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Space Ocean

Size comp
Universe : Prime Timeline
Class Name : Space Ocean
Type : Space borne artificially maintained water sphere [1]
Unit Run : Only one known to exist [1] 1 built in total.
Commissioned : Approx. 100,000 years ago [1]
Dimensions : Diameter : 1,200,000 m [2]
Mass : 905 metric tons
Crew : Population 80,000 [1]
Armament : None
Defence Systems : Low level Structural Integrity Field
Docking Facilities : Industrial facilities capable of holding a variety of craft [1]
Space Ocean : Not capable of independent movement; attitude control and/or orbital adjustment only.
Diplomatic Capability : Unknown
Expected Hull Life : Unknown, but thought to be indefinite if properly maintained


One of Voyager's more intriguing discoveries, the space ocean was a ball of water measuring some 1,200 kilometres in diameter. It was inhabited by the Monean Maritime Sovereignty, a group of 47 semi-independent groups who farmed the planetoids vegetation and oxygen. The Moneans discovered the sphere floating in space three centuries ago. Many of their people viewed the sphere as a supernatural gift designed to sustain them, but their scientists came to believe that the sphere had formed naturally in a manner related to the formation of gas giants. [1]

The Moneans had expanded their industrial infrastructure on the sphere over the centuries until over eighty thousand of their people were in residence. However, in recent years a problem had been developing - the containment field which kept the sphere from dissipating had been loosing effectiveness. In the year preceding Voyagers arrival some 7% of the total volume had been lost through weak spots in the field. Voyagers instruments indicated that the sphere would completely dissipate within a further five years. [1]

The Delta Flyer descended into the ocean in an attempt to discover the source of the problem. They found a large reactor unit at the centre of the sphere which was generating the containment field for the entire ocean. Lieutenant Paris was able to access the units computer control system and discovered that the water was once part of a planetary ecosystem. Over a hundred thousand years ago an unknown species used an elaborate kinetic transfer system to lift the entire body off the surface of the planet, a process which took almost 200 years. The system had been abandoned a long time ago, since which time it had been maintained automatically by the computer. Unfortunately, Paris also discovered that the Moneans were responsible for the problems the ocean had developed. Their activities had been gradually increasing the density of the water, increasing the pressure on the reactor. It had been diverting power from the containment field to its own support systems to compensate, so allowing water to escape. [1]

Unfortunately the Monean authorities were reluctant to accept the realities of the threat, and Lieutenant Paris disobeyed orders and the Prime Directive by attempting to destroy some of the Monean installations in order to encourage them to incorporate less damaging technology in the replacements. Captain Janeway was successful in preventing Paris from accomplishing his goal, and he was reduced in rank to Ensign and sentenced to thirty days of solitary confinement in the brig. [1]

The water sphere remains a unique and fascinating artefact, and it is to be hoped that the Moneans will realize the error of their ways and preserve this remarkable ecosystem. [1]

Colour key

Canon source Backstage source Novel source DITL speculation


# Series Season Source Comment
1 VOY 5 Thirty Days
2 VOY 5 Thirty Days Stated in the episode.
Series : VOY Season 5
Episode : Thirty Days
Series : VOY Season 5
Episode : Thirty Days
Comment : Stated in the episode.


Seen in the fifth season episode "Thirty Days", the water sphere was never given a name and relatively few specific details of its operation were given. Nevertheless, we know a surprising amount of canon about it:

The reactor is stated to be around 100,000 years old, giving us a date for the creation of the sphere. The size is established when they talk about going down to the centre, and one of the Moneans exclaims that it is over six hundred kilometres deep. Technically this makes the diameter more than 1,200 km, which is why I tagged that one as approximate. The graphic supporting Paris's description of how it was formed indicates that virtually every drop of water was taken off a planet to make the sphere. This - amazingly - works fairly well; if the sphere was distributed evenly across a similar area as our own oceans cover it would fill them to a depth of about 2,365 metres, compared to our the real average depth of about 3,600 metres. So the sphere is well within the probable variations in planet size and ocean area and depth. Don't ya just love it when the writers get it right!

The mass I calculated assumes a normal density of water of about 1,000 kg/m3. It's marked as speculation because for all we know the reactor unit in the centre contains a few gazillion tons of neutronium or something. The 80,000 population is stated by the Monean bureaucrat in direct response to a question. We know little of the extent of the facilities within the sphere, but they seem fairly extensive - a few miles square and maybe a couple of thousand feet tall at a guess.

We are given no indication that the sphere has weapons of its own, and I would guess not. The three fighter-type ships we see at the beginning attacking Voyager are presumably not the only ones around - the Moneans "shoot first ask questions later" attitude is explained by their having had to defend the sphere against outsiders in the past. I would guess that the place is fairly heavily armed, at least by their standards, but the specs page relates to the sphere itself rather than the craft it carries. I also can't see the containment field being much of an issue. Voyager fired a photon straight through it to intercept Paris's missile, and while they might have had a firing window cleared for them - although there is nothing to indicate that this happened - Paris himself had no trouble flying the Delta Flyer through the field and he most certainly did not have authorization. Although I suppose that a few hundred kilometres of water might count as armour, it doesn't seem to do squat against the weapons used in the episode; the Delta Flyer even fires phasers while its down in the depths! As a result, it gets a zero in armour as well. Since I can't see the sphere getting a rating for speed or agility either, it comes out at an overall value of zero - the only entry on the entire site that does. Technically this would mean that any old shuttle with a machine gun could destroy it, but realistically the size of the thing would make it tough to destroy totally. And the central reactor may or may not be armed and defended, of course.

The Moneans say that they are harvesting oxygen and food from the sphere. Later, it is established that its continued existence is threatened because the water is getting denser. This seems to be increasing the pressure on the central support unit, and as a result it is cutting containment field power and redirecting it to protect itself. Just how one makes water significantly denser by removing oxygen and fish is a mystery which I leave it as an exercise for the reader. ;-)

© Graham & Ian Kennedy Page views : 35,196 Last updated : 31 Jul 2004