Star Trek proves why spaceships shouldn’t land on planets

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By landing the USS Protostar on a strange new world, Star Trek: Prodigy illustrated why it is always wiser to keep spaceships in orbit and beam them down.

Warning: SPOILER for Star Trek: Child Prodigy Season 1, episode 4 – “Dream Catcher”.

Starfleet ships are built for space operations as well Star Trek: Child Prodigy Episode 4 shows why landing a spaceship on a planet is a bad idea. After escaping the mining slave world Tars Lamora, ruled by the evil fortune teller (John Noble), the young crew of the USS Protostar, with the help of the hologram Kathryn Janeway (Kate Mulgrew), familiarizes themselves with their new spaceship. But the rebels, led by Captain Dal R’El (Brett Gray), put themselves and their spaceship in danger when they landed the Protostar on an unknown planet.

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Although most of Star Trek takes place in space, spaceships can land on planets. JJ Abrams’ Star Trek In 2009, the USS Enterprise was even built in Iowa instead of an orbital shipyard. However, due to the prohibitive cost of the visual effects, Star Trek rarely shows spaceships landing on planets, which was particularly the case during Time Star Trek: The Original Series. From a production perspective, the transporter was invented as an ingenious (and cost-saving) way to quickly and conveniently beam characters from the Starship Enterprise to the planets that Captain James T. Kirk (William Shatner) and his crew visit every episode. But there have been rare occasions when a spaceship landed on a planet, such as Star Trek Into Darkness when the Enterprise plunged into the ocean of the planet Nibiru.

Related: Star Trek’s New Fastest Ship Changes the Franchise’s Lore

Star Trek: Child Prodigy Episode 4 is a cautionary tale of why spaceships should stay in orbit when visiting a strange new world. When Hologram Janeway ordered the Protostar’s crew to explore a class M planet in the Hirogen system, Dal led his crew to land their spaceship on the surface. But they soon learned that the planet is a malevolent sentient being that lets visitors know their deepest desires so that they can consume them. When Dal and the others realized they were in danger, they were too late to save the protostar. The planet captured the spaceship with tendrils and prevented it from taking off and going Star Trek: Child Prodigy‘s characters trapped in the hostile world.


Prodigy Protostar caught

The fact that the USS Protostar has a landing gear means that it was built to land safely on planets. In fact, the Protostar appears to be much smaller than starships like the Enterprise, so it could be built for both suborbital missions and incredibly fast war prices, as the Protostar has two warp drives. But that still doesn’t mean that landing a spaceship on a planet is a good idea, especially since it is often against the First Directive. In Star Trek: Child Prodigy Episode 4, Hologram Janeway mistakenly did not discover any life forms on the planet so they did not think they were breaking Starfleet’s General Order One and exposing a pre-warp civilization to technology that would violate the natural order of their evolution.

That is different Star Trek Into Darkness when Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) ordered the Starship Enterprise on a mission to Nibiru to cool its planetary core. Kirk eventually broke the First Directive by meeting the natives of the planet face to face and allowing them to see the Enterprise as it took off to rescue Spock (Zachary Quinto) and escape Nibiru. But in the Prime Timeline, Captain Kirk (William Shatner) also broke the Prime Directive in Star Trek IV: The Journey Home by landing a Klingon Bird-of-Prey in San Francisco in 1986. Fortunately, the Klingon ship was camouflaged even though the crew of a fishing boat saw the spaceship when Kirk beamed two humpback whales aboard.

It’s interesting that hologram, as the training avatar of Protostar Dal and his crew, encouraged Janeway to land on the planet instead of advising them to keep the spaceship in orbit and beam it down. As a Starfleet ship, the Protostar is certainly equipped with transporters, although Gwyn discovered that the shuttle was damaged. Regardless, the USS Protostar’s landing on a hostile world turned out to be a terrible decision and illustrated why Star Trek keeps spaceships in orbit during Starfleet missions.

Next: Star Trek: Why Prodigy Discovery Show Won’t Break Canon

Star Trek: Child Prodigy streams on Paramount + on Thursdays.


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