Journey to Where
||En route vers l'infini
||Journeying To Infinity
||Viaje a donde
||Journey to where|
||Time travel bound for the longing Earth
||Viagem para Onde?
||Journey to Where
|South Africa||Die Melkewegeklips
||The Milky Way Eclipse|
The promise of a return to Earth -but the space-wandering Alphans find themselves lost in the midst of time. ITC summary
- Final shooting script 18th February 1976
Pink line amendments and pages 2nd, 4th March
Blue pages 11th, pages and line amendments 17th, pages 18th March
Yellow pages 22nd, 25th, 30th March 1976
- Filmed 1 April- 14 April 1976
- The domes were built by Ron Burton and Martin Bower (only one is obviously by Bower and it is glimpsed very briefly). The main domes were built with many kit parts (especially tanks, also Saturn V rockets) and were only completed on one side (the side the camera didn't see wasn't finished). The disco lights are particularly obvious. There are at least five major domes and three smaller ones.
- For the transference dome exteriors (outside the Moonbase Alpha crater), a new moonbase building was created by Martin Bower linked to a dome section of the Daria from Mission Of The Darians. It reappears in several other episodes.
Physics and astronomy
The image of the Moon (actually an Apollo 11 photograph) as seen from Scotland in 1339 is incorrect as it shows part of the far side which is never visible from Earth.
- Neutrinos are uncharged elementary particles with (almost) no mass, first discovered in 1956. In the 1960s large scale experiments (using deep underground lakes of chlorine to detect them) were monitoring levels. They are thus incorrect to state "When we left Earth the first neutrino experiments had just begun". They travel at the speed of light (hundreds of thousands of miles per second), not at "billions of miles in seconds". They are thus not instantaneous. If the Moon and Earth are separated by more than the distance of a galaxy (which will move between them), they are millions of light years apart. Neutrinos would thus take millions of years to pass between them.
- The time travel suggests the writer probably intended tachyons, not neutrinos. Tachyons are hypothetical particles which travel faster than light, and backwards in time. Hence when they are transported they travel 661 years back in time. Logically when they are returned they should travel another 661 years back.
- It is also possible that Koenig, Helena and Alan are in fact moving back to Earth through a "wormhole", i.e. a shortcut through space and time (wormhole like phenomena are also alluded to in Space Warp and The Taybor). In this case, the wormhole "mouth" connected to Alpha would have been rapidly accelerated through space whereas the one leading to Texas City remained almost stationary. Einstein's theory of relativistic time dilation would result in the accelerated wormhole mouth ageing less than the stationary one as seen by an external observer (the Alphans have been in space only approx 18 months whereas 121 years have passed on Earth). Thanks to the wormhole, direct communication and travel between widely separated locations in space and time becomes possible. Wormhole "time machines" have been described in "Black Holes and Time Warps" by Kip Thorne, who notes that one significant limitation is that it is only possible to go as far back in time as the initial creation of the machine, i.e. this particular wormhole must have existed since at least 1339. (Thanks to Marcus Lindroos)
- Alan calls Copernicus a mountain. It is actually a crater, but it is below the Mare Imbrium.
- Just how does Logan locate the Alphans in a distant galaxy?
- A "galactic eclipse" takes 72 hours. It should take considerably longer to move an entire galaxy (or even one star). Also, galaxies are not solid (and neutrinos will pass through several light years thickness of lead without effect). Another line calls it "an entire constellation". A constellation is an apparent configuration of stars in the sky, not a neighbourhood grouping, and nothing to do with a galaxy.
Environment and Culture
- There is stock footage of a 20th century drought which represents 21st century pollution. Pollution awareness became a major political issue with the book Silent Spring by Rachel Carson in 1962; more than any other book it inspired the ecological movement and led directly to environmental legislation and science research. Consequently since the 1970s most forms of pollution are declining despite economic growth. In most countries there are ever stricter laws to reduce the levels of 21st century pollution. However, in parts of the developed world there is deep scepticism of some environmental science and in some cases controls on pollution are being rolled back.
- The end of Breakaway mentions major earthquakes caused by the Moon leaving Earth. These could in turn lead to serious environmental problems, as happened in the 2011 Japan tsunami which caused a level 7 meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. The massive scale and world-wide impact of the breakaway would devastate many parts of the world. Arguably nature would recover over a 100 years, while the effects of pollution and climate change are long lasting.
- The earthquake is called a "force beta zero". This is an unknown earthquake scale; normal scales are Richter or Mercalli (it appears to be Richter 5 or Mercalli VII). They mention "adverse weather conditions"; earthquakes are not weather, but for historical reasons meteorological departments are usually responsible for earthquake monitoring.
- The metrocomplexes are all in North America. Has the rest of the world been left to die?
- Texas City is on an earthquake zone with large mountains around it. Houston, the largest city in Texas and the 4th largest in the US, is home to NASA's mission control center. It is, however, on a flat coastal plain, vulnerable to flooding, and very unlike the geography seen around the 2120 Texas City. It does have over 300 active faults, including the Long Point-Eureka Heights fault system through the centre of Houston. There have been no recorded earthquakes in the area, but major earthquakes cannot be discounted. Austin in central Texas has a more similar geography, the western side in rolling hills on the edge of the Texas Hill Country. Austin is situated on the Balcones Fault Zone, which generated a Richter 3 earthquake in 2013.
- Logan refers to "this area of Central America", which suggests Texas City is not in the current United States area, but in countries such as Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica or Panama. If so, the major environmental changes also created huge political changes.
- Earthquakes do not explode. There are no smoke, sparks or fire, except where man-made power or oil pipes are broken.
