In Season 1 Episode 11, Heliopolis, SG-1 travels to a planet where we first learn of the alliance for 4 races, and discover that Ernest Littlefield had survived his trip through the gate in 1945, and had been living alone until they arrived, some 50+ years later. The wiki page for Heliopolis states that the planet's life had been completely extinguished, and Ernest was the first, and only, living thing on the planet. So, how did one man, who had no supplies, manage to live for 50 years? Should he not have died of starvation after only a month or two after arriving?

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    What's more, SG-1 arrives just as the place he's been living for decades is about to be destroyed.
    – Buzz
    Commented Jan 3, 2019 at 20:13
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    @Buzz - I'm pretty sure the vibrations from the stargate were responsible for the collapse.
    – Valorum
    Commented Jan 3, 2019 at 20:40
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    There was also a thunderstorm happening.
    – Hans Olo
    Commented Jan 3, 2019 at 21:27
  • "Should he not have died of starvation after only a month or two after arriving?" I'd be more concerned about dying within a few days due to lack of water.
    – jpmc26
    Commented Jan 4, 2019 at 0:47
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    @jpmc26 - For all we know, that ocean is fresh water
    – Valorum
    Commented Jan 4, 2019 at 10:42

3 Answers 3


The long-shot of the castle shows that it's directly adjacent to an ocean. The land in the distance appears to have green on it. Since we know that he didn't take food supplies, it seems highly likely that Ernest subsisted on fish, whatever wildlife he could trap and whatever plants/greenery he could find, noting that when he first talks to Daniel he hands him a piece of fruit (h/t to @KeralynBrooks for spotting that).

enter image description here

For the record, the wiki source that claims that the planet is entirely devoid of life is from a mission pack in the (canon) role-playing game Stargate: Fantastic Frontiers, and as such can be dismissed entirely since it conflicts with what we see on screen.

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    You gotta love misleading, non-canon information being added to wiki's without clear distinction as to which is which. I haven't gotten a chance to read any of the books yet, so assumed it had come from one of those. Thanks.
    – Daishozen
    Commented Jan 3, 2019 at 21:19
  • @Daishozen - The books are non-canon as well, even the novelisations.
    – Valorum
    Commented Jan 3, 2019 at 21:22
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    @Daishozen - Your mileage may vary. As far as canon is concerned, it goes on-screen, then everything else including the novelisations, interviews, EU novels, RPG games, etc etc
    – Valorum
    Commented Jan 3, 2019 at 21:23
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    @11684 It's not unreasonable to ask for internally consistent fiction, though. Suspension of disbelief only goes so far.
    – chepner
    Commented Jan 4, 2019 at 13:46
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    @JohnA - Allegedly, the fandemonium books and Stargate RPGs are fully canon; forum.gateworld.net/threads/49104-stargate-atlantis-novels/… - That all being said, the studio fully reserves the right to ignore the events therein
    – Valorum
    Commented Oct 5, 2019 at 20:29

He was seen holding a purple ball of something (fruit?), and he said


so probably he survived mainly on plant life.

enter image description here

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    Good find. I've taken the liberty of adding a screenshot of what appears to be a piece of fruit.
    – Valorum
    Commented Jan 3, 2019 at 22:28
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    Looking at the closeup version, it looks like a bell pepper that's either purple or dark brown. Not sure if you can find those for sale or it was painted.
    – user90961
    Commented Jan 4, 2019 at 20:56
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    purple peppers are a thing. easier than spray paint @Graham territorialseed.com/product/Purple-Star-Pepper-Seed/…
    – JCRM
    Commented Jan 5, 2019 at 14:01
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    @JCRM Cool, I'll have to find some of those for this summer. :)
    – Graham
    Commented Jan 8, 2019 at 9:58
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    Definitely not a guango!
    – agarza
    Commented Dec 17, 2020 at 15:22

When they say the planet was devoid of life, I'm sure they specifically meant sentient life. The planet was unoccupied by civilization, therefore it was a neutral meeting ground for multiple civilizations.

The episode clearly shows evidence of plant life, which means the planet definitely supports life, and there were things he could eat. How he managed to not eat something poisonous or toxic in 50 years on an alien planet is remarkable.

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