As per the revelation at the end of episode 1x02

the Ascension is not actually in space but on Earth, presumably in some sort of underground facility. The starfield around the ship is simulated.

Now, I'm wondering whether the immediate surrounding around the ship is a vacuum.

In the scene the leads up to the aforementioned revelation has someone getting blown out through an airlock. Apparently, there is a significant pressure difference between the inside of the space ship and the outside.

On the other hand, the character being blown out

upon landing on what looks like a soft cushion at the bottom of the "sound stage"

screams in a clearly audible fashion, can breathe without any protective suits, and so can the other people

who are seen sedating him and dragging him away.

Is there an actual vacuum around the ship?

  • If there were a vacuum, there wouldn't be any air for the characters outside the ship to breathe. Commented Mar 31, 2019 at 22:17
  • @RemyLebeau: Isn't that what I wrote in "can breathe without any protective suits"? But you're right, scenes in episode 1x03 make it even somewhat clearer that people can, in principle, walk right up to the ship via one of the gangways and can breathe all the way. Commented Mar 31, 2019 at 22:36
  • 2
    I believe you've answered your own question. Commented Mar 31, 2019 at 23:54

1 Answer 1


There is no vacuum

Lets try to answer this with the Occam's razor as "the answer that requires less speculation is better".

We have multiple proofs that there is air: we have someone screaming and we have people walking around without vacuum suits (if my memory was right, they had some sort of hazmat suits, but that wouldn't survive hard vacuum). On the other hand, we have someone being blown away from the airlock.

So we can either assume that people can scream and walk without protection in a vacuum or that you can be pushed away from the airlock without vacuum.

While the first would require quite a lot of assumptions (i.e. the director doesn't know how physics work), the second is quite easy to explain: it is not the vacuum that pulls you away but the difference in the pressure between the airlock and the outside of it, something you can do by increasing the air pressure in the airlock or by simply pushing the person inside with the stream of air. Especially the latter is most likely, since (contrary to the movies), in reality, you wouldn't be as violently pushed out of the airlock

  • So you mean the effects of the pressure difference are generated on purpose, and stronger than they would be due to the actual pressure difference (because reality is unrealistic, although "the director doesn't know how physics work" seems like a likely assumption, as well)? Possible, although I also consider the presence of any machinery required to simulate effects that would occur on the real ship quite an assumption, given that the crew might discover them while doing maintenance. Commented Apr 1, 2019 at 5:04
  • It would be simply easier to "hose" someone out via the air pressure than building a huge vacuum container around the spaceship.
    – Yasskier
    Commented Apr 1, 2019 at 6:07

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