Comments by Marcus Lindroos
Seen in: Breakaway
The Meta probe appears in a few scenes in Breakaway It is a sleek craft powered by three rocket engines (these look very much like nuclear thermal engines). The centre section comprises four cylindrical propellant tanks plus two solar panel like structures. Since planet Meta supposedly is located very far from the Sun, the panels are probably radiators. Clearly, the ship needs to be capable of high speed space travel -- hundreds of kilometres per second -- in order to reach planet Meta at the edge of our solar system in a matter of months.
The habitable section consists of a standard 2-person Eagle command module attached to a cylindrical ~4.5-metre module that probably contains habitation facilities and logistics. The overall length appears to be about 50 metres. It is not a very large craft and consequently the crew probably consists of just two astronauts -- Frank Warren and Eric Sparkman. The primary crew dies shortly before the launch "window" opportunity closes in September 1999 and Koenig briefly considers launching the backup crew before cancelling the mission.
The dialogue establishes that the goal is to put a man on Meta, however, the probe ship has no obvious landing gear or descent engines. Possibly, the Eagle command module (utilising antigravity screens, perhaps) can separate from the mothership and land on the planet?
The ship is seen docking to the Space Dock at the start of the episode, and being flung away from it during the breakaway at the end- the Space Dock then explodes, but we do not know if the Meta Probe itself surivives.
Copyright Martin Willey