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Multiple realities
(covers information from several alternate timelines)
Earth
Earth.jpg

Earth from orbit

Class: M
Type: Planet
Satellites: Luna
Native Species: Human
Voth
Humpback whale
Location: Earth system
Sol system
Sector 001
Alpha Quadrant
Affiliation: United Earth
Coalition of Planets
United Federation of Planets
StarfleetAcademy2368.jpg

The surface of Earth

"Earth? Never heard of it."

Earth (or Sol III or Terra) was the inhabited third planet of the Sol system. Earth was the homeworld of the Humans and the Voth, amongst others, and was the capital planet of the United Federation of Planets.

In 2150, with the last nation-states joining, the planet was unified under the United Earth government. It was a founding member of the Coalition of Planets in 2155, and of the United Federation of Planets in 2161. The President's office, the Federation Council, as well as Starfleet Headquarters and the main branch of Starfleet Academy were located on Earth. During the Dominion War, Earth's strategic importance was on par with worlds like Andor, Berengaria VII, and Vulcan. (Star Trek: The Motion Picture; Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home; Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country; TNG: "Conspiracy", "The Best of Both Worlds"; DS9: "Homefront", "Paradise Lost", "In the Cards"; VOY: "In the Flesh"; ENT: "Broken Bow", "Zero Hour", "Home")

Planetary data Edit

Earth, The Blue Marble

"The Blue Marble"

Earth was a spheroid-shaped terrestrial planet with a circumference of 24,874 miles (40,075 kilometers), a mass of 5.98e24×1024 kilograms and a mean density of 5.517. Its atmosphere had an average temperature of 75 °F (24 °C) and consisted of 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen, and smaller percentages of krypton, neon, and argon. (TOS: "Miri", "Metamorphosis", "Bread and Circuses")

The Earth system consisted of a large natural satellite named Luna. (TOS: "The Changeling")

Location Edit

Earthrise

Earth as seen from Luna

Earth was located over two hundred million kilometers from the sun. (TNG: "Relics") This planet, in the Alpha Quadrant, was located less than ninety light years from the Alpha-Beta boundary line.(ENT: "Broken Bow", "Two Days and Two Nights"; Star Trek Into Darkness, production art)

In the late 19th century, the orbit of Earth was depicted on a German map of the inner system. (Star Trek: Enterprise, opening credits)

In 2254, the orbit of Earth was depicted on a map of the inner system, which was stored in the USS Enterprise library computer. This was one of the records scanned by the Talosians. (TOS: "The Cage", production art)

In 2267, the orbit of Earth was depicted on Chart 14A: The Sol System, which was stored in the Enterprise library computer. This chart was scanned by the probe Nomad in Auxiliary Control. (TOS: "The Changeling", production art)

In "Two Days and Two Nights", the NX-class Enterprise, set a milestone several months after the mission to Qo'noS ("Broken Bow"), by becoming the first Earth ship to travel 90 light years away from the Sol system. In "Star Trek: Into Darkness", the location of Sector 001 was labeled on a map displayed on a powerwall in the offices of Admirals Alexander Marcus and Christopher Pike. Lastly, Qo'noS was identified as a Beta Quadrant planet.
According to the Star Trek Encyclopedia, Earth marked the border between Alpha and Beta Quadrants. A specific display graphic on a PADD in Star Trek: Insurrection seems to confirm this. [2] [3] Dialogue in Star Trek: Voyager and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, however, firmly establish that Earth was located on the Alpha Quadrant side of the border. The production artist and designer Geoffrey Mandel wrote, "While the Sol system is divided equally between the Alpha and Beta Quadrants, it is considered to be a part of the Alpha Quadrant." (Star Trek: Star Charts, p. 19)

History Edit

See also: Human history, Federation history, List of Earth conflicts
EarlyEarth

Earth as it appeared about 3.5 billion years ago

The first life on Earth was formed from a group of amino acids that combined to form the first proteins, approximately 3.5 billion years ago [1]. Over four hundred million years ago, in the Devonian period, the genus Eryops was the last common ancestor of both warm-blooded and cold-blooded lifeforms lived.

Approximately sixty-five million years ago, at the end of the Cretaceous period, a comet collided with the planet Earth. This mass extinction event resulted in the death of many reptilian lifeforms. One of the surviving lifeforms belonged to the genus Hadrosaur, which would evolve into the Voth. The Voth eventually left Earth, leaving no apparent trace of their civilization, and colonized a world in the Delta Quadrant. Around the same time, mammals rose to prominence on the land (the Humans) and in the sea (the humpback whales). The first two species shared the basic humanoid appearance, which may be the result of genetic seeding that occurred long ago, by the first sentient species to inhabit the galaxy. (Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home; TNG: "The Chase", "All Good Things..."; VOY: "Distant Origin"; ENT: "Azati Prime")

