In Star Trek Insurrection we see Captain Picard and Worf spinning upside down repeatedly while flying in an atmosphere in a shuttle and trying to capture Data.

After they even out, Worf gets up and walks to the back of the ship, having been unrestrained.

Why didn't they fall out of their seats while they were upside down? Do starfleet ships use artificial gravity even while they're in atmosphere? If this is true, is there an explanation as to how this doesn't have double the effect when they've leveled out?

Maybe this has something to do with the inertial dampeners? I'm looking for an in universe explanation, hopefully someone with one of the official guides can answer.

  • 1
    Velcro, my dear Data.
    – Xantec
    Sep 10, 2012 at 2:00
  • Uh, err, wouldn't using "dampers" simply make someone or something feel/be slightly damp? At least we know that they didn't use "darners" to darn them in place. As for me, I thought that I was always hearing "dampeners" and reading the CC subtitles that matched. Also, in books, I think they used "dampener(s)". Mar 15, 2013 at 8:20

1 Answer 1


Artificial gravity doesn't just apply a constant force; if it did, it couldn't compensate for the tremendous accelerations starships routinely undergo. (Evidence: The crew is not turned into strawberry jam on the rear bulkhead every time they go to warp, or even low impulse.)

Atmospheric reentry (more accurately in this case, atmospheric entry) can involve substantial accelerations. Any ship's artificial gravity has to compensate for that. Given its demonstrated capabilities, keeping the crew in their seats with the ship upside down relative to a nearby planet is easy.

  • 3
    And that's why they call them inertial dampeners. They dampen the effect of inertia that would otherwise jamify the crew.
    – DampeS8N
    Sep 10, 2012 at 17:53
  • @DampeS8N: I think they call them "dampers", not "dampeners". Sep 10, 2012 at 18:58
  • 5
    Dampers, Dampeners, as long as it has Dampe in it, I'm cool
    – DampeS8N
    Sep 11, 2012 at 2:31
  • I think you mean constant velocity, not constant force. A force translates to an acceleration, constant or not, and an acceleration is not a constant velocity. May 15, 2017 at 21:48
  • @GhotiandChips: No, I meant constant force. Artificial gravity (at least in one way of looking at it) has to apply a variable force to counteract the force imposed by the ship's variable acceleration. May 15, 2017 at 22:53

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