reactors and Tylium Energizers provide the ships
of "Battlestar Galactica"
with all of their power needs. Information concerning the working
of the Tylium Energizer or exactly what Tylium was, is nonexistent.
Observations however suggest that Tylium was some form of quantum
matterial, or dark matter capable of providing energy on the
same scale as matter/antimatter reaction.
Nuclear fusion is believed
to be a key component of power generation in the Galactica universe.
This assertion is based in part on comments made in the Galactica
1980 series. While I, like many Galactica fans, do not consider
Galactica 1980 to be "Battlestar Galactica" cannon, some comments
made by Capt. Troy and Lt. Dillon in the pilot episode to Professor
Mortinson ring a cord. Troy and Dillon tell the good Professor that
he had made errors in his nuclear fusion equations. Troy and Dillon
also commented that they had studied the mechanics of nuclear fusion
aboard the Galactica as part of their training, suggesting this
means of power generation was still in use.
Thus, while the events
of Galactica 1980 are not cannon, comments made suggest that the
creators envisioned (to some
reasonable extent) that nuclear fusion was a key means
of power generation in the Galactica universe and, given that the
episode in which these statements were made was written by series
creator Glenn Larson, they are in my opinion creditable.
A toxic byproduct of
starship operation was a compound known as Solium. From what
was seen in "Battlestar Galactica", Solium was very dangerous and
volatile compound. In the pilot, when Starbuck and Boomer heard
that Jolly and Apollo were looking for Solium leaks, they immediately
turned to leave. Given the dangers NASA has with the use of liquid
hydrogen and the infamous Hindenberg disaster, it would appear that
this dangerous gas was indeed hydrogen which, obviously if there
were leaks, would represent a serious threat to the safely of ship
and crew. Consequently Solium IS Hydrogen.
Another compound mentioned
which appears to have had it's origins with Solium is the explosive
compounds known as Solinite. Again, continuing along the
lines that Solium is a form of Hydrogen, explosive Solinite charges
were probably analogous to Deuterium fusion bombs, and thus Solinite
Liquid Deuterium (i.e.
Solinite) has a density of 160 kg/m^3 at a temperature
of 13.8K. Given
the size of the four exterior fuel tanks seen on the Galactica (each
with an estimated volume of 140,000 m^3), allowing some leeway
for some fuel to be stored internally, the deuterium fuel storage
capacity of the Galactica would be approximately
44.6 million kilograms, with a total/maximum potential energy
output of 2.7*10^22 joule.
In the universe of Battlestar
Galactica many forms of fuel and explosives were mentioned.
Primary among these was the fuel source known as Tylium.
Tylium was stated as being the Colonial's primary means of generating
power in the series' pilot episode, but no explanation as to the
exact nature of Tylium was ever offered. After having observed the
series, comments made with regards to Tylium and reactors of the
Galactica universe, it is my assertion that Tylium is in fact a
form of Quantum matterial that appears to be capable of producing
a massive energy release, on a scale comparable to matter/antimatter
generation, by simply having it's temperature altered within a few
Primary basis for this
theory stems from the following:
- During Galactica's
run, Tylium was only found on Carolon, a planet that had been
irradiated by, or once had been part of a massive star that went
nova, creating the nebula known as "The Nova of Madagon."
- Combustible nature
of Tylium and it's destructive force are beyond the combustible
or fissionable nature of any/all known metallic compounds.
- Planet Carolon was
completely destroyed by a Tylium explosion in "Saga of
a Star World", after the ore was ignited by plasma based
weapons fire during the Colonial's escape from the planet.
- In the episode "Fire
in Space", Galactica was in danger of having her Tylium
stores ignited by a fire raging throughout the ship.
Given what was seen in
"Saga of a Star World" it would appear that that
this rare metallic ore is very, very dangerous and unstable
with regards to heat - so unstable in it's raw form that after being
ignited the ore in the Carolon mine exploded with enough force to
destroy the entire planet. Given the rarity of Tylium and the size
of Carolon (obviously the planet
was of similar mass to earth given Galactica's crewmen were able
to walk on the planet without any discernable discomfort),
I believe that Tylium ore must be capable of releasing energy on
the same scale as matter/antimatter interaction, via simple combustion.