  1. According to current real-world science, there is evidence that early life already flourished in the oceans at least 3.7 billion years ago. [1]
To portray a primordial Earth in "All Good Things...", Dan Curry drew a concept sketch of the landscape. (Star Trek: The Next Generation - The Continuing Mission, p. 213) The depiction of the prehistoric Earth ultimately consisted of multiple elements. One of these was a small set, on which live-action footage of the actors was filmed. The set contained a pool of water and some miniature cliffs. The establishing shot of the planet in its primordial stages was created mainly through a foreground miniature constructed by Tony Doublin, working from photographs of the set that the actors were filmed on. Another element was ocean waves, filmed at Laguna Beach by Dan Curry along with fellow visual effects artists Joe Bauer and David Stipes. Apart from the live-action set, everything in the shot of the primordial Earth was created by Curry, who digitally combined, manipulated and blended the many separate elements, yet another of which was lava. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 25/26, No. 6/1, p. 63)

Earth was the birthplace of several major religions, such as Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, and Judaism. Some of these religions, in one form or the other, have survived to the 23rd and 24th centuries. (TOS: "Balance of Terror"; DS9: "Penumbra"; VOY: "The Killing Game")

In the 17th century, the scientist Galileo Galilei taught the masses that Earth moved around the sun. For these teachings, he was tried and convicted of heresy by an inquisition, and his books were burned. (DS9: "In the Hands of the Prophets")

Earth was also visited, observed, and occasionally manipulated during its history, prior to official First Contact by Vulcans. One of the earliest extraterrestrial visits was by a race known as the Sky Spirits, originally native to the Delta Quadrant. These also included an ancient humanoid species, the Preservers, descendants of Humans abducted around 4000 BC, and Vulcans themselves, although there is still dispute about this as there was no proof or evidence offered by the Vulcan High Command. The Humpback whales were being observed by an unknown entity who, upon loss of contact with the species, sent a probe to investigate the absence of whale song. In the 19th century, a race called the Skagarans abducted several thousand Humans from the American west and then used them as slave labor. The El-Aurian Guinan also stayed discreetly on Earth. In the 1930s, the Briori visited Earth and abducted several individuals, including famous pilot Amelia Earhart. In the 1950s, a team of Vulcan explorers were temporarily stranded on Earth. (TOS: "Assignment: Earth", "The Paradise Syndrome"; Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home; TNG: "The Chase"; TNG: "Time's Arrow"; ENT: "Carbon Creek"; VOY: "The 37's"; VOY: "Tattoo")

From the mid-20th century onwards, manned and unmanned spacecraft have been launched from either the surface or the orbit of Earth. Several prominent craft that have been launched from Earth include Apollo 11, Nomad, Phoenix, Friendship 1, Enterprise, and the USS Enterprise. (TOS: "The Cage", "Where No Man Has Gone Before", "The Changeling"; Star Trek: First Contact; VOY: "Friendship One") Starting in the 22nd century and continuing on into the 24th, there were major construction projects on the surface and in orbit of Earth that supported the burgeoning expansion of Humans into space. Some of these projects were the Warp Five Complex, the San Francisco Fleet Yards, Spacedock, and Earth Station McKinley. (ENT: "Broken Bow"; TOS: "Where No Man Has Gone Before"; Star Trek III: The Search for Spock; TNG: "Family")

In 2063, with the successful flight of the Phoenix, Earth became warp-capable. (Star Trek: First Contact)

Star Trek: The Next Generation Technical Manual stipulated that at least two other species of marine mammals (Pacific bottlenose dolphins and Takaya's whales) served on board Galaxy-class class starships as either crew or civilian navigation consultants. This was supported in canon by a hatchway label, seen in "We'll Always Have Paris", that read "Tursiops Crew Facility".

According to Daniels, while Earth still existed in the 31st century, it did not exist in the same way as it was defined nine hundred years before. (ENT: "Cold Front")

Attacks on Earth Edit

During its long history, the existence of the planet has been threatened by both natural disasters and actions of alien intelligences.

The Xindi's preemptive strike against Earth was inspired by the September 11 attacks. The idea of endangering Earth with the Xindi superweapon came about after Executive Producers Rick Berman and Brannon Braga noticed that two of the most popular Star Trek films, only ten of which had been created by that time, involved efforts to save Earth. The two movies were Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home and Star Trek: First Contact. (Star Trek Monthly issue 107,  p. 6)
  • On February 14th of 2154, a working version of the Xindi superweapon entered Earth orbit to destroy the planet. The weapon was destroyed by Captain Jonathan Archer before it could complete its task. This marked the end of the Xindi crisis. (ENT: "Zero Hour")
  • In the 2270s, a massive machine lifeform called V'ger threatened to destroy all biological life on Earth, if its demands were not met. The attack was narrowly averted by the crew of the USS Enterprise. (Star Trek: The Motion Picture)
  • In 2286, an alien probe of unknown origin wreaked ecological havoc while trying to contact an extinct species of Humpback whale by transmitting massive amounts of energy into Earth's oceans and unintentionally caused them to begin evaporating. The threat was ended when the former crew of the USS Enterprise, having used a stolen Klingon Bird-of-Prey to travel back in time to before the species' extinction, returned to the present with two Humpbacks; after the two whales gave a response to the probe, it departed the Solar System with little, if any, real harm done to the planet. (Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home)
  • In 2375, the Borg decided to create another strategy, since all direct assaults on Earth had failed, thus far. They planned to detonate a biogenic charge in Earth's atmosphere, infecting all lifeforms with nanoprobe viruses, triggering a gradual assimilation. According to the Borg Queen, half the population would be drones before the effects were discovered. (VOY: "Dark Frontier")
It is uncertain whether this plan came to fruition, but it was likely never applied. According to the non-canon novelization of "Endgame", the nanoprobe virus was brought to Earth and rapidly infected the population.
San Francisco attacked

