mythology and so on. Just because a character has a resemblance to one in our world, doesn't mean like our world is part of the Wheel of Time. The only canonical reference we have of the Age of Legends is when Rand sees it through the Rhuidean ter'angreal and it reminds nothing of our world at all. Most notably, we have no channellers, ogier, aiel or prisoned Dark One... – Amarth Dec 20 '18 at 22:17
  • That is why I offered caveats to everything I said. – cryptarch Dec 20 '18 at 22:22
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    @Amarth Robert Jordan has stated that WoT takes place on the same world as ours. "Is our earth a future or past turn of the wheel?" Robert Jordan "Both. The characters in the books are the source of many of our myths and legends and we are the source of many of theirs. You can look two ways along a wheel." source, Question #40 – JMac Dec 21 '18 at 20:14
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    I swear Lanfear mentions "travelling to other stars" at some point as an example of the marvels of the Age of Legends. I'll see if I can dig out the exact quote and provide an answer. – The Forest And The Trees Jan 10 at 11:35
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    Moghedien tells Nynaeve about the stars and other planets in an attempt to distract her. This is in The Shadow Rising, the fight in the Panarch's Palace. "...travel to other worlds, even worlds in the sky. Do you know that the stars are..." – GWPROD Mar 10 at 5:21
0

TEOTW chapter 4 answers your question:

"Tell us about Lenn," Egwene called. "How he flew to the moon in the belly of an eagle made of fire. Tell about his daughter Salya walking among the stars."

  • 2
    Whilst this clearly answers the question this answer would be greatly improved by expanding upon the quote and elaborating on it. Also if they do go on to talk about Lenn at some point in more detail that would improve this more too. – TheLethalCarrot Jun 3 at 13:40

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