On one hand, residents of the Twelve colonies perfected travel in spaceships and FTL jumps, but on the other hand, they have some really low-tech technologies, such as disconnecting a network by pulling at a lot of cables [1], or having no better way of checking for weapons other than the x-ray machines [2]. Can that be explained by something other than flawed writing?

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    Well if your firewall, was just about to be broken through, and the enemy take over the last battlestar, that was protecting the last people of humanity, wouldn't you unplug the cables to make sure there was absolutely no way they could access the ship?
    – Jonathan.
    Apr 9, 2011 at 17:49
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    Because RDM hates technobabble. Sep 7, 2011 at 15:29
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    Why would networks using "a lot of cables" be "low-tech"?
    – user8693
    May 17, 2015 at 21:20

8 Answers 8


The disconnection of networks is explained in the miniseries that starts the reboot - the Galactica was one of the only remaining warships that was not networked - and this is what saved it from the malware portion of the Cylon attack. The newer ships, connected using some sort of advanced networking, were infected by the Cylons, and so destroyed.

Some humans knew that technology could - maybe must - lead to the destruction of their race, e.g. by creating the Cylons (workers who later devastatingly rebelled). As such, there was distrust of advanced technology - Adama, in particular, expresses this a lot early in the series (he had a lot of experience with the Cylons from the earlier war). The Galactica was his command (for around three years prior to the start of the series), so the lack of the most recent technology makes sense.

In addition, the Galactica was 50 years old - it was about to be decommissioned as the series began. As a result, the technology on board was not as recent as that on the colonies - and this was supplemented by what survivors of a genocidal attack happened to have. They didn't have time to develop or build new technology during the events of the series, or foreknowledge to pack every high-tech device they might need aboard these ships.

  • That's true, but what about the other things, like the x-ray machine on Cloud Nine? It was pretty simple (and flawed).
    – Innab
    Apr 9, 2011 at 13:06
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    @Innab They didn't go into space intending on a long voyage, so they had to make due with what they had. Either Galactica's security equipment was outdated (it was about to become a museum), or it was a civilian model one of the ships happened to have (maybe from the prison ship), or they didn't have any at all and the techs banged it together. Also, technology doesn't have to advance all at the same pace. Finally, paranoia about Cylon infiltration may have caused them to downgrade everything security related.
    – Schwern
    Apr 9, 2011 at 15:13
  • I wouldn't take the new series as canon about the original... Different people wrote it. The solution is probably far simpler: why not? Cables work, are easy to maintain and cheap to place. You can carry a few miles of spare cable a lot easier than millions of electronic circuit boards. And of course, when the series was created, fiber optics didn't exist as they do know so they'd not be available for making the models and sets :)
    – jwenting
    Apr 11, 2011 at 6:58
  • @jwenting my assumption was that this question was only about the reboot (as both of the episode links are reboot ones). I've never seen the original series, so I have no idea if the technology there is low-tech (for the time) or not.
    – Tony Meyer
    Apr 11, 2011 at 11:44
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    @jwenting the reboot does mention a electronic attack... it's a couple of throwaway references, but it's why the rest of the fleet was unable to come to battlestations... and part of Gaius' treachery (He provided the security codes for the networks). I think it was strong enough a series to stand without the Galactica name, and in fact, the Galactica name cost it quite a few viewers; perhaps more than it brought back. It shares only the basic premise with the original BSG.
    – aramis
    Apr 13, 2011 at 16:57

I can't remember where I saw it, might have been a behind the scenes show on sci-fi channel, but there was an interview with Moore that he talked a few minutes about the tech of BSG.

He explained that one of the goals of the reboot of BSG was to keep the technology simple and close to current day "realistic" idea of technology. Obviously, they had to fudge some stuff with FTL drives and the likes but otherwise he said they didn't want technology to get in the way of the story.

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    I agree. Plus low tech and hi-tech can co-exist. Our phones are a 1000 times more powerful than the first personal computers and can connect to devices almost anywhere on the planet, but we still use simple hammers and nails, not magnetic bolts or nano-glue. The simpler the technology, the longer in endures!
    – HNL
    Nov 19, 2011 at 7:32

Apart from being old. Galactica was designed that way. Because Cylons are machines they can easily use and manipulate advanced technology (so the theory goes)

Because of this Galactica was designed with the lisede technology possible so it can do the job but nothing more so it is relatively safe from the Cylon interference. It is not even networked so even if its captured it will not contaminate other ships.