Starfleet Headquarters on Earth, damaged after a Breen attack

Climate and geography Edit

Earth map

A map of Earth in the 24th century

From at least the dawn of Humans, Earth has been a class M world by planetary classification standards. Earth has several major landmasses and a wide variety of climatic and surface conditions, ranging from tundra to desert. By the 24th century, Humans had installed a weather modification network to alter the natural weather patterns of Earth, including dissipating destructive weather phenomena such as tornadoes. (TNG: "True Q")

Land features, geographical markers, and formations Edit

See also: Geopolitical Regions (Countries and States), Cities and Towns

In artEdit

Once Humans began leaving Earth in the 20th century, they photographed and drew pictures of the planet for various reasons. These pictures were then displayed in homes, offices, and recreation facilities. The earliest Hions of Earth were from the space agencies which sent Humans into space. These included official mission photos and insignias. Many of these images were preserved into the 22nd century and beyond. (TOS: "The Cage"; ENT: "First Flight"}

Human-created points of interest Edit

The New Atlantis Project, if completed, would probably also be considered a Human-created point of interest. There was no evidence it was successfully finished, however.

Parallel universes and alternate timelinesEdit

Alternate timelines Edit

Earth devastatedEdit

Earth 31st Century

Earth devastated in the 31st century

Earth was devastated in several alternate timelines. Accidental time travel from 2371 led to the premature death of Gabriel Bell in 2024. An altered future was created where the more inhumane wars of the 21st century left Earth a pre-warp civilization that never even expanded to the solar system. (DS9: "Past Tense, Part I", "Past Tense, Part II")

When the temporal agent Daniels was instructed to remove Jonathan Archer from the timeline in 2152 and bring him to the 31st century, an alternate future was created where the United Federation of Planets was never formed and Earth was almost completely destroyed. (ENT: "Shockwave", "Shockwave, Part II")

To portray the devastated Earth in the "Shockwave" two-parter, ruined city vistas and a vast library were created in CGI by Eden FX. The methods they employed for this assignment included the creation and use of digital set extensions. (Star Trek Monthly issue 106, p. 45)

In 2370, a new past was created for Earth by the anti-time eruption, where 3.5 billion years ago, amino acids never combined with the first proteins, and life never formed on the planet. This was how the Q Continuum fulfilled its judgment to deny Humans existence. (TNG: "All Good Things...")

Nazi-EarthEdit

Nazi Territory

Nazi Territory in North America

In two alternate timelines, the history of Earth was significantly altered when Nazi Germany was not defeated in World War II. In one, Doctor McCoy saved the life of Edith Keeler in 1930. Keeler went on to form a massive pacifist movement in America, delaying the country's entry into World War II, allowing Nazi Germany time to develop the A-bomb first and take over the world. (TOS: "The City on the Edge of Forever")

In another alternate timeline, Lenin was assassinated in 1916, preventing Russia from turning to communism. This allowed Hitler to concentrate his war effort on the West. With assistance from the Na'kuhl, France and England were conquered before the American East Coast by 1944. (ENT: "Storm Front", "Storm Front, Part II")

Borg-EarthEdit

Earth assimilated

Borg-assimilated Earth

In an alternate timeline, the Borg were successful at preventing First Contact in 2063 and assimilated the Earth. In 2373, the assimilated Earth had an atmosphere containing high concentrations of methane, carbon monoxide, and fluorine. It had a population of approximately nine billion Borg drones. (Star Trek: First Contact)

Earth destroyedEdit

EarthExploding

Earth, moments before exploding

The Earth was completely destroyed in two alternate timelines. In one of the timelines, Jonathan Archer's brain was infected by interspatial parasites and Earth was destroyed by the Xindi superweapon in 2154. This timeline was erased in 2165 when the parasites were destroyed by a subspace implosion aboard Enterprise - because the organisms existed outside normal space-time, their elimination prevented Archer from ever being infected in the first place. (ENT: "Twilight")

The script for "Twilight" describes the destruction of Earth thus; "The planet starts to literally split at the seams... magma and debris ERUPTING along fault lines! Then, in a blinding flash... the Earth EXPLODES... mountain-sized chunks of debris flying everywhere!"

