Explaining errors in Star Trek Wiki
For the ENT episode with a similar title, please see Terra Prime.


Enterprise arrives at the site of the first extrasolar human colony with which contact was lost 70 years ago. The seemingly indigenous "Novans" are found living in caves, but they are actually humans who have forgotten about their origin over two generations after an asteroid had hit the planet and released lethal radiation. They take Reed as hostage and refuse to believe that they are actually the descendants of the colonists. Phlox treats one of them, an old woman called Nadet, against lung cancer, and she can be convinced that she is actually Bernadette, the daughter of a settler family. The Novans agree to release Reed and allow themselves to be relocated to a region of the planet that is not affected by the radiation.

Errors and Explanations

Daystrom Institute Technical Library

Yet Another Trek Inconsistency

  1. Archer claims that Earth had already established the Utopia Planitia colony before establishing Terra Nova, more than 70 years before. Yet in Voyager's "The 37s", Harry Kim said that Mars was not colonised until 2103. Perhaps Utopia Planitia was started before Terra Nova, but not fully established until 2103.

Ex Astris Scientia


  1. Bernd Schneider: It was a shock to hear that Enterprise has no more than two shuttles. As a starship without a transporter as a regular means of transportation, Enterprise would have to rely heavily on the shuttle pods, each of which can transport only six persons. And what about the cargo? I doubt that they would beam large amounts of food supplies. So what happens if one shuttle is defunct and the other one is on the way? They probably have enough components to build one, or possibly two, extra shuttles on board.
  2. I anticipated that the phase pistol would have more than just the stun and kill setting, as opposed to what Archer said in Broken Bow. Here it is used for cutting with a continuous beam. This alone is no error (after all, something like that would be even possible with a present-day laser), but I wonder in how far the phase pistol differs from a latter era phaser. Visually, there is no difference at all. Maybe the later weapons are more sturdy, more reliable, more power efficient and have a greater variety of settings.
  3. One strange thing is how the children of the Novans could inherit the obvious radiation poisoning from their parents (like Nadet). I would expect them to become like that after hundreds of years, but certainly not after two generations. The children were already there when the radiation poisoning began.

