Every episode I’ve ever seen has the away team walking around like they’re on Earth (for obvious out of Universe reasons). Are there any episodes where the actors pretend it’s difficult to walk around due to higher than Earth gravity or hop around with ease due to lower than Earth gravity?
Has the Star Trek away team ever beamed down to a planet with significantly higher or lower gravity than Earth?
8not a planet, but in Star Trek VI, Enterprise crew beam to the Klingon ship which is without artificial gravity and are wearing magnetic boots. Exo III (TOS: What Are Little Girls Made Of?) had 1.1g– NKCampbellOct 26, 2020 at 17:09
2"SPOCK: Ship's record banks show little we don't already know about this planet, Captain. Gravity is one point one of Earth, atmosphere within safety limits." - chakoteya.net/StarTrek/10.htm– ValorumOct 26, 2020 at 18:57
2"for obvious in Universe reasons" Do you mean out of universe?– AcccumulationOct 27, 2020 at 2:24
9"in universe" refers to the fictional universe. That's not specific to the site or Star Trek: en.wiktionary.org/wiki/in-universe– AcccumulationOct 27, 2020 at 5:11
1@nkcampbell, may I ask if it's "done well" (as in The Expanse) or are they "merely pretending" (as in Batman scaling a skyscraper, hah)?– KlaymenDKOct 27, 2020 at 18:05
In Amok Time, Kirk, Spock, and McCoy beam down to Vulcan. None of the actors "pretend that it's difficult to walk around"; but other sources indicate that Vulcan has a higher gravity than Earth, as well as being hotter and having a thinner atmosphere.
This discussion on TrekBBS indicates that there is textual evidence that Vulcan's gravity is higher, where James Blish's story adaptation of the episode calls the shot McCoy gives Kirk a "high-G vitalizer shot". The Star Fleet Medical Reference Manual is also said to reference Vulcan as a high gravity planet.
As for canonicity: the Blish adaptations were commissioned by Bantam Books, who owned the license to publish Star Trek based fiction. He often went "off script" when writing, the above quote being an example. The SFMRM is an official publication of Paramount Pictures.
I think the best that can be said is that there is reasonably sound, relatively canonical basis for stating that Vulcan has a higher gravity than Earth, and that indeed a ST:TOS landing party went there and beamed down, though they did not pretend to be affected by the supposedly higher gravity.
I'm accepting this answer as it has the most number of votes, I think between all the comments and all answer a reader can get a generally complete answer to this question. Throughout the comments it was brought up that class M planets have gravity close to Earth. These planets will also have atmospheric pressure close to Earth.– user127833Nov 30, 2020 at 16:06
If an away team were suddenly transported to a planet with significantly different atmospheric pressure than the ship, they may experience the bends or something similar. Even if an away team could survive for a short period of time on a planet with significantly different gravity the show usually just has them land on class M planets.– user127833Nov 30, 2020 at 16:10
I don't think we've seen a Starfleet away team beam down to a planet with dramatically higher or lower gravity than that of Earth. This is in part because they mostly beam down to M-class planets, and one of the characteristics of M-class planets is that they usually have gravity similar to that of Earth.
There can be some variation though. In the Star Trek pilot episode, The Cage, an away team beamed down to Talos IV, which was stated by an unnamed officer to have gravity 0.9 that of Earth. Conversely, in TOS episode, What Are Little Girls Made Of?, an away team landed on Exo III, which was stated by Spock to have gravity 1.1 that of Earth. In neither instance did the away teams indicate that the gravity on those planets was noticeably different from what they were used to.
There apparently were some populated worlds in the Alpha Quadrant with gravity very different to that of Earth though. In the DS9 episode, Melora, we were introduced to Ensign Melora Pazlar, an Elaysian. As a result of growing up on the Elaysian homeworld, a planet with gravity substantially lower than that of Earth, she found the artificial gravity on Deep Space Nine to be debilitating, to the point that she required a wheelchair to get around the station comfortably. We never really got to see the Elaysian homeworld itself though, aside from a photo which was likely taken there.
