Created By: Tiiba on August 10, 2012 Last Edited By: Tiiba on January 21, 2013
Troped

Planet Spaceship

Truly enormous spaceships that rival planets or moons in size.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
There's big spaceships, there's gigantic spaceships, and then there's these: a space ship (or station) that's as big as a small planet or large moon[[note]] (Earth's moon is a very large moon)[[/note]]. In space, you have no external gravity to contend with[[note]], aside from microgravity[[/note]], so it's possible to build some truly humongous structures like this. Alternatively, you may just want to strap some engines onto an actual planet or moon and set off, although this may require Sufficiently Advanced Technology.

Often used for Rule of Cool, in which case it will overlap with Cool Starship, the Planet Spaceship is a great way to intimidate your foe, or to pack your entire population off when your home world is in trouble. May evoke a "That's No Moon!" reaction when it first appears.

Subtrope of Mile-Long Ship. May be used as a Big Dumb Object, The Battlestar, or a Generation Ship. Commonly, though not exclusively, found in Space Opera. Compare Dyson Sphere and Ring World Planet. See also: Unnecessarily Large Vessel, Unnecessarily Large Interior and Awesome, but Impractical.

(Hey guys, Tiiba here. I thought this thing was dead, and then I see it has fifty replies. And somebody launched it, but there's nothing here to indicate that.)

Examples:

Anime & Manga
  • The Zentradi main base in Super Dimension Fortress Macross is hundreds of kilometers across. Of course, the Zentradi themselves are giants.
  • There's a ship in the Raalgon fleet, in Irresponsible Captain Tylor, that causes Tylor himself to comment that it's "more like a planet than a ship".
  • In Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, the final battle has the two sides fighting with ships that are on the same scale as galaxies!
  • Transformers Cybertron: The planet Primus can transform into a spaceship of sorts.
  • In Outlanders, Earth's moon is revealed to be a millennia-old ship, the superweapon called "Dola".

Comic Books

Film - Animated
  • Titan, for which Titan A.E. is named, is a very large, spherical spaceship. When activated, it converts energy into mass and turns into an actual planet.

Film - Live Action

Literature
  • In the Ted Reynolds short story, "Ker-Plop", we get a reminder of the difference between size and volume, when humans return from the Magellanic Clouds in a ship that is ten thousand kilometers across (about 1/10th the diameter of Ceres). The agent sent to investigate realizes that because the entire volume is inhabited, rather than just the surface, this one ship contains more people than his entire galactic federation. The decks are arranged concentrically, like an onion, and the first kilometer alone has nearly 400 decks, each with nearly the same surface area as the entire ship!
  • In E. E. “Doc” Smith's Skylark Series, Drs. Seaton and Crane build a 1000km diameter spaceship called the Skylark of Valeron. Its size was needed to house the sensors required to travel at its full velocity. Later, their rival Dr. DuQuesne builds an even bigger ship.
  • In Larry Niven's Known Space series, the Pierson's Puppeteers have basically turned a star with five orbiting planets into a spaceship, and are using it to flee the explosion at the center of the galaxy.
  • In the Gor series:
    • The planet Gor itself is arguably this, since the Priest-Kings (the Physical Gods of the planet) moved it to its current location 5 million years ago.
    • The Kurii live in "Steel Worlds" in the asteroid belt; from there they plot their plans to destroy the Priest-Kings and take over Gor & Earth for themselves. The Steel Worlds have aritifical weather & daytime/nighttime and rotate to simulate gravity, with beings living on the inside circumferance of the ships. They used to have a planet of their own but they destroyed it making war with each other.
  • From Iain M. Banks's The Culture novels, the General Systems Vehicles. You know that bit at the beginning of Star Wars, where the Star Destroyer swallows up the Tantive IV into its docking bay? Picture a ship that could do that... to the Death Star. Twice.
  • David Weber's Empire from the Ashes series has Dahak and all the other Imperial Planetoids. Dahak has spent the last 50,000 years pretending to be Earth's Moon... and it's the smallest of them. They come equipped with hundred kilometer thick armor and carry 80,000 ton battleships as parasite craft.
  • In John Varley's Gaea Trilogy, Gaea and her brood are living space habitats large enough to be mistaken for additional moons of Saturn.
  • In The City and the Stars by Arthur C. Clarke, it is revealed at the end that most of the humanity left the Galaxy to explore the universe... in a star cluster made into a fleet.
  • At the end of Halo: The Cole Protocol, the inhabitants of The Rubble, survivors of the Covenant invasion of their system, convert a large asteroid into an evacuation ship to get everyone safely to UNSC space.
  • In Remnants, the humans who awaken when the ship reaches a destination initially think they've landed on a bizarre alien world. They soon discover it's a massive spaceship controlled by a sentient AI that brought them aboard as a curiosity.
  • In Robert Reed's Great Ship series, the Great Ship itself is an ancient abandoned artifact which was claimed and settled by mankind's descendents. It is larger than Jupiter.