Nit Central

  1. The Undesirable Element on Wednesday, October 24, 2001 - 7:07 pm: Why didn't they send a Vulcan ship? Why didn't the Vulcans go themselves? LUIGI NOVI on Sunday, October 28, 2001 - 11:49 pm: Trip indicated that humans didn’t like asking Vulcans for things because it always came at a high price, and from what T’Pol indicated in Fight or Flight, Vulcans don’t exactly take the initiative when it comes to travelling to other planets. Seniram 16:38, September 7, 2018 (UTC) Anyway, why send Vulcans to investigate a lost EARTH colony?
  2. SMT on Wednesday, October 24, 2001 - 7:12 pm: Knowing that the surface of Terra Nova was mildly radioactive, I would have had Dr. Phlox whip up an anti-radiation prophylaxis for the landing parties going there(including the one he was on), just to be safe. (I half-expected an overlong stay on the surface to provide some of the tension for the episode.) LUIGI NOVI on Monday, October 29, 2001 - 12:40 am: They tried to, but Phlox wouldn’t stop snickering after T’Pol said "prophylaxis" to him.
  3. William Berry on Wednesday, October 24, 2001 - 7:15 pm: Mayweather tossed something. I thought it was another pistol. Then he (Mayweather) holstered a third. LUIGI NOVI on Sunday, October 28, 2001 - 11:49 pm: It was a flashlight. I freeze-framed it, and it was definitely not a phase pistol. It was roughly cylindrical, and Archer is then using a flashlight in the caves when he hears Akary’s cries for help, so I assume it was the flashlight.
  4. ltdodd on Wednesday, October 24, 2001 - 9:05 pm: Phlox uses a cytloytic medication to cure her (Nadette’s) cancer. Apparently it can target only cancerous cells specifically and leave healthy cells alone. In Fury the Doctor said Dr Pyong Ko cured cancer. LUIGI NOVI on Sunday, October 28, 2001 - 11:49 pm: Was it a cure or a treatment? What he said was that Pyong Ko discovered the genetic sequence for inhibiting cancer cells, which ushered in a new era in medicine, which I found to be kinda vague. Several years ago, Dr Henry Po, an AIDS researcher, came up with a new kind of drug combination cocktail, which attacked virus at a different stage of cell invasion. It could reduce the viral load in a person to undetectable levels, and it too, was heralded as a major breakthrough, but it wasn't a cure, it was a treatment. It was very expensive, had several side effects, worked best when taken by people soon after they discovered they were HIV-positive, and upon ceasing the treatment, the patient’s viral load would go back up again.
  5. The ship traveled to it to survey and see if it was suitable for colonization. Then it returned to Earth to ferry the colonists to Terra Nova then they dismantled the SS Constanoga. LUIGI NOVI on Sunday, October 28, 2001 - 11:49 pm: This was never established. It’s possible they did this with probes or long-range telescopes.
  6. Why didn't Archer invite Phlox to dine at the end. They were eating Chinese food. In BB he said he rather enjoyed it. LUIGI NOVI on Sunday, October 28, 2001 - 11:49 pm: Archer chooses who to invite to dinner. Besides, I don’t know if he has his own chef. The rest of the crew probably eats what he does.
  7. muas on Wednesday, October 24, 2001 - 9:49 pm: In the beginning, Archer first tries contacting the surface, and then when he gets no reply asks T'Pol if there are any lifesigns. Wouldn't it be best to first check if there are any lifesigns, and THEN try to contact the surface if there are? LUIGI NOVI on Sunday, October 28, 2001 - 11:49 pm: Good point. They wanted the crew to find the cave entrance to the tunnels by chasing after one of the Novans, and only after they showed us the settlement. If they did it the right way, they would’ve found the biosigns in the tunnels, and gone straight there. Steve Oostrom on Wednesday, October 24, 2001 - 10:40 pm: Of course, this begs the question on why they didn't detect the lifesigns in the first place. Later, not only did their sensors pick up all the Novan lifesigns, but was able to identify Reed distinctly. Did they do this by scanning for any device he might have on him? It wasn't stated.
  8. The implication I've been getting is that after Cochrane's first flight, mankind's starships were pretty slow for the next eighty or so years. Terra Nova was twenty light years away (nine-year journey, so it must have been at warp). All of a sudden, the Enterprise appears and is much faster and can go to all of these places. LUIGI NOVI on Sunday, October 28, 2001 - 11:49 pm: Broken Bow made it clear that ships capable of Warp 5 were a dramatic improvement for humans.
  9. Archer (or was it Reed or whatever, I'm still lost on who's who) didn't know historic flights in Vulcan history; that's understandable since he wasn't there. However, Vulcans were there from the very first warp flight by mankind, so T'Pol should have been more familiar with the significant flights of human starships. The Vulcans have been overseeing Earth for a prolonged period, and T'Pol likely should be well-informed. LUIGI NOVI on Sunday, October 28, 2001 - 11:49 pm: Not necessarily. What her job on Earth was has never been specifically established. She was with ambassadors Tos and Soval in Broken Bow, so her function may have been diplomatic, perhaps an assistant to them, not an expert in history. As for Trip not being able to name one historic Vulcan expedition, well, um, what about the one where they first met humans in ST First Contact?
