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To those unfamiliar with the series, Gargoyles was an animated Disney television series that aired in the 90's. Unlike most other U.S. animation from the time, it was surprisingly adult-oriented (for Disney, anyway), and had its own fairly consistent canon. The titular gargoyle characters would turn to stone every day and then come alive again at sundown.

Was it ever established if this cycle of turning to stone persisted when not in the presence of a day/night cycle? For instance, on a spacecraft or on an aircraft moving through time zones?

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Gargoyles stone sleep is not actually triggered by dawn, rather it is tied to their biological clocks. When moved from one time zone to another, they don't initially awaken when the sun goes down locally, as their biological clocks take some time to catch up to the new time zone.

Stone sleep lasts from dawn to sunset, except in some odd cases as when gargoyles are being rapidly transported to different parts of the planet, causing their biological clocks to be somewhat off in a variant of jet lag. For instance, when Lexington and Hudson were transported from New York to London during the day, they were now about five hours ahead of their clanmates in Manhattan and their biological clocks had to change as well. Even after only one days sleep, their bodies had already started to adjust and so they ended up waking about three hours earlier than they would've in New York. This was not only disorientating for a gargoyle, but they also felt somewhat sick. After several days, they had completely adjusted. This gargoyle form of "jetlag" seems to be caused by the highly attuned nature of stone sleep to the Earth's bio-rhythms.

So my initial thought would be that they would not turn to stone in space, as they would be disconnected from the Earth, and would have no local daylight/nighttime cycle to attune themselves to. However, stone sleep is a necessary part of their biology, just as we humans need to sleep. During the sleep they heal, and also absorb thermal energy. Anton Sevarius found that they absorbed energy while asleep, but mistook it to be needed for their flight. He believed they actually flew, instead of gliding, the latter requiring far less energy.

On rare occasions, a gargoyle may be able to avoid stone sleep through magical intervention. ... In all these cases, the gargoyle in question still ages at their usual rate and is still able to glide at night, in spite of the loss of stone sleep, because the magic that has removed this need from them also compensates for this loss.

As such, I believe that in the absence of a daylight/nighttime cycle, they would still sleep, although I am uncertain how they would do so. It's unclear if they can force themselves to sleep, or if they would need some external stimulus to assist.


I had the opportunity to ask show creator Greg Weisman this recently, and this is roughly his answer. As part of his work on Gargoyles 2198 he'd considered how stone sleep would work in space. The way he put it is that over the course of a year, a gargoyle needs a certain amount of sleep. During the summer they sleep less, during the winter they sleep more. Over the entire year, they end up getting the sleep they need, in aggregate.

So, in space they would similarly need a certain amount of sleep, and they would get it. The lack of a planet's day/night cycle would confuse their systems initially, making them feel ill/nauseous, but they would adapt to it and establish a new sleep cycle. It wouldn't necessarily be exactly equivalent to the usual day/night sleep schedule, but it would be along those lines.

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    For the record, I asked him how stone sleep would work in space travel. If a Gargoyle traveled to the moon, how would stone sleep work during the trip, and then on the moon? Would they stay awake for 30 days on the moon? Nope.
    – user1027
    Commented Jul 29, 2014 at 15:44
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From the Gargoyles wiki

The creator of the series, Greg Weisman, has stated that he considers gargoyles to be naturally attuned to the planet's rhythms.

That isn't a lot of info to go on, but you can say from that statement that if they traveled to a different time zone, they would automatically adjust to the changes in night / day.

Additionally their physiology suggests that in direct sunlight (regardless of the time of day) they will naturally become stone in order to photosynthesize the light for energy.

Having developed the ability to store solar energy during stone sleep, Gargates do not have to gorge themselves to sustain the muscle needed for gliding.

Since space does not have a cycle, and the concentration of sunlight would be higher than on Earth (assuming proximity to the Sun was sufficent), I would guess the gargoyles would remain in their stone state until they traveled far enough from a star to meet "nighttime" conditions of sunlight. Since they never travel to space, we'll never know for sure. It could be they would just explode.

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  • As a counter point, the gargoyles turned to stone even when inside a windowless room. So direct sunlight is not needed for turning into stone.
    – user16696
    Commented Jul 5, 2014 at 6:48

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