Created By: SeptimusHeap on November 25, 2012 Last Edited By: Madrugada on February 24, 2013

Space Is Air

When things in space behave like they were in air (Examples And A Better Description Needed)

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
A Sister Trope to Space Is an Ocean, Space Is Air happens when things in space behave as it if they were surrounded by air. That is, the Cool Spaceship will bank during turning and move like a fighter aircraft on earth, there is no cooling required, spacecraft can just easily stop in full movement.

For example, it seems that in the visual media Sci-fi genre, just about every kind of fighter craft depicted in space performs those kinds of moves (such as banking) that would be necessary in an atmosphere, but have no purpose in a vacuum.

Supertrope to Space Is Cold, Space Is Noisy, Batman Can Breathe in Space and Gravity Sucks.

Examples

[[folder:Film]]
  • Zathura, where a flaming couch continues to burn after being kicked into space.
  • Averted in the Alien franchise. Any ship that is built like an Earth vessel is meant as a short range drop ship sort of thing, so it needs to run in the atmosphere. Anything else never enters atmosphere because they wouldn't survive the experience.
  • Star Wars Expanded Universe: Justified. Starfighters have built in repulsorlift fields which create a gravitational pull on the ship equivalent to atmospheric flight. This field allows the starfighter to move through vaccuum as though it was air, allowing for more traditional maneuvering. The downside to the repulsorlift technology is that it consumes fuel incredibly fast.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
  • Averted in Babylon 5 with the Starfury fighter craft, which can immediately flip its orientation in midflight, something which would probably be impossible in an atmosphere.
[[/folder]]
Community Feedback Replies: 30
  • November 25, 2012
    WeAreAllKosh
    Averted in Babylon 5 with the Starfury fighter craft, which can immediately flip its orientation in midflight, something which would probably be impossible in an atmosphere.

    But yeah, it seems that in the visual media Sci-fi genre, just about every kind of fighter craft depicted in space performs those kinds of moves (such as banking) that would be necessary in an atmosphere, but have no purpose in a vacuum. We need to find specific examples though, so I'd have to look closely to describe specific instances.
  • November 25, 2012
    Stratadrake
    ^ It's noted that Starfuries actually can't fly in an atmosphere because they don't have aerodynamic wings (though there is a particular Starfury variant that can).
  • November 25, 2012
    rodneyAnonymous
    Is this also a supertrope for Space Dogfight?

    Also: The design of a vehicle that is intended to be operated only in space including wings at all is an example of Space Is Air. A list of fictional spacecraft with wings would be extremely long, though. Is this Playing With A Trope examples only?
  • November 25, 2012
    KTera
    Possibly related to Space Friction.
  • November 25, 2012
    StarSword
    As written, this seems perilously similar to Old School Dogfighting.

    • Many fighters in Star Wars are designed to work both in space and in atmosphere. The X Wing Series features numerous examples of X-Wings outperforming TIE designs during planetside battles due to their more aerodynamic design (just for starters, the solar panels make crosswinds a pain in the ass). Also inverted during the climax of The Bacta War when a TIE pilot gets killed by the Rogues partly because he maneuvers in a manner better suited to flying a TIE in atmo than in space, where the TIE's repertoire of tricks is greatly expanded.

    Video Games
    • Played with in the X-Universe series. Many fighters resemble atmospheric craft (the Argon models in particular resemble Diesel Punk fighter jets), but it seems to be a purely aesthetic choice since A) the series takes place entirely in space and ships will burn up if you can reach a planetary atmosphere, and B) not every faction does this. At the same time, the series features air-like Space Friction and goes with the constant thrust = constant speed model, despite the ships canonically not featuring any type of Reactionless Drive (matter/antimatter thrusters are the norm).
  • November 25, 2012
    Stratadrake
    I don't particularly like the title "space is air" - it always makes me think of Batman Can Breathe In Space.
  • November 26, 2012
    Aesop
    Whenever characters are knocked off their vessels in Silver Hawks, they just fall "down", wherever that is, but it's kinda covered under Artistic License Physics.
  • November 26, 2012
    SeptimusHeap
    Actually Gravity Sucks.