  10. Machiko Jenkins (Mjenkins) on Wednesday, October 24, 2001 - 11:05 pm: Can anyone explain to me why Archer and his bald Novan friend didn't try the vines that were going down into the well? Or why Archer didn't at least inquire about them? LUIGI NOVI on Sunday, October 28, 2001 - 11:49 pm: I figured Archer didn’t want to try them because he didn’t know how strongly rooted they were. I mean, the quake uprooted a large tree trunk, for crying out loud. Moreover, Jamin is more familiar with the caves than Archer is, and if Jamin didn't choose to use it, Archer should trust his judgement.
  11. LUIGI NOVI on Wednesday, October 24, 2001 - 11:31 pm: In the teaser, Travis and Hoshi are looking at a photo of the Terra Nova colonists breaking ground at the Town Hall, and Hoshi points to one and asks if he is Captain Mitchell, and Travis points to another and says he thinks that one is. Archer then arrives on the bridge, and Travis says there’s, "Tons of data" on the Terra Nova colony in the archives: Crew manifests, survey photos, weekly status reports, etc. Apparently, none of it includes photo captions. Travis then flashes more info across his screen, including photos of the colonists, the colonist’s ship, etc. I guess a photo of the captain isn’t somewhere in all that stuff either. Travis then tells Archer he’s been fascinated with Terra Nova since he was a kid. Coulda fooled me, Travis. The captions could have been lost due partial corruption of the records.
  12. Trike on Thursday, October 25, 2001 - 12:15 am: Phase pistols have two settings -- stun and kill. (It would be best not to confuse them, I hear). So which setting cuts through trees? LUIGI NOVI on Monday, July 01, 2002 - 3:55 pm:It's possible that there are settings on phasers for the purpose of dealing with nonliving matter (which is why everyone's clothes don't get torn up when they get hit) at this point. Of course, this is before they worked up the safeguards that keep phasers from vaporizing something important to the ship, but the earlier ones probably had special settings to cut through metal, rock, etc.
  13. TJFleming on Thursday, October 25, 2001 - 6:34 am: Mayweather mentions the famous disappearance cases of Judge Crater and Amelia Earhart. What! No Chandra Levy? bela okmyx on Thursday, October 25, 2001 - 7:37 am: Mayweather mentions Judge Crater and Amelia Earhart, because the creators figured those names would sound familiar to the viewers, but a better example would be the Roanoke colony in Virginia, which was established in 1587. The governor, John White, returned to England for supplies, but by the time he returned in 1591, everyone had disappeared. Probably this incident was a little too obscure, but having Archer (or whoever) be a history buff and explain this incident at the dinner at the end might have been a nice touch.
  14. Josh G. on Thursday, October 25, 2001 - 7:38 am: Okay, so the colonists arrive at Terra Nova, at most there could be a few hundred of them, but let's be generous and say there were THOUSANDS. Now, when Earth wants to send a mere 200 more colonists, those already there object. Just one question? WHY???? This is apparently an UNinhabited planet. The additional colonists could be settled 500 km from the original colony or on another continent. Moreover, precisely why were the colonists so against increasing the population. It doesn't click. Any thoughts? LUIGI NOVI on Monday, October 29, 2001 - 12:40 am: Maybe the governor of the colony was Pat Buchanan? Rene on Sunday, October 28, 2001 - 12:07 pm: The only real thing that bugs me about the episode is that it's a big planet. Why would the colonists object to another colony set in another continent or something? Influx on Sunday, October 28, 2001 - 8:49 pm: Think of it this way -- you've created a wonderful home on a lovely tropical island. Somebody lands on the other side of the island and sets up there. You never see them, but just knowing they're there would bug you.
  15. Spockania on Thursday, October 25, 2001 - 2:20 pm: Phase pistols only have two settings. Why when Archer changes the setting do we hear several clicks? LUIGI NOVI on Sunday, October 28, 2001 - 11:49 pm: We don’t know that he did any such thing. It’s possible he simply pressed the POWER button, and the sound simply sounded like one contiguous sound composed of more than one tone, like a "ding-dong" door bell.
  16. bela okmyx on Friday, October 26, 2001 - 7:04 am: OK, so how did they get the shuttlepod out of the caverns? LUIGI NOVI on Sunday, October 28, 2001 - 11:49 pm: Archer said that they’d have to set up a "rig" to get it out of there.Aaron Dotter on Friday, October 26, 2001 - 7:14 pm: I think Archer called the ship asking them to 'set up a rig' to get the shuttle out, whatever that means.(maybe a crane or something) Do they only have the two pods?
  17. LUIGI NOVI on Sunday, October 28, 2001 - 11:31 pm: Archer tells T’Pol in Act 1 that the Conestoga was designed to be disassembled and used to build the colony, and that they couldn’t get off the planet to escape the radiation. What about emergency escape pods and rescue vehicles, ships to survey the rest of the planet, etc.? Dustin Westfall on Monday, October 29, 2001 - 12:58 pm: I doubt any of those would have enough power to achieve escape velocity. Escape pods would likely have little to no engines, and anything designed to survey the planet wouldn't likely be powerful enough to reach orbit. Assuming the colonists realized the radiation was localized, then they could have used those to escape. Since they apparently believed it was a planetwide problem, though, I doubt they would have bothered. LUIGI NOVI on Tuesday, October 30, 2001 - 1:19 am: Huh? How could escape pods have little or no engines? Perhaps by my use of the word "pod", you’re thinking the lifeboats seen in ST First Contact, Emissary (DS9), Year of Hell Part 1 (VOY), etc. Fine. How about "escape vessel"? Bottom line is, (My bottom line, at least), they should have some means to leave the planet in case of an emergency.
