Many of the Belters in the Expanse TV series wear mohawks and beards.

Naomi has a mohawk.

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Miller has kind of mohawk, more like a lot of hair that flops over one side.

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I've seen many minor characters with mohawks. enter image description here

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Amos sometimes trims his beard close, and sometimes wears it longer. enter image description here

So do many others.

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Belters tend to have personal vac-suits. Many in the UN navy and Martian navy have government-issued spacesuits.

Wouldn't beards and mohawks get in the way of space helmets?

You'd think they would be as clean shaven as Prax Meng and with hair as short as his.

Why do many people who travel in space have beards and mohawks? Especially the Belters. Is there something about hair and beards in Belter culture?

I've only seen the TV series, which hasn't answered this, so if you have answers from the books, that would help.

  • 10
    Maybe a nod to Larry Niven, who introduced the "Belter Strip" in the Known Space universe as preferred haircut for his version of Belters (but then I haven't watched the Expanse and have read only the first book, so I wouldn't know any in-universe reasons). Feb 2, 2020 at 9:45
  • 6
    It's called fashion, dahlink.
    – Valorum
    Feb 2, 2020 at 13:44
  • @Valorum Fashion is one thing. Pragmatic needs like fitting into a space helmet is another. If I remember correctly, in the story, 2061: The Final Oddysey, Arthur C. Clarke wrote that big bushy beards went out of fashion when spacesuits became common.
    – user89104
    Feb 3, 2020 at 5:07
  • 4
    Point of fact... Amos should probably be removed from this list. He's not a Belter, he's an Earther.
    – T.J.L.
    Feb 3, 2020 at 15:31
  • 3
    @Valorum, one given reason for the Belter hairdo in the Known Space stories was to avoid hair getting caught in the spacesuit when sealing the helmet - it was an example to show how fashions evolved from necessities, thus fleshing out Belter culture. I think LincolMan is looking for a similar background here, since just saying "fashion" or "culture" does not explain a terrible lot (of course the other reason Niven gives is that hair should not interfere with sight, which might not quite work for the Expanse mohawks on display here). Feb 4, 2020 at 8:20

1 Answer 1


The mohawks, beards and the overall fancy and unusual look (from an Earther point of view) of the Belters are just part of their culture.

Consider that:

  • Earthers and Martians ships are mostly military, so you have stricter dress codes; Belters, on the contrary, are not just astronauts or "space travelers", they actually live in space, being it a ship or an asteroid base, these are their homes, not the places where they are stationed; they don't need to adhere to an imposed code of conduct (including dress code) that you would expect form a military hierarchy.
  • Their society is based on ideals like freedom, anarchy and rebellion; these are very much the founding values of their nation, and under these circumstances, you can expect people to openly express their distinctiveness and diversity with looks that purposely goes away from the "plain" clean and shaven.
  • This particular look is also a sign of their nationalistic pride, dressing and looking differently from people from the Inner Planets could also be considered a physical manifestation of a political stance that wants to draw the line between "us" and "them".
  • Their culture has many other peculiar traits if compared with Earthers and Martians: their language, the Belter Creole, was born from a melting-pot of cultures and traditions, and they also possess a complex system of gestures that serve as a non-verbal way to communicate; their physiology changed to adapt to low gravity environments, in these respects they are a different kind of human; to a culture that possess all these peculiar traits, it would be very strange not to possess also an own preference in matter of style and fashion, and to stick to those coming from other planets.
  • From a practical point of view, wearing a spacesuit or an helmet does not inherently prevent you to have long hair or a beard; as an example, Bobbie Draper, a Martian Marine and quite much the opposite of a Belter as personality and attitude, has long hair that she ties in a chignon when she must wear a spacesuit or powersuit.
  • Even real life astronauts, while this is not usually the norm, have had long hair or beard/mustaches while in space: Paul Scully-Power was the first bearded astronaut, Chris Hadfield wore mustaches, Gerald Carr and William Pogue were full-bearded whilst on Skylab 4; and there are many examples of female astronauts with long hair: Marsha Irvins, Jessica Meir, Christina Koch.
  • This is a good answer and already worthy of an upvote. If you add quotes from the books, that would earn my approval.
    – user89104
    Feb 3, 2020 at 5:16
  • 1
    The Belter culture (and even Martian and Earther, for that) is described along all the novels and the show episodes; their Creole, gestures, anarchist mentality and rivality against the Inners are referenced along all the narration, making an infinite list of all these references would not be that useful, IMHO.
    – Sekhemty
    Feb 3, 2020 at 8:36
  • 3
    Food for thought... Modern military combat aviators don't have beards or mustaches because facial hair interferes with the seal of the air mask. Space suits use full helmets, eliminating that particular issue.
    – T.J.L.
    Feb 3, 2020 at 15:30

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