Live-Action TV
  • In Andromeda the Magog come from worlds (yes, that's plural) locked together in some kind of structure. The whole thing is mobile, and even contains an artificial sun!
  • In the Star Trek: The Original Series ep. "The World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky" a group of aliens have been sequestered inside a large interstellar asteroid for so long that they have forgotten that they are actually inside one.

Tabletop Games
  • In Warhammer 40,000:
    • Eldar craftworlds are described as "planetoid-sized".
    • The Necron World Engine, unsurprisingly, is a Necron ship the size of a planet. An entire space marine chapter sacrificed itself to destroy it.
    • Also, the Phalanx is the moon-sized fortress-monastery-spaceship of the Imperial Fists.

Toys
  • In Franchise/Bionicle, Mata Nui was designed to observe other universes while having beings inside him functioning as Nano Machines in a sense. His Humongous Mecha body is roughly forty million feet (7,575 mi or 12,192 km) tall and had a camouflage system that created an island on his face. Mata Nui was able to control specific things like gravity and light within his body.

Video Games
  • In Marathon, the eponymous ship was originally Mars' moon Deimos.
  • The Dammerung in Xenosaga is described in the accompanying Perfect Works manual as an artificial planet the size of Lebanon. It's the headquarters for Fiction 500 company Vector, and contains at least one megalopolis in an area large enough to have a real weather system.
  • In the videogame adaptation of Futurama, Mom's plot involves transforming the Earth into a giant spaceship.

Western Animation
  • In Invader Zim, Mars itself was converted into a spaceship.

Community Feedback Replies: 50
  • August 10, 2012
    fulltimeD
    what the hell is the buuj khalifa?

    Also, they are technically The Battlestar, the bigger cousin to Airborne Aircraft Carrier
  • August 10, 2012
    CobraPrime
    ^The Battlestar requires them to be half carrier - half Battleship In Space.

  • August 10, 2012
    Omeganian
  • August 11, 2012
    captainsandwich
    in Invader Zim, mars was converted into a spaceship.
  • August 11, 2012
    Lumpenprole
    ^^That's No Moon is more about mistaking things because they're so big one doesn't recognize them at first.

    Spaceball One in the movie Spaceballs. Scale is difficult to judge but it's scores if not hundreds of kilometers long.
  • August 11, 2012
    JonnyB
    I had to google "Burj Khalifa" so you might want to make the laconic a little clearer.

    Related to Thats No Moon.

    The mothership in Independence Day would qualify. I think I recall them saying it was 1/4 the mass of the moon.
  • August 11, 2012
    captainsandwich
    I think i heard that some craftworld eldar ships are this big.
  • August 12, 2012
    KTera
    • The eponymous Marathon was originally Mars' moon Deimos.
  • August 12, 2012
    Xtifr
    • In the Ted Reynolds short story, "Ker-Plop", we get a reminder of the difference between size and volume, when humans return from the Magellanic Clouds in a ship that is ten thousand kilometers across (about 1/10th the diameter of Ceres). The agent sent to investigate realizes that because the entire volume is inhabited, rather than just the surface, this one ship contains more people than his entire galactic federation. The decks are arranged concentrically, like an onion, and the first kilometer alone has nearly 400 decks, each with nearly the same surface area as the entire ship!
  • August 12, 2012
    Arivne
    In order to differentiate this from planets that are spaceships:

    Planet Sized Spaceship?
  • August 12, 2012
    Tiiba
    Do I NEED to differentiate, and what's the actual difference?
  • August 12, 2012
    X2X
    Comics
    • Taa II, the Worldship belonging to Galactus and named after his ravaged homeland Taa. It is the size of a solar system.
  • August 13, 2012
    JohnnyCache
    • In EE Doc Smith's Skylark Series, Drs. Seaton and Crane build a 1000km diameter spaceship called the Skylark of Valeron. Its size was needed to house the sensors required to travel at its full velocity.
      • later, their rival Dr. DuQuesne builds an even bigger ship.
  • August 13, 2012
    Xtifr
    ^ good example, bad indentation (see Example Indentation).
  • August 13, 2012
    Tallens
    In Andromeda the Magog come from worlds (yes, that's plural) locked together in some kind of structure. The whole thing is mobile, and even contains an artificial sun!
  • August 13, 2012
    Xtifr
    • In Larry Niven's Known Space series, the Pierson's Puppeteers have basically turned a star with five orbiting planets into a spaceship, and are using it to flee the explosion at the center of the galaxy.
  • August 13, 2012
    randomsurfer
    • In the Gor series:
      • The planet Gor itself is arguably this, since the Priest-Kings (the Physical Gods of the planet) moved it to its current location 5 million years ago.
      • The Kurii live in "Steel Worlds" in the asteroid belt; from there they plot their plans to destroy the Priest-Kings and take over Gor & Earth for themselves. The Steel Worlds have aritifical weather & daytime/nighttime and rotate to simulate gravity, with beings living on the inside circumferance of the ships. They used to have a planet of their own but they destroyed it making war with each other.
  • August 13, 2012
    KZN02
    Transformers Cybertron: Primus, which is the planet of Cybertron, which can transform into a spaceship of sorts.
  • August 14, 2012
    SonofRojBlake
    From Iain M Banks's "Culture" novels, the General Systems Vehicles. You know that bit at the beginning of Star Wars, where the Star Destroyer swallows up the Tantive IV into its docking bay? Picture a ship that could do that... to the Death Star. Twice.

  • August 15, 2012
    Tallens
    The Star Wars Expanded Universe brings us the Yuuzhan Vong worldships.
  • August 15, 2012
    ccoa
    • The Dammerung in Xenosaga is described in the accompanying Perfect Works manual as an artificial planet the size of Lebanon. It's the headquarters for Fiction 500 company Vector, and contains at least one megalopolis in an area large enough to have a real weather system.

    EDIT: Huh, can't get the a with umlauts to show up.
  • September 12, 2012
    Terabiel
    Dahak and all the other Imperial Planetoids in David Weber's Dahak / Ashes of Empire series count, especially since Dahak has spent the last 50,000 years pretending to be Earth's Moon... and he's the smallest of them. They come equipped with hundred kilometer thick armor and carry 80,000 ton battleships as parasite craft.

    Also by David Weber and John Ringo are all the Carriers of the Empire of Man in the Prince Rodger Series, all of which are massive spherical spaceships.

    And speaking of John Ringo, his Troy Rising series has Troy, Thermoplae, and Malta, 9-13km across mobile battle stations, each using rapid fire 50 megaton nukes to power their Orion Drives and carrying an entire fleet of cruisers, fighters, and millions of missiles. They make the Rangora (the enemy aliens) Assault Vectors (which are pretty impressive battleships in their own right) look puny.
  • September 12, 2012
    JohnDiFool
    In the Star Trek The Original Series ep. "The World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky" a group of aliens have been sequestered inside a large interstellar asteroid for so long that they have forgotten that they are actually inside one.
  • September 12, 2012
    zarpaulus
    • Andromeda: the Magog worldship is essentially a mobile star system, with multiple actual planets chained around an artificial small sun.
  • September 12, 2012
    Tallens
    ^^Mentioned that one already, I wonder why it never got up there.
  • September 12, 2012
    Andygal
    In the Empire From The Ashes series, the Moon is actually a giant spaceship that destroyed the original moon in prehistoric times and took its place.
  • September 12, 2012
    Blork
    • In the Futurama videogame, Mom's plot involves transforming the Earth into a giant spaceship.
  • January 8, 2013
    Xtifr
    This has been around long enough to be Up For Grabs, so I'm going to take over, so I can coordinate with the person running the YKTTW for MileLongShip.
  • January 8, 2013
    NESBoy
    First up, we need an actual description of the trope before the examples.

    As for me?