In another alternate timeline, Earth and the entire solar system was destroyed by a massive temporal explosion in the 29th century. The explosion was caused by Henry Starling, when he used the stolen timeship Aeon to travel from the 20th century into the 29th century through an unstable temporal rift. (VOY: "Future's End", "Future's End, Part II")

Alternate realityEdit

Narada fires a mining beam into Earth

Narada firing on Earth

In the year 2258 of the alternate reality, the Romulan mining vessel Narada fired on Earth using a drill platform. Nero was attempting to dig a hole to Earth's core and create a black hole using red matter to destroy the planet. Luckily, Spock was able to destroy the drill well before it could reach the planet's core. (Star Trek)

A year later, Starfleet traitor John Harrison masterminded a bombing on the Kelvin Memorial Archive in London and then attacked Starfleet Headquarters. He later returned to Earth, having commandeered the USS Vengeance, crashing it into San Francisco. (Star Trek Into Darkness)

Mirror universe Edit

USS Defiant orbiting Earth, 2155

The USS Defiant in orbit of mirror Earth

In the mirror universe, Earth's counterpart was the capital of the Terran Empire. History followed a similar yet skewed course on this Earth, by comparison to the history of Earth in the United Federation of Planets, with a more violent, war-ridden past. According to Jonathan Archer, the Empire existed "for centuries" prior to 2155. As a result of the official First Contact with the Vulcans in 2063, Earth gained interstellar technology, allowing the Empire to expand. (ENT: "In a Mirror, Darkly")

The Klingon-Cardassian Alliance conquered the Terran Empire sometime before 2370. (DS9: "Crossover")

Professor Jennifer Sisko had an image of Earth on a uniform she wore while working for the Alliance in 2371. (DS9: "Through the Looking Glass")

According to William Shatner's novel Spectre, dealing with the mirror universe, Alliance ships destroyed the Imperial fleet in their version of the Battle of Wolf 359, and proceeded to reduce mirror-Earth to a barren wasteland. Humans were enslaved by the Alliance.
In Decipher's Mirror Universe, Earth is subjected to a Klingon planetary bombardment during the fall of the Terran Empire. The western half of North America is reduced to wasteland, Ireland and New Zealand are smashed into tiny islets, and the new continent of East Africa is created when a fault line is cracked open. In the aftermath, Earth's cities are rebuilt by the Alliance as giant labor camps and factory complexes. Kolara (the former site of Paris) houses Alliance officials.

Reverse universeEdit

Karl Four

Karl Four on the planet Arret

In the reverse negative antimatter universe, where the flow of time was reversed, Arret was Earth's counterpart. In 2270, Karla Five and her son Karl Four helped the crew of the USS Enterprise to return to the prime universe. (TAS: "The Counter-Clock Incident")

Appendices Edit

Appearances Edit

Related topics Edit

Background information Edit

Initial depictions Edit

In such episodes as TOS: "The Cage" and TAS: "How Sharper Than a Serpent's Tooth", the name "Earth" was used interchangeably with "Sol" when referring to the whole Sol system. Gene Roddenberry preferred that Star Trek writers used the name "Earth" for the planet instead of "Terra". (Star Trek: Communicator issue 113, p. 13)

That Star Trek was obviously to be filmed on Earth led Gene Roddenberry to suggest, in his original 1964 pitch Star Trek is..., the notion of making Star Trek affordable by setting episodes on planets similar to Earth (for instance, those with Class M environments as well as those fitting Hodgkin's Law of Parallel Planetary Development). He wrote, "It means simply that our stories deal with plant and animal life, plus people, quite similar to that on earth [....] The 'Parallel Worlds' concept makes production practical by permitting action-adventure science fiction at a practical budget figure via the use of available 'earth' casting, sets, locations, costuming and so on." Among several story ideas Roddenberry proposed in Star Trek is... were "Mr. Socrates" (which hypothesised that Earth may have been secretly under telepathic observation by an alien society over centuries), "Reason" (which seemed to suggest that the decimation of intelligent life on Earth, leaving merely a robot society, had been a "long speculative" issue on Earth) and "Torx" (which pertained to "the first major menace to Earth," a non-corporeal alien being that "devours" intelligence such as that which "the Earth could supply in quantity").

In a fantasy scene included in the script for first Star Trek pilot episode "The Cage" (dated 20 November 1964) but not included in the installment, an Earth trader referred to Captain Pike as having sent Earth "blistering" reports about Orion traders. [4] Similarly, in an ultimately deleted Kirk voice-over which originally introduced the second pilot "Where No Man Has Gone Before" (for example, in that episode's final revised draft script, dated 9 July 1965), Kirk stated, "Our Earth is but a pinpoint [in our galaxy], one speck of dust." [5]

When it came to depicting a digital matte painting of Mojave in the remastered version of "The Cage" and "The Menagerie, Part II", the ethos behind Star Trek's presentations of the planet proved inspirational. Dave Rossi, VFX Line Producer for Remastered TOS, clarified, "The whole idea about Earth in the 23rd century is that it's a paradise and [....] that also the environment has changed. So, it was very important for us to make sure that everything looked beautiful and lush and green and living, because that's the planet of the future." ("The Menagerie, Part II" Starfleet Access, TOS Season 1 Blu-ray)