  18. LUIGI NOVI on Monday, July 01, 2002 - 12:39 am: Flashlights have always been referred to in Trek as "beacons," the most recent example being when Archer used the term with Trip in Act 1 of Fight or Flight, but when preparing to enter the Novan caves in Act 1 of this episode, he actually orders the landing party to use "flashlights." RVest on Monday, July 01, 2002 - 6:55 am: True but perhaps they called them beacons in the 24th century because that is what they were but in 22nd century they are still calling them flashlights
  19. LUIGI NOVI on Monday, July 01, 2002 - 3:55 pm: I mentioned before how Hoshi and Trip are able to discriminate Reed’s biosigns from all the 51 Novans 90 meters below the surface in the Situation Room in the beginning of Act 2, even though the Enterprise-D crew couldn't pick out Picard or Beverly on the surface of Kespritt III in Attached (TNG), but what I didn't notice was this: Archer specifically asked T’Pol in the beginning of Act 1 if she could pick up any biosigns on the planet, and she said she could not. So why can they do so in the beginning of Act 2, but not in the beginning of Act 1? Josh M on Monday, July 01, 2002 - 5:26 pm: Maybe they can pick up the biosigns later because they know where to look. If they're scanning the entire planet, the sensors need to use a wider range. Maybe when they narrowed it down to the Novans' area they could easily pick them up. LUIGI NOVI on Monday, July 01, 2002 - 7:44 pm: But weren't they scanning that area in the beginning of Act 1? Why would they have been scanning the entire planet when they knew where the colony was? The cave entrance was a short distance away from the settlement, and may have even been right underneath it. Anonymous on Saturday, July 20, 2002 - 4:59 pm: Perhaps they were able to adjust to the radiation by Act 2 for higher-detail scanning.
  20. Geoff Capp on Sunday, December 29, 2002 - 12:05 pm: If Terra Nova is the nearest habitable planet to Earth, then where is it? Evidently not Alpha Centauri. LUIGI NOVI on Sunday, December 29, 2002 - 6:25 pm: I don’t recall anyone in the episode saying it was the nearest habitable planet. What about Rigel X, Kronos, the planets visited prior to and at the end of Fight or Flight, and then one in Strange New World? Are all five of those farther? Did the ship double-back over all that territory from the first three episodes? LUIGI NOVI on Sunday, November 07, 2004 - 12:03 am: About the question of how Terra Nova could be the first human colony outside of our solar system, rather than Alpha Centauri, which Metamorphosis (TOS) indicated was where Zephram Cochrane moved before the date that Terra Nova was settled, the creators' response to this, according to wikipedia, is that it was never established that the Alpha Centauri colony was an Earth colony. But does it really make sense that when wanting to retire, Cochrane would move to a Vulcan colony? Thande on Sunday, November 07, 2004 - 3:14 am: What if Alpha Centauri were a joint human-Vulcan colony founded a relatively short time after the Phoenix, with the Vulcans transporting the humans on their own ships, and Terra Nova was (like Enterprise with exploration) the first attempt by humans to do colonisation on their own? LUIGI NOVI on Sunday, November 07, 2004 - 9:38 am: Could be.
  21. So, what's the deal with Alpha Centauri? In Metamorphosis, Kirk identifies Zefram Cochrane "of Alpha Centauri?" Zefram answers yes. I have to mention that I have trouble reconciling the nice Zefram Cochrane in "Metamorphosis" and the crude fellow in Star Trek: First Contact who would be happy living on Ferenginar... if he knew of the place. I can only assume that one of the many trips Kirk et al took through time altered Zefram Cochrane's background a bit and made him somewhat more vulgar... but he still invented the warp drive. These same things could also explain why Zefram Cochrane still seems to be Earth-bound... but he still could have retired to Alpha Centauri not long after he invented warp drive, so that he could be "of" Alpha Centauri. That being the case, however, shouldn't there then be a planet at Alpha Centauri that is habitable by humans, either as Class M or Class L, or at least Class K (concept from I, Mudd), requiring pressure domes. Or... did the Romulans do something to Alpha Centauri in Past Tense (DS9) that survived the restoration of the time line?! BobL on Thursday, January 18, 2007 - 6:06 pm: I can't help but wonder when I look at a dollar bill what George Washington really looked like. Then there's the situation with the cherry tree. Or was it an apple falling on his head? Wait, wrong guy, but the same principle. There is plenty of historical precedent for polishing history on the basis of technological abilities of the times, as well as image-polishing. "Records of that era are fragmentary, however" was how Spock described the whole matter of post-World War III in one episode or another. Now just suppose