(Not a great theory, but
its the only one that fits the available facts.)
- IMPORTANT DATA:
Carolon was said to have had a large abundance of raw Tylium,
a fact hidden by an expedition sent by Baltar. This is, in all
likelihood, due to the fact that Carolon it self was spawned from
the solar detonation that created the Nova of Madagon. The Nova
of Madagon was not a nova of course, but rather it was a nebula
created by a large star that went supernova thousands of years
ago. Nova of Madagon is a perilous expanse, the thousands of virgin
stars forming in the nebula super heating and irradiating the
entire area to a degree few ships can withstand for very long.
In my opinion,
Carolon was likely spawned from ejectia from the supernova, the
planet's Tylium likely a dense fragment from the original star's
metallic core that created the Nova of Madagon, combined with
the remains what had once been of an orbiting planet. Stellar
debris and dust forming around the Tylium fragment and other rocks
until it merged with other small bodies of ejectia to became the
small, moon sized planet seen in the series pilot.
During the surface battle
in the Pilot episode, Starbuck and Apollo ignited several fires
with their blasters and managed to escape unharmed. Eventually the
fires they ignited caused all the Tylium in the mine to ignite,
but given that the exchange of plasma fire between Cylon and Colonial
forces did not cause the instant detonation of the Tylium, their
weapons must not produce enough heat alone to cause raw Tylium to
reach it's catastrophic combustible state. It
is likely that the blaster dual caused damage to machinery or ignited
other volatile fuels like liquid hydrogen being pumped through,
out and into the Oveon's Tylium processing plant. Eventually,
as the fires raged out of control the raw Tylium ore and processed
ore reached their ultimate combustion point and flash ignited, resulting
in the destruction of the entire planet Carolon.
Statements made during
this episode suggests that the Ovion Tylium mine on Carolon was
the only source of the substance to be found on the planet. As stated
at the beginning of this document, Tylium is believed to be a Quantum
matterial in that the molecules that make up this substance have
been altered on the subatomic level by disastrous galactic events
(such as a star going nova
or proximity to a black hole) in such a way that
the fundamental binding forces of the atom, super strings,
Unstable Quantum matterial
such as Tylium have several unique properties. Example, the electrons
and protons that make up Tylium can not be exchanged with those
of another object, as one might experience with static electricity.
Physical state of Tylium cannot be altered easily and, due to the
fundamental binding forces of the atoms being unstable on a multidimensional
plane, any massive alteration of the movement of Tylium molecules
will result in a massive detonation.
Upon the discovery of
Tylium, Colonial scientists found that by radically altering the
atomic movement within Tylium atoms, specifically via the use of
heat, they could produce a massive energy release. An increase in
temperature would cause the molecules of Tylium to move about more
quickly, just like heated air in a balloon and when the molecules
reached a specific state of excited movement the super strings binding
the atom together at the subatomic level would completely destabilize
and a detonation would occur.
By combining fusion technology
with Tylium, Colonial forces were able to follow in the footsteps
of the Cylons and abandon matter/antimatter and nuclear fusion as
their primary means of power generation for the following reason:
- Unlike matter/antimatter
reactors, Tylium did not require complex electromagnetic fields
(which yielded a poor efficiency
of less than 5%), or expensive methods of containment
that could easily be breached.
- Refined Tylium was
stable at temperatures as low as -50° C and as high as 2000°
C, which meant it could be stored at room temperature with practically
no extraneous containment system, while matter/antimatter required
a massive cryogenic super-cooling system to maintain safe storage.
- Tylium could be mined
off of a planet, leading to the creation of boom towns and driving
the industries of exploration and mining forward. Production of
matter/antimatter was a negative-result venture, as it required
more power to produce an insignificant amount of antimatter, then
the potential energy the produced antimatter was capable of generating.