  • January 8, 2013
    Xtifr
    Yup, I'll put up a basic description and start sorting out the examples soon.

    eta: basic description provided. Still need to work on the examples: sorting, getting rid of first-person, etc.
  • January 8, 2013
    elwoz
    In John Varley's Gaea Trilogy, Gaea and her brood are living space habitats large enough to be mistaken for additional moons of Saturn.
  • January 8, 2013
    Xtifr
    ^ Wow, could have sworn we already had that; not sure how I overlooked it! Thanks! :)
  • January 8, 2013
    Xtifr
    Ok, fixed up the examples a bit.

    Hoping for some clarification on a few, like the Prince Roger/Empire of Man example, which just says the ships are "massive spherical spaceships", and the Metroid example, which is so vague as to almost be a Zero Context Example.

    eta: examples that aren't really comparable to planets at all should go here instead.
  • January 9, 2013
    Xtifr
    Now that I've brought this back from the dead, I'm hoping for a few more examples, and maybe, soon, a hat or two. I think this looks a whole lot more like a trope than it did a couple of days ago! :)
  • January 9, 2013
    KZN02
    BIONICLE: Mata Nui is essentially a humanoid spaceship, not to mention a Humongous Mecha.
  • January 9, 2013
    McKathlin
    Film - Animated
    • Titan, for which Titan A.E. is named, is a very large, spherical spaceship. When activated, it converts energy into mass and turns into an actual planet.
  • January 10, 2013
    Xtifr
    ^^ Without more details, that sounds more like the supertrope, Mile-long Ship (or whatever it ends up being called). This is for ships that can be mistaken for (or actually are) planets.
  • January 11, 2013
    Tallens
    The Titan is actually the catalyst for planetary formation, but it doesn't become the planet itself. And while it is large, I don't think it's on the scale this is referring to.
  • January 11, 2013
    Omeganian
    In The City and the Stars by Arthur C Clarke, it is revealed at the end that most of the humanity left the Galaxy to explore the universe... in a star cluster made into a fleet.
  • January 11, 2013
    StarSword
    Despite the name Yuuzhan Vong worldships fall under the supertrope, not this. The New Essential Guide to Vehicles and Vessels puts their average diameter at ten kilometers. That's half the size of an Executor-class SSD.

    Basically, it's called a worldship because for much of the Vong population, the ship was literally their world.

    EDIT: Correction.
  • January 11, 2013
    StarSword
    Literature:
    • At the end of Halo The Cole Protocol, the inhabitants of The Rubble, survivors of the Covenant invasion of their system, convert a large asteroid into an evacuation ship to get everyone safely to UNSC space.

    Re: the Bionicle example: Though I stopped following Bionicle after the Rahkshi arc, I've gleaned from this wiki that Mata Nui counts as this. Unfortunately I don't understand the details well enough to write an example.
  • January 11, 2013
    Xtifr
    Ok, sent the incorrect examples to the other draft. Except for the Bionicle example, which still needs details, I think I'm caught up.
  • January 11, 2013
    Chabal2
    40K also has the Phalanx, the moon-sized fortress-monastery-spaceship of the Imperial Fists.
  • January 16, 2013
    KZN02
    Ok, for the specifics.

    Mata Nui was designed to observe other universes while having beings inside him functioning as Nano Machines in a sense. His Humongous Mecha body is roughly forty million feet (7,575 mi or 12,192 km) tall and had a camouflage system that created an island on his face. Mata Nui was able to control specific things like gravity and light within his body.
  • January 16, 2013
    Xtifr
    Ok, that definitely fits, thanks :)
  • January 17, 2013
    DrakeClawfang
    Remnants, the humans who awaken when the ship reaches a destination initially think they've landed aboard a bizarre alien world. They soon discover it's a massive spaceship controlled by a sentient AI that brought them aboard as a curiosity.
  • January 20, 2013
    Xtifr
    Bump. I don't want to launch this until the supertrope, Mile Long Ship is launched, but that should be launching today, so this may launch tomorrow. If you've got last minute examples, send 'em in now.
  • January 20, 2013
    zarpaulus
    ^ Launched it,
  • January 21, 2013
    StarSword
  • January 21, 2013
    StarSword
    Link fix in draft.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=j8jnfvhl7k69xirsixy3q4ix