    @Others: I'll address the issues once I get a better Place to type.
  • November 26, 2012
    SeptimusHeap
    @rodney: There is an use for wings in space: To hold radiators.
  • November 26, 2012
    CobraPrime
    I'd like to point out that of the three examples listed so far, two are Aversions. Needs proper examples.
  • November 26, 2012
    StarSword
    Deleted off-topic
  • November 26, 2012
    SeptimusHeap
    ^^We need to address whether aversions belong here. Personally, I am neutral on the issue.
  • November 26, 2012
    StarSword
    ^I think it's a question of whether it's an Omnipresent Aversion in its area of the Mohs Scale Of Sci Fi Hardness. This trope is so common in TV-grade sci-fi that the rare aversions (B5, Firefly) are probably worth mentioning. 99% of hard sci-fi averts this, so they're probably not worth mentioning.
  • November 26, 2012
    Lumpenprole
    The supreme example might be in the movie Zathura (admittedly unrealistic in movie), where a flaming couch continues to burn after being kicked into space.

  • November 26, 2012
    m8e
    I think it's a supertrope or related to Space Is Noisy and Old School Dogfighting too.

    The descriptions also need to make it clear how this isn't (only?) Old School Dogfighting.
  • December 14, 2012
    GreatHylianKing
    Everything where something in Space makes noise.
  • December 14, 2012
    StarSword
    Aaaand, subtrope of Space Does Not Work That Way.
  • December 14, 2012
    remande
    Banking may be Truth In Television. If you turn by banking and pulling up rather than just turning to the side, you put the acceleration gees under the pilot's backside (where he can take more) rather than forcing him to take side gees.
  • December 16, 2012
    NativeJovian
    This is part of a cleanup for Old School Dogfighting (from this TRS thread). The plan is to split Old School Dogfighting (3-D Chasing Your Tail combat), "spacecraft acting like aircraft" (this trope) and possibly "dogfighting IN SPAAAACE" (not sure if that's distinct enough from the other two, though).
  • December 16, 2012
    NativeJovian
    Sorry for the doublepost, but this actually has a writeup at Sandbox.Space Is Air with a fuller description than the current one here.
  • December 16, 2012
    spacemarine50
    From Two D Space (Is the 2nd sentence a subversion of this trope?)

    • Star Wars The Clone Wars treats banking up like something that would put a strain on your fighter and could even make your fighter stall if damaged, unfortunately for Matchstick. Subverted though when Asoka has the ship turn its "bottom" towards the star destroyers to get them to send their bombers into a trap.
  • February 9, 2013
    Noaqiyeum
    This name rankles.

    Interplanetary Atmosphere? Space Is A Sky (which would also allow us to link this to Casual Interstellar Travel)?
  • February 9, 2013
    rodneyAnonymous
    I like the name.
  • February 10, 2013
    MarkKB
    If anyone'd get the reference, I'd call it something like The Aether. Unfortunately, I don't believe this name, referring to the sky beyond our sky, is common knowledge. :(
  • February 11, 2013
    robinjohnson
    ^ The ether wasn't believed to behave like an atmosphere though, it was just thought to be an otherwise intangible medium for light waves to propagate through.
  • February 11, 2013
    Cider
    Depending on who you asked. It could also be a living being, or the air gods breathed. Anyway, it is too broad to be a name for this proposed trope, which I think is the same thing as Space Does Not Work That Way anyway. Is their any example here that would not fit there already?
  • February 11, 2013
    SeptimusHeap
    It's a subtrope of the latter.
  • February 11, 2013
    elwoz
    I rather like Space Is A Sky.
  • February 24, 2013
    spacemarine50
  • February 24, 2013
    Tallens
    • Starships in Star Trek are often seen making deep, and unnecessary, banks while they're turning.
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