2Would an M-class planet necessarily have similar gravity to Earth? The primary qualification is that the planet would be an appropriate distance from a Star . I may do some back of the envelope calculations on this. It would seem you simply need a planet in a habitual zone which isn’t directly related to planet size. My initial hunch would be a larger star would have a larger zone and have the possibility for a larger M-class planet. You did say “similar” so maybe there’s some correctness to that. I may look into it.– user127833Oct 27, 2020 at 14:49
1great reference to Melora. That's the closest example of the OP is actually looking for in terms of the effect of different planetary gravity on different species. Oct 27, 2020 at 15:26
1@Doug Small Berries - Memory Alpha's page on gravity says: "An M class planet was defined, in part, by having a gravity that is approximately equal to Earth's sea level." The ENT episode, Fallen Hero, is cited as a source. Admittedly, I rewatched this episode, and didn't notice any such statement being made. That's why I qualified my statement with the word "usually", because it is true to say that M-class planets visited by Starfleet away teams do usually have gravity similar to that of Earth, even if it isn't a strict requirement. Oct 27, 2020 at 18:17
1@DougSmallBerries The gravity of a planet will also have an impact on atmospheric pressure, which might also be included in what makes a planet "Class M". (Although, gravity isn't the only thing - Mars has 38% Earth's gravity, but less than 1% atmospheric pressure, due to the solar wind stripping gasses off into space) Oct 27, 2020 at 21:43
3If gravity is too much lower than Earth it won't hold an atmosphere. If gravity is too much higher it will hold hydrogen/helium and you won't have a breathable atmosphere. Oct 27, 2020 at 23:50
This did not involve any beaming down, but it does answer part of your question:
Are there any episodes where the actors pretend it’s difficult to walk around due to higher than Earth gravity
Yes, kind-of. In Learning Curve (VOY), crew members are seen panting after having completed multiple laps around the deck and Tuvok raising the artificial gravity on that deck by 10%. Do note however that the crew members are out of shape and Tuvok (as a former instructor) is basically trying to get their fitness level up with improvised physical education. So it's not clear how much panting would've been involved had the gravity not been changed, but it's strongly implied it was relevant here.
You wouldn't notice if they did. Modern infantry carry 30% of their weight in equipment, and you don't see them finding it difficult to walk; Starfleet is a military organisation¹ and the personnel are supposed to be fit². So any M-class is going to be ok, if the away team carries their usual light equipment load and beaming around rather than yomping, it isn't really going to be worth mentioning anything up to maybe 40% more than Earth.
Gravity can vary a lot - 'significantly' higher gravity suggests the in-universe reason of being asphyxiated as you're too weak to lift the weight of your ribs or passing out as you can't pump blood to your head, but that would be at several times Earth gravity. Significantly lower gravity implies that you don't have as much atmosphere, and so need to suit up or at least wear breathing apparatus; TOS don't tend to go to locations they need to wear suits.
- in the sense that when at red alert, every crew member is expected to be able to fight, rather than having a separate military force within the crew for away teams, boarding or other kinetic actions.
- not necessarily as fit as C20th infantry in terms of carrying packs for multiple days, but certainly fit enough not to be a liability in combat or away missions
@DougSmallBerries the definition used in Star Trek (at least according to Memory Alpha), is that it is capable of sustaining humanoid life. Too much gravity for humans means it fails that test. Oct 27, 2020 at 14:49
1It might be noticeable if they jumped, although sadly we don’t often see that either. Oct 27, 2020 at 17:10
Starfleet is not a military organization, according to the Great Bird of the Galaxy: scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/54154/… Oct 27, 2020 at 22:41
1@NKCampbell All the evidence suggests they have all the aspects of a military organisation. There are plenty of real world military organisations which claim not to be, and only exist to protect and serve. Oct 27, 2020 at 23:30
ok - but Gene said they weren't so... :) Oct 28, 2020 at 13:35
They obviously did, but not to the extent that it bothers them. Exceptions being the zero-g or very close to it scenarios.
All M-class planets are somewhat close to Earth gravity. It's part of the definition!
Anything more than 0.5g and less than about 1.8g is handled with nonchalance by the very well-trained crew. As are any except the most extreme of temperature, humidity, and light levels. As Starfleet, they are trained to adapt and function in all sorts of environments.
and most importantly:
- The convert-o-matic cameras used to record their shenanigans filter out all of the weird stuff, makes all aliens look like humans with a dab of face putty, and lip-synchs all alien languages through the Universal Translator. This very effective filter of course hides most of the actual differences of the alien planets from us, the viewers.
edit: about g-tolerances. Those come from NASA studies about human kinematics. Below about 0.5g, we bounce due to leg muscle trigger thresholds. Above about 1.8g, we stumble due to insufficient elasticity in the achilles and other leg tendons. One assumes that personnel will be trained to all gravities where their bodies function adequately.
6"Anything more than 0.5g and less than about 1.8g is handled with nonchalance by the very well-trained crew" - [Citation needed]– ValorumOct 27, 2020 at 16:41
1I always did wonder about the lip-synching.– alfvaenOct 28, 2020 at 17:53
@Valorum It was always my impression that none of the star trek personnell was very, ahem, sensitive.– KarlOct 28, 2020 at 19:36
@MarvinKItfox It seems to me that if the natives of a planet look like ordinary Earth humans without superdeveloped muschles and bones, the surface gravity should be less than about 1.25 to 1.50 times that of Earth, believed to be the upper limit for humans to tolerate for long periods such as living on the planet. See Habitable Planets for Man, stephen H. Dole, 1964. rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/commercial_books/2007/… Oct 28, 2020 at 21:59
1... I wonder if the different visuals of Klingons are also based on a new generation convert-o-matic cameras software ... Oct 29, 2020 at 14:04