Was anyone here actually impressed with any of their spaceships? None of them were built for anything beyond a cruise around the 12 Colonies. None could handle long duration missions.

And with the exception of the two warships we saw (Galactica and Pegasus), none of them were any good at handling battle damage.

It looked to me like their space technology was fairly immature. They no doubt retained some of the technology they had at the time of the founding of the Colonies (some of which may have come from the Lords of Kobol), but I don't get the impression that their technology advanced very much after that, until recently.

In fact, do we have any reason to believe that they came from Kobol in FTL-capable ships? They may have only developed FTL in recent centuries, and it clearly wasn't cheap enough to put on every ship, "just in case".

  • consider that space war is rather impractical, and barges are the ideal way to transport goods over long distance, and nothing more advanced is needed. In fact the whole idea of space fighters is technically ludicrous, at most they'd come in handy for atmospheric/planetary reconnaiscance. And that's my main gripe with the tech in BSG, the fighters aren't realistic.
    – jwenting
    Apr 12, 2011 at 11:43
  • @jwenting, why is space war impractical?
    – Innab
    Apr 13, 2011 at 14:50
  • space war is impractical because of the timing involved. By the time your fleet gets to the battle area, either you've been detected years ago and the response is overwhelming, and/or the issues will have been settled while you were underway. Don't you love relativistic timescales? A good article about the impracticality at a tactical level is this: projectrho.com/rocket/spacewarintro.php
    – jwenting
    Apr 14, 2011 at 6:40
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    @jwenting: the FTL in Galactica does violate Newtonian physics. Apr 14, 2011 at 16:52
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    @jwenting: An FTL drive that doesn't violate Newtonian physics would be rather surprising. Mar 28, 2014 at 1:12

We know nothing about their FTL technology -- maybe it is fairly simple, either because this is a property of BSG universe or just we are missing something obvious (there was a short story about Earth being attacked by antigravity- and FTL- capable creatures of an overall middle ages level, but I can't recall the title now :-( ).

Also, the technology development path is rather a tree than a ladder -- some branches may greatly overtake the others, especially with some directed stimuli (for instance rocket technology development during the cold war).


One simple explanation could be economics and expectation. It could perhaps be very expensive/uncommon to build portable weapons out of plastic, so you expect x-ray machines to be able to detect almost all weapons. Similarly, you may not expect infiltration from enemies so your security apparatus may be geared toward heavy-duty attacks. Remember that even the military has to pay in one form or another for things it builds and operates, so they prefer inexpensive things like cables instead of wi-fi.

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    ++ security systems. If your ships are securely docked at military bases that have perimeter security, you don't need elaborate security measures on the ships themselves. Of course with those bases destroyed, they had to cobble up something from available resources, and an x-ray machine from sickbay can be converted into a portable x-ray scanner for your security department relatively easily.
    – jwenting
    Apr 11, 2011 at 7:00
  1. The galactica was the oldest remaining ship in the colonial fleet at the time of the attack it was 50 years old
  2. the computer systems were neither networked nor integrated during these refits due to the fears of its commander, William Adama. Due to this lack of network integration at the time of the Cylon attack, Galactica was unaffected by the infiltration program used by the Cylons to disable Colonial vessels and defense systems, using the Command Navigation Program (CNP), developed by Dr. Gaius Baltar and subverted by Cylon operative Number Six as a back door into such systems.

The in-story explanations of the Galactica being an older ship, the rag-tag nature of the surviving fleet, and some deliberate intention to be immune to Cylon hacking, all make some sense. But I think it all leads to an interesting and I suspect very intentional out-of-story effect: to me at least, G:TRS looks and feels at least as much--and in some senses even more--like the late 1970s than TOS did. It's very nostalgia-heavy for the viewers who remember, not only the original show, but what the world was like around us when we watched it. In this sense it is very unlike ST:Discovery, which we are told is set 10 years before ST:TOS but whose technology is completely out of place for that time, and only begins to feel right when the ship and story line are suddenly thrust into the 32nd century. Yet still it's just its own thing; it doesn't look or feel at all like ST:TOS, let alone mid-1960's earth. I find many plot and character elements of G:TRS pretty implausible, but the one thing I most admire it for is its attempt to give us a feel for the past, even when interspersed with the occasional FTL jump.

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