that in the post-war world, all electronic data was lost, leaving paper records only. Now history needs to be rebuilt. In the case of Zefram Cochran, it's possible that he was recorded in history by the work of an artist's brush, or even from second hand description. As the historians hunt and peck for scraps, they happen upon old school records. Data is partially retrievable, and a photograph is found under Cochran's file. "Hey Charlie! Look what I found!" exclaims one historial to another. One little piece of the historical puzzle is solved. On the other hand, I'm sure Zephram Cochran's algebra teacher wouldn't have minded having schools, planets, statues, keychains, action figures and hamburgers all made and named in his honor, either. Grilled to perfection and served on a kaiser role to school children's hungry minds everywhere, eventually one is served to and consumed by eight-year old James Kirk. With no attempt at deception on anyone's part, Jimmy Kirk is now ill-informed enough to recognize Zefram Cochran when he meets him. Ditto for young Leonard "Now that you mention it, he does seem familiar" McCoy. Companion made Cochrane young again, but she couldn't see what he looked like, as far as I could tell (even though it's been eons since I've seen it). She was guided in this by the image in his mind. We all supposedly envision ourselves more idealistically than we actually are, and in Cochrane's case, he got a carried away. (Good thing, too: That Nancy-Hedford-gaze-through-the-fabric look at Cochrane would've been interesting, to say the least, had it featured James Cromwell!) There are, no doubt, about a billion holes in this theory, one being that Captain Archer recognized Cromwell/Cochrane, but in the future, Kirk recognized Corbett/Cochrane. LUIGI NOVI on Sunday, December 29, 2002 - 6:25 pm: As far as Cochrane, the creators speculate in The Encyclopedia that Cochrane had suffered some exposure to radiation and/or other biological agents from the fallout of WWIII that altered his appearance (and aged it quite a bit too, I might add, since Cochrane is only 33 years old in that movie!), that he moved to Alpha Centauri sometime after ST FC, and that after he disappeared and encountered the Companion, the Companion restored Cochrane’s features to a more idealized appearance. Not a bad explanation, but there is a problem with it, though. In Metamorphosis (TOS), Kirk told Bones that Cochrane looked familiar to him, meaning that Kirk had seen images of him from historical reference from before Cochrane’s meeting with the Companion. Kirk should therefore have not recognized him at all. Josh M on Sunday, January 05, 2003 - 11:51 pm: I still say that Kirk saw a pre-war Cochrane. I don't think that Cochrane would have lost all of his personal belongings and mementos because of the war. There may be even several younger pictures of him in that "Zefram Cochrane" chapter. LUIGI NOVI on Monday, January 06, 2003 - 10:38 pm: Josh, the photos of Cochrane that were taken and publicized the most would be those made when he first built and successfully tested the Phoenix, and thereafter, not before. Sure, you might see some newsmagazine bit or TV special showing pics and clips of stars "before they made it," but those are not the ones from which the public will recognize them. Josh M on Tuesday, January 07, 2003 - 8:40 pm:Yeah, but people don't change as much as Cochrane did. Kirk may have seen before and after pictures of Cochrane and been amazed at how different he looked. Maybe that chapter on the guy has the old pictures. Or maybe you're right. We don't know how Kirk has been exposed to information on Cochrane so while it may be unlikely, there's still probably a good chance (if that doesn't contradict itself).LUIGI NOVI on Tuesday, January 07, 2003 - 9:13 pm: It's unlikely, IMO, that the photos he'd remember would be the ones PRIOR to WWIII, Josh. I mean, c'mon, this guy has marble STATUES of himself in Montana, and presumably elsewhere, entire cities and planets named after him, etc. He'd be lucky to have pre-WWIII photos of himself, but the reference from which Terrans know him would date from after the first Phoenix flight. Josh M on Sunday, April 13, 2003 - 12:30 am:You've seen encyclopedias and biographies. Many times, they will have a number of pictures in different parts of a person's life. I would imagine that the same would hold true for Cochrane. LUIGI NOVI on Sunday, April 13, 2003 - 11:10 am: Again, Josh, it's not a question of whether such sources show photos from different parts of a person's life, but which ones someone would recognize them from. Putting aside the question of whether photos from earlier in Cochrane's life even survived, they wouldn't be the ones from which someone would be most likely to recognize him. The photographs of Ameilia Earhart and Charles Lindbergh from which anyone would recognize them would be the ones at the time of their historic accommplishments. I doubt anyone would recognize Earhart from her eighth birthday party photos, or Lindbergh from his high school graduation shot.

Enterprise Season 1
Broken Bow I Fight or Flight I Strange New World I Unexpected I Terra Nova I The Andorian Incident I Breaking the Ice I Civilization I Fortunate Son I Cold Front I Silent Enemy I Dear Doctor I Sleeping Dogs I Shadows of P'Jem I Shuttlepod One I Fusion I Rogue Planet I Acquisition I Oasis I Detained I Vox Sola I Fallen Hero I Desert Crossing I Two Days and Two Nights I Shockwave