- Logan eats a pill from a large box always on his desk. Are these drugs?
- A wrist monitor can record pulse, but it is a poor location for other sensors which are better monitored from the main torso. Fitness trackers have become popular since the 2010s, and smart watches such as the Apple Watch include health tracking. Despite rapid technical progress, the wrist gives poor accuracy; earbuds give more accurate core body temperature, chest straps are better for heartrate.
- How do they read a screen that just flashes green, red and blue? Note temperature is 98.6, obviously the Fahrenheit scale (most scientific measurement would be Centigrade). How do Alpha's normal medical monitors transmit across 660 years and millions of light years to Alpha?
- Alpha is unlikely to be a germ-free environment. The human body contains about ten times as many bacteria as human cells, and some are essential for life (the bacteria in the digestive tract are able to break down certain nutrients such as carbohydrates that humans otherwise could not digest).
Damp air? A cold. The common cold is a viral infection of the upper respiratory tract, associated with one or more viruses. They are transmitted by contact or aerosols, from other infected people. They cannot be transmitted by exposure to cold or damp air. An unknown cold virus may be a serious threat, but can only be caught after the Alphans had encountered people. As they are alone at this point, Helena should be able to immediately discount the possibility of a cold infection.
- Viral pneumonia is caused by a variety of viruses, including the common influenza viruses. Like the common cold, they are spread through aerosols (coughs and sneezes), physical contact or contact with contaminated surfaces. Helena is exposed to none of these before she shows symptoms.
- It is true there is no cure for viral pneumonia. The barmycin range of drugs is fictional (although obviously inspired by penicillin). It seems unlikely that grinding up an unidentified fungus from a Scottish wall will kill the virus. More on viral pneumonia
- Alan Shepard's wife is Louise. But despite the claim in this episode, Yuri Gagarin was married when he flew on 12th April 1961 (he married Valentina in November 1957, and they had two children, Yelena born in 1958 and Galya born in 1961).
- New Year's Day was March 25th until 1600 in Scotland and 1752 in England (when the Gregorian calendar was introduced). The events take place between 24th March 1338 and 25th March 1339. Fortunately, the episode does not refer to January 1st, only "new years day".
- During the 14th century there were 5 different dialects of Middle English and they were mutually unintelligible. Modern English is derived from the London dialect of Middle English as spoken by Chaucer, born 1340. However, the nobility of the time (which Helena is assumed to be) spoke, and were, Norman French, so the French dubbed version of this episode is probably more authentic. English was beginning to become more important during this time, but was not made the official language of English government until the 1362 Statute of Pleadings, replacing French and Latin.
- The Scots worry that Helena has the "pestilence" (given the correct contemporary name here), although plague didn't enter the British Isles until June 1348, finally reaching Scotland in 1350. The plague killed a third of the British population in 3 years and led to dramatic social changes, ending the feudal system. Spread by rat fleas there were two forms: the bubonic form produced swollen lymph nodes (buboes), the pneumonic form (which Helena is presumed to have) caused coughing blood from the lungs. Fungal antibiotics such as penicillin kill bacterial forms of pneumonia, not viral forms.
- At Bannockburn on June 23-24, 1314, Robert the Bruce dealt a severe defeat on the English army led by Edward II travelling to relieve Stirling Castle. The defeat led directly to the Treaty Of Northampton, guaranteeing Scottish independence. Edward II was deposed and murdered in 1326 by his wife Isabella, who invaded from France with her lover Mortimer. Their son, Edward III, overthrew his mother in 1330 and in 1337 started the Hundred Years War with France. Robert Bruce died in 1329 and his son David II was defeated by the English in 1333 and sent to exile in France. Edward Balloi became king of Scotland.
- The MacDonalds were Lords of the Isles and West Scotland from 1164-1497.
- The swords are two handed Highland claymores, with a characteristic cross-hilt with forward-angled arms. These broadswords were known from circa 1400 - this episode is about 60 years before the earliest known use - and developed from early Scottish medieval longswords.
- The prediction that "Old Morse Code" is nearly forgotten by 1999 is almost accurate. It is rarely used or practised now that radio and mobile phones are so ubiquitous (the coast guard no longer teaches it). However, most people know what it is even if they cannot interpret it.
None given. Earth date is 2120.
population 297. 0 fatalities.
- The Alphans build the capacity to transmit people and communicate across time and huge distances. It is never used in again.
Mr Hyde. This is the only time she changes into the form of a fictional character.
Earth in 2120 AD and 1338/1339 AD
- A long list of science/historical errors, see above!
- Koenig and Alan's wrist monitors are removed, so only Helena (and perhaps a couple of Scots) should be returned to Alpha.
- Although the three Alphans leave Alpha standing next to each other, they are scattered some paces apart when they wake on Earth.
- The episode claims in the 1998 World Series of American baseball the Boston Red Sox won 4-3 against St. Louis Cardinals. In real life, the New York Yankees beat the San Diego Padres 3-0. The Boston Red Sox faced the St. Louis Cardinals in 2004 and 2013, both times winning.
- Costumes (which are not authentically Scottish) are from Roman Polanski's 1971 film of Macbeth.
- Why were competitive sports banned in 2026? Did the world turn to some anti-competitive value system, rejecting capitalism?
- Freddie Jones and Isla Blair have dreadfully fake American accents.
- In 1978 the US TV series Wonder Woman included unused footage of Texas City in the episode Time Bomb
- The novel Der Stahlplanet (The Steel Planet) by M.F.Thomas ends with a sequel to this episode. After the Moon's course is changed, neutrino transmissions with Texas City are resumed and the Alphans prepare to return to Earth.