During the making of Star Trek: The Original Series, representing Earth of the 23rd century was virtually impossible. This was due to budgetary limitations. (text commentary, Star Trek: The Motion Picture (The Director's Edition) DVD) Specifically, portraying future Earth believably would necessitate elaborate sets and matte paintings, all of which would be extremely expensive. Visiting Earth might also involve the use of costly spacedocks and other ships, though these were all in very short supply on TOS. The financial impracticability of depicting Earth resulted in few visits to the planet, with one of the foundations of Gene Roddenberry's concept for Star Trek consequently being that the show almost never voyaged to Earth. Another motive for this was that Roddenberry believed portraying future Earth might also require showing how the planet's political and economic systems had developed. Politically liberal, Roddenberry was anxious that such revelations might bring about arguments with sponsors and others who might not share his views. ("The Menagerie, Part II" text commentary, TOS Season 1 DVD)

Amid the making of the first season (i.e., on 5 April 1966), writer Barry Trivers pitched a story concept (the genesis of the episode "The Conscience of the King") in which Earth was established as having been horrifically invaded by "an army of marauders," in James T. Kirk's childhood. Gene Roddenberry was completely opposed to portraying such a bleak future for Earth, so a similar incident was established as having instead occurred on Tarsus IV. (These Are the Voyages: TOS Season One)

On 12 April 1966, Robert Justman sent a memo to Gene Roddenberry which outlined a potential story for the series that centered on Earth as the main setting. The memo read, "The Enterprise is returning to Earth [....] The Enterprise does arrive back at Earth, but this is Earth of 1966 and not of their time [....] Kirk begins to see, by breaking through time, he is starting off a whole sequence of events which will affect the history and civilization of our planet in future years." The way Earth was featured in this story springboard pre-empted but didn't directly inspire the contemporary Earth setting of the episode "Tomorrow is Yesterday", which was written by D.C. Fontana and whose first story outline was submitted roughly half a year later (on 3 October 1966). (These Are the Voyages: TOS Season One)

When the first draft teleplay of "Tomorrow is Yesterday" was delivered on 1 November 1966 (though the script itself was dated 31 October 1966), Robert Justman issued some advice about the upper parts of Earth's atmosphere. Since Fontana and Gene Coon intended the outing to incorporate stock footage of airplanes, Justman suggested to the pair that a limit of up to about 60,000 or 70,000 feet would be possible for the planes and stated, "This is still within the atmosphere limits of the Earth, and there is still daylight up there – we are not in inky blackness at that altitude." Justman concluded that the sky would also have to serve as the background for several shots of the Enterprise, necessitating the creation of new effects footage. Because the script referred to the Enterprise as being detectable but not discernible from a ground installation using radar, Justman proposed "a large body of water, such as the Atlantic or Pacific" might be under the starship. (These Are the Voyages: TOS Season One)

Blue screen was used as a replacable background for the filming of scenes showing the cockpit of Captain John Christopher's jet. Some footage involving Earth's atmosphere, with the Enterprise flying through it, was shot by the Howard A. Anderson Company (though the Westheimer Effects Company was also used for the episode). One such shot, of the ship climbing through the atmosphere, was filmed by the Howard Anderson Company but never used. Also, footage of Earth was reused from the earlier season 1 outing "Miri", in which the globe had been used to represent Miri's homeworld. Despite the planet having been depicted without clouds in that installment, clouds were added for the shots of Earth in "Tomorrow is Yesterday". (These Are the Voyages: TOS Season One)

Even though Gene Roddenberry publicly blamed Harlan Ellison for apparently not being able to write "The City on the Edge of Forever" without making it go hugely over budget, Allan Brennert – a writer and former producer – subsequently assured Ellison that the episode's 1930s Earth scenes clearly necessitated over-expenditure. This was largely because, as Brennert informed Ellison, "The planet's surface [...] [and] all the Old Earth interiors had to be constructed." Brennert went on to say, "Roddenberry had to've known this from the very first [story] treatment, as did the people responsible for budgeting the segment, it didn't take them by surprise, and both they and NBC gave you the green light to go to teleplay first draft." (The City on the Edge of Forever, 1996 ed., "Perils of the 'City'")

For stories set on Earth in contemporary times, maintaining the audience's suspension of disbelief could be quite challenging. "It's always a dangerous idea to take the Star Trek characters into the present," stated Director Marc Daniels, who helmed the TOS installment "Assignment: Earth". "Suddenly you're in a very tangible situation. The show's reality becomes that much harder to maintain." (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages, p. 63) Such episodes were often extremely successful, though. In a 1968 letter which Gene Roddenberry wrote in an unsuccessful attempt to pitch a new television series based on "Assignment: Earth", he commented, "It is a matter of record that Star Trek's most exciting and successful audience shows were those three in which Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock returned to 20th-century Earth and played out their story there." (Star Trek Creator: The Authorized Biography of Gene Roddenberry, p. 334)