- Tylium could be used
to produce a massive amount of energy with a minimal amount of
resources. matter/antimatter required an extremely complex, inefficient
and unreliable M/AM injector system prone to catastrophic system
One of the key problems
in using Tylium was the fact that not all Tylium reached detonation
at the same temperatures. Tylium from one planet could be ignited
at temperatures as low as 2000° C, while Tylium from another
planet would require temperatures as high as 20,000° C... it
all depended on how close the planetoid was to whatever catastrophic
event that created it. Consequently fusion power is often used in
conjunction with Tylium. Fusion
reactor plasma has a temperature of 5*10^7° K, several thousand
degrees above the maximum ignition point of any known grade of Tylium,
thus negating this problem.
A Tylium/Fusion reactor
most likely consisted of the following three parts and works like
A nuclear fusion reactor
creates power by forcing two separate atomic nuclei to unite into
a larger more powerful atomic mass. Resultant energy release created
by the marriage of these two atomic masses is a hot, electrically
charged ionized gas; a hydrogen based isotope known as deuterium
and tritium, more commonly known as plasma.
Purified Tylium ore,
which is produced by passing the ore through an intense Electromagnetic
field (most likely provided
by the magnetic coils of the ships ion engines), breaking
the Tylium ore down into its base components, effectively removing
the impurities and leaving only the Tylium. Concluding purification,
the bulk of the remaining compound is pure Tylium. Refined Tylium,
which is now in a dense "powder like" form, is then stored within
armored, heat resistant storage tanks.
- Main Energizer:
This is the reactor
housing in which plasma and Tylium are introduced. Charged
plasma and purified Tylium are pumped into the ship's main energizer.
Once injected into the energizer the two compounds come into contact
and the hot plasma ignites the Tylium. Magnetic/gravitational
matrix, which is essentially a powerful gravitic force field,
contains the resulting explosion and the energy released by the
explosion is then forced out the Energizer's power distrubition
node. Small bits of these two compounds, on the scale of a few
grams, produce the massive amount of energy a ship needs to power
the vessel and allow it to create artificial gravity, travel at
speeds near that of light and jump from one star to another.
One of the problems with
the mythical substance known as Tylium, is how much energy this
substance is capable of generating. Using the destruction of Carolon
as our basis, we can approximate the potential energy in Tylium
First off, we must estimate
how much Tylium it took to destroy Carolon. Carolon had a mass within
human tolerance, thus for the sake of argument we will assume that
the total mass of Carolon was close to Earth's, approximately
We have been assuming
that Tylium reaction is approximate to matter/antimatter reaction,
a means of power generation that would be well within the Colonial's
technology range, given their mastery of gravitational technology.
Matter/antimatter annihilation produced 9*10^16 J/kg.
Same special effects
team that created the destruction of Alderan in "Star Wars",
produced the destruction of Carolon in "Saga of a Star World",
consequently both incidents were extremely similar. Given that the
entire planet was destroyed by the explosion of the Ovion Tylium
Wong's figures for the destruction of Alderan can be applied
to Carolon. Consequently the destructive force needed to destroy
Carolon would have been within the range of 1*10^32 joule.
has an output of 9*10^16 J/kg and, if Tylium detonation is
equivalent to M/AM reaction, then the compound Tylium would have
only made up 2.79% of Carolon's total mass. Assuming that
Carolon was approximately the same size as Earth, then the planet's
mass per meter cubed would have been 6,631.45 kg/m^3 or 185
kg/m^3 of Tylium ore. Obviously we don't know the exact density
of Tylium, but since this is all guess work with regards to a nonexistent
fictional matterial, we will use these rough figures to estimate
Tylium fuel tanks on
a Colonial Battlestar have a volume of approximately 140,000
m^3 and at an approximate density of 185 kg/m^3, total Tylium
fuel capacity for a Battlestar type vessel would have been roughly
51,583,058.5 kg. Given our estimated potential energy to
mass ratio for Tylium the total/maximum Tylium energy output would
have been approximately 4.6*10^24 Joule, or 4,642,475
In order for a Tylium
reactor to work, any given race attempting to create such a device
would need comprehensive knowledge of zero-point energy fields and
gravimetric technology. Less advanced races first exploring the
use of such a reactor, might be able to make do with an electromagnetic