In Stargate Universe, it is explained that 9 chevrons are required to dial the Destiny, but that is only because the Destiny is in transit and is never in a fixed location. To my understanding they only need 9 chevrons so that they can always have access to the Destiny no matter where in the universe it is located and they would not have known where its current location is.

But since they arrived on the Destiny, they should be able to communicate the ship's exact location to the SGC on Earth via the communication stones. All they would have to do is park the ship in orbit around a planet somewhere so that Atlantis can lock on the Destiny and send a team or supplies and if they could gain access to to second ZPM, they should be able to send the second ZPM to Destiny, so that they could dial home. Or does the 8 chevron method does not work for distances 3+ galaxies away?

  • I watched the series a long time ago, but a lot of energy is necessary to dial with 9 chevrons. The fact that the planet they dialed the first time was full of naquada is a key point.
    – Taladris
    Nov 9, 2014 at 14:00
  • @Taladris: Naquadriah. Jun 13, 2016 at 17:50
  • This is an interesting idea actually. I guess there's nothing fundamentally wrong with it, but I'd guess that the resolution of only having 30-odd choices for said eighth chevron just doesn't give you enough mathematical possibilities to make it work that far away. Also, as covered in answers, you'd likely need a ton more power than you're imagining. Aug 22, 2019 at 13:54
  • The question is flawed as its stated in the show that more power is required the further the distance, so even if you could dial with 8 chevrons then it would still need the same power as dialing 9. Except for the added work of calculating the distance (which is pointless as it would still need the same amount of power). I suspect the answer is yes its possible, but pointless as its easier just to use the 9
    – Matt
    Apr 20, 2020 at 17:43

5 Answers 5


... they should be able to communicate the ship's exact location to the SGC on Earth ...

How? The ship is so far away from Earth that the entire Milky Way galaxy is almost certainly not visible from the ship (and even if it were, it would almost certainly not be identifiable from so great a distance), so how do they establish a common frame of reference? Points in space don't naturally come with coordinates, and one can only extend one's given reference system to a new location when one knows where one is relative to an already-known location - information they don't have for Destiny. It's like waking up in a boat in the middle of the ocean out of sight of land - where are you?


The 8th chevron method adds a distance component to dialing out. The 9th chevron is a unique chevron which exists for the specific purpose of dialing Destiny - though it may have had other purposes, none were explored before the series' cancellation - which cannot be reached by any other method. Simply using 8 chevrons doesn't help you reach an address that requires 9 of them, regardless of how many ZPMs or naquadria-cored planets you have to power your wormhole.

  • You might be right about that, but they could try dialing a planet near the Destiny's location using the 8 chevron method. Additionally, we already know that it is possible using the 7 chevron method it is possible to dial the Destiny from a near by planet, so one would think that you could use the 8 chevron method from another galaxy. To my understanding the 7 and 8 chevrons are for dialing stargates based on location and the 9th is used to dial a specific stargate. It is possible that every stargate in the system has a 9-chevron address attached to it.
    – Thylorion
    Nov 9, 2014 at 9:48
  • 3
    The 8th chevron adds a distance component. It is implied, though never stated, that Destiny is far too distant for that method to work. It may be possible to dial a gate near Destiny using the 8 chevron system, but the power requirements would presumably be just as, or at least close to, as power-intensive. WHy take over Langara and dial 8 chevrons when you might as well dial 9? Nov 9, 2014 at 12:09
  • 2
    yes my understanding was that destiny was instead of being 1-2 galaxies away, it was across the universe. many many galaxies away.
    – Himarm
    Nov 10, 2014 at 14:13
  • @Himarm: Yes, I believe it was actually described as being millions of light years from Earth, possibly outside of the observable universe. Nov 10, 2014 at 20:07
  • 1
    This doesn't really seem to answer the question. Destiny is X distance away from Earth, so why does an added distance calculation not help you to come up with an eight-chevron address for some place in space where Destiny exists at time T? (I assume it's because it's just too far and/or because that gate system is simply not designed to work that way. Though note "we'll have to input the distance calculation" for a dialling between two of them in Twin Destinies) Jan 25, 2018 at 21:43

You probably could but only after you know it's position telling you the first six symbols. Then knowing the distance you could a.) use the proper 7th chevron (assuming different ones denote differences in distance, though it may be one size fits all) And/or b.) Know how much power to supply just to dial the address. In fact the unknown power requirement due to the unknown distance seems to be the only glaring inconsistency in SGU. Guess they were just lucky to assume they needed a big explody planet for a reactor.

I've always wondered if perhaps Destiny was always programed to stop at a certain point or enter a kind of holding pattern awaiting crew. It might explain both the Berserker drones and all the other attention it's attracted if it's done 20 laps through the same dozen galaxies pissing off the locals. Therefore something in the directory entry might've listed the expected power needs but not location.

But as long as you can supply the power and figure out the 8 chevron address there's no reason you can't use it.


Whilst attempting at apply logic to science-fiction shows isn't always the best plan, dovetailing some logic into quotes from the episode gives us something to think about.

You can't use an 8 Chevron method to dial Destiny because the 9 Chevrons are not an address, they are a code. This is backed up by details in Air part I itself.

WALLACE: OK, follow me. The symbols on a Stargate are constellations as seen from Earth –- that's what you said.

RUSH (impatiently): Yes, yes.

WALLACE: OK, so what if Earth is supposed to be the Point of Origin?

RILEY: Chevron two locked.

RUSH: The only viable power source was here –- light years away.

WALLACE: What if that doesn't matter? What-what if ... what if it's the only combination that'll work, like a code?

RILEY: Chevron three locked.

RUSH: A code?

If we then add in some logic; The Destiny is a moving target. Only if it moved directly in straight line with no deviation could it possibly continue to be simply further and further behind the target point specified by the original 6 symbol address. This is spectacularly unlikely as Destiny needs to hop from Galaxy to Galaxy in order to keep being able to recharge in nearby stars. It can't just keep going in a straight line, if the next galaxy along that route is too far away.

  • Supporting your final point about not being a straight line, a chart is displayed at one point (early on in the series) showing the Destiny's path, and it definitely meanders. Aug 16, 2019 at 10:51

The other answers deal with issues like dialing, there's one issue that doesn't seem to be discussed:

All they would have to do is park the ship in orbit around a planet somewhere

This is an oversimplification. It took a long time for Dr. Rush to figure out even rudimentary flight control on Destiny (Sabotage, Episode 16?). Before then, there would have been no possibility of ordering the ship to orbit.

Also, Rush hinted that some of his understanding of the control systems was being guided by the ship's systems - a running theme of the show was the ship trying to aide the crew - and attempting to stop the ship would have raised a conflict with the ship's primary objective (discover the origin of the Signal).

To top everything off, the ship was being pursued by the Nakai and other alien races. Speed is life. If the ship was parked, it would be easy prey for the array for forces out there.

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