First film appearance Edit

Shortly before Star Trek: The Motion Picture was written, a story idea which Harlan Ellison verbally pitched to Paramount as a potential basis for the first Star Trek film was set primarily on Earth. "The story did not begin with any of the Enterprise crew, but started on Earth where strange phenomena were inexplicably occurring," recorded writer James Van Hise. Both a building in India, wherein a family had been having dinner, and one of the Great Lakes in the United States suddenly vanished. Though the truth was suppressed, the Federation realized these sudden changes on Earth were due to alterations in the planet's distant past, caused by an alien race of intelligent humanoid reptiles from a planet in a far away galaxy where the snakes had become the dominant lifeform. Earth had been likewise populated by the snake-aliens eons ago, in the Pleistocene period, but the snake-creatures had been destroyed by early Humans. After submitting the story, Harlan Ellison explained, "A snake-creature who had come to Earth in the Star Trek feature, had seen its ancestors wiped out, and [...] had gone back into the far past of Earth to set up distortions in the time-flow so the reptiles could beat the humans." The mission of saving Earth, journeying into the planet's far past, was made the responsibility of the Enterprise and its crew. (The City on the Edge of Forever, 1996 ed., "Perils of the 'City'")

Despite Gene Roddenberry's fears about the dangers of portraying future Earth's political and economic systems, later incarnations of Star Trek featured futuristic depictions of the planet more than TOS had. ("The Menagerie, Part II" text commentary, TOS Season 1 DVD) Though an illusory version of 23rd-century Earth appeared in "The Cage", the first real glimpse of the planet in that century was in Star Trek: The Motion Picture, which includes only a single scene set on Earth's surface. The concept that the first Star Trek film would feature Earth being jeopardized with destruction by a massive object (which eventually became V'ger) approaching the planet was conceived as early as the writing of the Gene Roddenberry script The God Thing. (The Longest Trek: Writing The Motion Picture, Star Trek: The Motion Picture (Blu-ray) special features) Depicting the planet in Star Trek's future time period was made doable only because the film makers were able to take advantage of the higher budget associated with a feature film project. (text commentary, Star Trek: The Motion Picture (The Director's Edition) DVD)

At first, Director Robert Wise was attracted to the prospect of directing The Motion Picture specifically because it entailed him doing a science fiction movie imbued with a greater scope than if it had been set entirely on Earth, as The Day the Earth Stood Still had been. (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 2, Issue 8, p. 14) On the other hand, Wise was insistent that part of The Motion Picture be set on Earth's surface, saying, "It is very important that we show the Earth in this film." (Star Trek Magazine issue 173, p. 63)

Various techniques were used to represent Earth in The Motion Picture. (audio commentary, Star Trek: The Motion Picture (Blu-ray) special features) The planet was depicted from orbit in the film via matte paintings illustrated by Matthew Yuricich. (The Making of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, pp. 211 & 212) These illustrations were incorporated into shots via use of a matte. Daren Dochterman – who served as a Visual Effects Supervisor for the director's edition DVD release of the movie – reckoned, "I don't think they built [a model of the planet]." However, Michael Okuda claimed that the different methods of depicting Earth in the movie included a dome onto which powder was sprinkled to create cloud shadows. (audio commentary, Star Trek: The Motion Picture (Blu-ray) special features)

Upon creating new views of the San Francisco Bay area for the director's edition of the film, the associated visual effects artists took inspiration from how Gene Roddenberry had imagined Earth. "Part of Star Trek's future is that it's not just more technologically advanced, it's more ecologically advanced," commented Adam Lebowitz, another Visual Effects Supervisor on the project. "Humans have taken great pains to clean up the planet, to remove the pollution from the atmosphere, and to beautify the landscape." (Star Trek Monthly issue 86, pp. 52-53) Some new CGI shots featuring the planet as seen from orbit, being encountered by V'ger, were also created for the director's edition, generated by Foundation Imaging. (audio commentary, Star Trek: The Motion Picture (The Director's Edition) DVD)

The movie's only scene set on Earth's surface was met with varying reactions. Michael Okuda described it as "such a simple scene, but it says so much about Gene Roddenberry's vision of the future." (audio commentary, Star Trek: The Motion Picture (Blu-ray) special features) Roddenberry himself was unhappy with an establishing shot that, in the film's theatrical cut, begins the scene and is the only establishing shot used to represent the planet's surface. "It didn't really present the look of 23rd-century Earth that Gene was hoping to show," explained Robert Wise. (audio commentary, Star Trek: The Motion Picture (The Director's Edition) DVD)

Later portrayals Edit

Other films and spin-off series showed future Earth even more than it had been depicted in both TOS and The Motion Picture. The growth in visitations to the planet was made possible thanks to advances in visual effects technology and increases in Star Trek's budgets. ("The Menagerie, Part II" text commentary, TOS Season 1 DVD)

In Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, Earth was portrayed using matte painting in some cases and a model in others. Painted by Frank Ordaz, the model had two halves. Clouds and part of the planet's surface were on one half, whereas the other side showed only clouds atop a dark under-layer. The clouds on the latter half were later to be double-exposed over the planet surface at a slightly different rotation speed. (Cinefex, No. 18, p. 47)

When Michael Piller and other members of Star Trek: The Next Generation's resident writing staff pitched the story for TNG: "The First Duty" to Rick Berman, the fact that Earth was the most used setting in the episode almost led Berman to disallow any subsequent progress on the installment. He furthermore declared that Star Trek was "not about going back to Earth," in Piller's words. Berman was eventually persuaded by Piller into approving the episode, on condition that only three sets were to be used to represent interiors on the planet. (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages, p. 242)

Earth and sun, TNG opening sequence

Earth surrounding the sun, as seen in the TNG opening sequence

Earth appears as the first planet in the opening sequence of the remastered Star Trek: The Next Generation. It is shown orbiting the sun and is followed by the moon, Jupiter and Saturn before the USS Enterprise-D starts its exploration of unknown space.

