In The Expanse, when Miller is

on Eros, accelerating towards Earth, chased by the Rocinante

we can guess there's a fair bit of acceleration and plenty of G's

as per the crew of the Rocinante having trouble keeping up. Even Eros is accelerating further still

yet Miller is unaffected by this acceleration. Why? Is it

some undisclosed property of the protomolecule

that's able to dampen inertia?


Both the novels and the TV show mention that the protomolecule system on Eros is able to eliminate inertia. When the still under-construction enormous Mormon-commissioned generation ship Nauvoo is comandeered and used as a bomb to try to destroy Eros, the protomolecule quite rapidly impels the asteroid out of the way. Miller is on the surface of Eros at the time, witnesses the Nauvoo missing, realizes what has just happened, and explicitly reflects that he felt no acceleration. Other characters understand interial-dampening to be within the abilities of the system built by the protomolecule.

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    This is the final nail in the coffin for any notion of The Expanse being a hard scifi setting. What I enjoyed most about the series was that it took the notion of the concepts of inertia and acceleration seriously if its solutions to the problems they posed were often ludicrous (spin gravity, anyone?). Then in the middle of the climax it throws all of that out the airlock, lampshades the G-force, forgets completely about conservation of momentum, and becomes science fantasy with extra steps. Apr 9 at 20:47
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    @ApproachingDarknessFish If the treatment of Eros bothers you, then I suggest you may not be too happy with what comes after.
    – Peter M
    Apr 9 at 21:05
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    @ApproachingDarknessFish, even with the protomolecule shenanigans, The Expanse is a harder scifi setting than 99.9999% than anything else. Even 2001 A Space Odyssey had the monolith with the FTL star gate. Apr 10 at 11:51
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    @approachingdarknessfish What would actually constitute hard sci fi then? Not Asimov, Niven, or Clarke, with those criteria. Must be stuff I’ve never read nor seen. Apr 10 at 19:53
  • I wasn't bothered that it broke the laws of physics as we understand them. I was bothered that it broke the rules of its own setting 90% of the way through the book with, afaict, no foreshadowing. Apr 10 at 21:34

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