Earth was to have been featured in an ultimately undeveloped episode of Star Trek: Voyager. One idea which Brannon Braga concocted for the story was starting it with Voyager apparently above Earth, returning home to the planet, though the craft was actually a biomimetic duplicate of the actual starship Voyager. For the same story, Braga also suggested the planet be a point of convergence for about a thousand similar duplicates of the ship. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 31, No. 11, p. 49) One reason this story concept was abandoned was that the writing staff thought it would undermine the moment when the real Voyager returned to Earth, which the creative team, even then, intended to eventually have happen. (Star Trek: Action!, p. 6)

Prior to learning the events of Star Trek: Voyager series finale "Endgame", many of the main cast members from that series were hopeful, at the beginning of the show's seventh season, that the crew of USS Voyager would have time back on Earth to explore the implications of their return home. Tim Russ perceived both positives and negatives in featuring Earth so prominently towards the end of the series. He said, "It will be very dramatic and exciting to return to Earth, and it has been the focus of our journey. But by the same token, the show will no longer be the Voyager of the series, as we will no longer be on our own in the far side of the Galaxy, making new discoveries." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 33, No. 5, pp. 38 & 39)

The series that became Star Trek: Enterprise was originally imagined as having an Earth-bound setting. In fact, when series co-creator Rick Berman first approached fellow series co-creator Brannon Braga about the initial concept of the show, Berman referred to it as a prequel series set "in the mud," featuring the construction of Earth's first warp 5 ship. The pair wanted either all or most of the series' first season to be set on Earth, proceeded by the launch of the craft. This concept was vetoed by executives at Paramount Pictures, who favored a more conventional Star Trek setting. ("To Boldly Go: Launching Enterprise, Part I: Countdown", ENT Season 1 Blu-ray special features) Nevertheless, much of the series' pilot episode, "Broken Bow", was ultimately set on Earth. Braga remarked, "It's really a fun place to be, strangely enough, because it's kind of a fresh setting for us." The series turned out to be conceived in such a way that more stories than usual were to have ramifications on Earth and references to the planet. Even before it was decided whether the NX-class starship Enterprise would ever fly back to Earth, however, Braga announced that such visits to the planet would not be frequent. (Broken Bow (novel), p. 256)

Enterprise's opening titles sequence begins with two shots of Earth. These were initially intended to be two particular IMAX shots taken from a space shuttle. However, Paramount failed to secure the rights to use them, so they asked Eden FX to intricately reproduce the shots exactly in CGI, allowing the visual effects house only two days in which to do so. Eden's Robert Bonchune recollected, "That was kind of tough, to put together Planet Earth and have it look like those IMAX shots [....] Fortunately, we have CG models of the Earth, fully mapped with clouds and everything. We had to up-res some detail on them [....] It had to look exactly like the IMAX shots in terms of cloud patterns and where the glint of the ocean is. That was pretty specific, so it took some work. But I don't think anyone would know, watching those opening shots, that they were pure CG shots of the Earth." (Star Trek Monthly issue 106,  p. 46)

In Star Trek Nemesis, views of Earth from orbit were derived from 20K NASA images. Though these high-resolution pictures were completely accurate illustrations of the planet surface and visually appealed to Digital Domain Supervisor Mark Forker, the producers and director of the film were initially not entirely happy with them. Recollected Forker, "They requested some changes – England was too small, Italy was too close to Africa, and the boot [shape of Italy] was too big." Manipulating the images, Digital Domain made the appropriate changes and added digital clouds. "Of course, by the time we added clouds and atmosphere," said Forker, "the changes weren't that noticeable." (Cinefex, No. 111, p. 93)

Earth of the alternate reality Edit

For depicting Earth in the J.J. Abrams films Star Trek and Star Trek Into Darkness, it was felt important that futuristic cities be kept realistic as much as possible, incorporating practical elements. By way of an example, Visual Effects Supervisor Roger Guyett stated, "It's not a concept art version of [...] a city, it's a working version." [6] To represent Earth in Star Trek Into Darkness, location filming was used, most of which was done in Los Angeles. The locations were picked by Production Designer Scott Chambliss. (Cinefex, No. 134, p. 72)

The film's visual effects team created the look of multiple cities on Earth, including London and San Francisco. "Our philosophy about doing cities, and respecting the canon of how the [world] is described by Gene Roddenberry," explained Roger Guyett, "is that you're only a few 100 years into the future. You're not that far away [....] We go through this process of, 'What would have happened? What buildings would they have hung on to? How would it have changed the nature of some of the design choices they made?' We like to take things that are real and try to make the architecture scalable. In other words, a scale that is not just totally ridiculous and massive. At the same time, you want a few landmarks in those shots to get the sense of what city you are in [....] But, at the same time, we want to elaborate on that and use our imagination on how that might have changed." (Star Trek Magazine issue 172, pp. 48-49)

The futuristic cities took a design cue from the previous film. J.J. Abrams recalled, "We wanted terrestrial cities to be consistent with what we had established, but at a much higher resolution. We got to live, breathe and chase within the city streets this time, but we also wanted to maintain a level of potential truth and realism [....] We didn't want to get so fanciful that it felt unrelatable." Abrams selected recognizable urban landmarks for both San Francisco and London, before Industrial Light & Magic created a model showing each of the two cities, both of which were added to with high-resolution CGI buildings. Abrams also described the challenge of imagining how cities might be changed in the future, based on their present conditions, as "fun." (Cinefex, No. 134, pp. 72 & 74)

Trivia Edit

The star chart seen in TNG: "The Naked Now", "The Last Outpost", and "Conspiracy", naming stars within twenty light-years of Sol, was drawn by Rick Sternbach for the Star Trek Spaceflight Chronology in the late 1970s. Found on page 77, this chart showed Earth commercial and exploration routes after the use of warp drive began. The Explored Galaxy star chart was first seen, chronologically, in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, set in 2293. It was also seen in several Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episodes set in the 24th century, from the year 2364 to 2370.

According to Star Trek: Star Charts (pp. 32, 36-37, 56-57, "United Federation of Planets I"), from 2113, Earth had been governed by the uniglobal United Earth government. The government of Earth was divided into six major regional powers that were governed from their respective capitals. These capitals were San Francisco (North America), Paris (Europe), Kyoto (Asia), Lima (South America), Cape Town (Africa), and Christchurch (Oceania). In 2161, Earth was a founding member of the United Federation of Planets. The dominant species were Humans and Cetaceans. Earth was a hub world on the mid-22nd century Earth trade routes. It traded with Alpha Centauri, Altair, Andoria, Denobula Triaxa, Draylax, Ophicus Colony, Tellar Prime, Trill, Vega Colony, and Vulcan. In 2378, Earth was a hub world on the major space lanes. In the census of 2370, there were counted 4.2 billion Humans and 8.1 million Cetaceans living on Earth. Points of interest included the UFP Council Chambers, Starfleet Headquarters, Starfleet Academy, Cochrane Memorial, Yosemite Valley, and Angel Falls.

Borg-Earth info Edit

At a very early stage of Star Trek: First Contact's development, the film's writers – including Brannon Braga and Ronald D. Moore (as well as possibly Rick Berman) – discussed the possibility of beginning the film in a Borg-assimilated city on Earth. (audio commentary, Star Trek: First Contact (Special Edition) DVD/Blu-ray)

In its assimilated state as shown in the movie, Earth was represented with CGI done by Alex Jaeger. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Sketchbook: The Movies, p. 335) He depicted the heavily polluted version of the planet by creating a series of digital matte paintings. (Cinefex, No. 69, pp. 113 & 117) As Jaeger had only ever worked in the model shop at Industrial Light & Magic before serving as the company's visual effects art director on First Contact, he found the challenge of creating the altered Earth slightly daunting. "They kind of tossed me into this and said, 'Oh, yeah, we're going to need a Borg Earth,' and I go, 'Oh, OK,' so I did a few early Photoshop pieces that just showed a section of the Earth. Then they said, 'Yeah, that's good, but can you just make a texture for the whole planet that we'll just use in the movie,' and I'm like, 'Uhhh, OK – I've never done that before, but sure!' So, basically what I did was, I took a texture map of the Earth – it was this gigantic Photoshop file – and started changing it around." (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 1, Issue 23, p. 88)

Included in the assimilated Earth are details hardly visible in the actual film, such as industrial pipes spanning the oceans. (Cinefex, No. 69, p. 113) "I saturated all the ground so it was gray and I added all these sort of factory-looking sections so it looked like the ground was completely covered by cities," remembered Alex Jaeger. "Then, I painted little bridgeways across the oceans and turned the oceans brown. [First Contact Director] Jonathan Frakes kept saying, 'No, the oceans have got to be brown, like they're full of crap! Just, you know, nasty; you don't want to be there.'" (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 1, Issue 23, p. 88) Jaeger also noted that, in addition to turning the oceans brown and making the land masses "desaturated and gray, as though they have become overrun with Borg power plants and machinery," he also turned the clouds and atmosphere yellowish-green. (Cinefex, No. 69, p. 113)

Alex Jaeger was ultimately pleased with how he created the assimilated Earth, essentially destroying the planet visibly by doing so. He remarked, "It turned out fairly well [....] And to have something that I actually painted end up on screen, was kind of cool." (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 1, Issue 23, p. 88) Brannon Braga agreed that the optical of the assimilated Earth was "very cool." (audio commentary, Star Trek: First Contact (Special Edition) DVD/Blu-ray)

Apocrypha Edit

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