main index




Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
Fridge: Space Mines
Why is there a "Fridge Logic" page on this trope? Aren't Fridge Logic pages usually for works?

Well, generally yes. But in the creation of this trope, there were so many Fridge Logic comments that came up, and it was realized that they were pretty much universal to this sort of trope, no matter what work they came from. So, it was decided to start a Fridge Logic page to deal with them.

From randomsurfer:
  • FWIW the Klingon mines make no sense, since they'd have to mine space three-dimensionally - which they don't - in order to be effective, which would literally take hundreds of years to do even at like 15 seconds a mine. (They don't just mine around Bajor, they mine around the entire Bajoran system.)

From Micah:
  • This is true of most examples of this. The other DS9 example is actually pretty rare in its making-sense-ness.

From c0ry:
  • Perhaps what they call "mines" are really dormant warp-capable drones which are activated by anything in their sensor range, which could be a significant fraction of a lightyear, which would allow only a few of them to cover a three-dimensional hollow sheathe around the Bajoran system.

From terrafox:

  • Can someone tell me how self-propelled space-mines with homing capability are functionally different from missiles?

  • Sea Mines work(ed) well for two reasons:

1. Earth's ocean and sea terrain contains a lot of inlets, natural harbors, bays, straights and other types of terrain that make natural choke-points where the use of mines is a practical way to deny or substantially delay passage to unwanted ships. No such barriers or terrain exists in space to prevent ships from circumnavigating such a barrier. Even protecting a very small moon with a density of one mine every few thousand cubic km would require huge numbers of mines and logistical support to successfully achieve coverage. The same logistical resources would be of better use in improving detection and interception/quick reaction capability.

2. Sea mines are deployed under water, greatly complicating the task of detecting and clearing them. Space ships could just pick them off with long range guns/laser/missile/decoy/whatever.

From JonnyB:

@Terrafox: Physically, they may not be different. The difference semantically though would be that a missile is usually intentionally fired from one ship toward another, with the intent of hitting a specific target. A mine is usually dropped and left behind in a particular location, and whether it just sits there until proximity sets it off or whether it is self-propelled and homes in on something, it's intended target is not specified. This is largely the same with the modern Sea Mine as well; many of them have homing capabilities but are not classified as missiles.

The Battlestar Galactica reference above subverted your point #1, though... in the story, there was a narrow passage through a dense nebula that allowed safe passage, and that was where the Cylons laid the mines. The nebula interfered with the Galactica's sensors so they had to send two Vipers ahead to visually spot and destroy them ahead of the fleet.

The Romulans and Klingons also cloaked their mines to subvert your point #2.

From terrafox:

So in other words, it takes a contrived circumstance (BSG), a hand-wave and substantial amounts of technobabble (Star Trek) to make them viable space warfare implements.

Aside from that, cloaking only subverts part of it. Once cloak detection is available (and it always becomes available as the plot continues), it is still a matter of just picking them off at range. Sea mines require highly specialized training, equipment and lots of time to safely clear.

From Lilwik:

Regarding the difficulty of detecting and clearing space mines, we must be careful to keep the scale of the situation in mind. Just as the enormous scale makes laying the mines potentially impractical, it also makes detecting them potentially impractical. For example, if the mines were as small as 1 meter across and there were 1000 kilometers between each mine, then spotting the mines would be like looking for a single yellow rubber duck floating somewhere in the Atlantic. Just imagine someone presenting you with a telescope and telling you that there are some mines somewhere in the sky, then think about how hard it would be to find them. In other words, it might be much harder to detect space mines than it is to detect sea mines, even without some magical cloaking.

That is assuming that the mines aren't glowing and drawing attention to themselves. Of course, ships have to glow because of their operations generating heat and radiation being the only way to expel excess heat in space, so it makes a lot of sense to imagine almost inanimate mines sitting around like tiny lumps in space and endlessly staring through infrared cameras until a heat-source appears like a ship, then launching some attack with a range of thousands of kilometers.

From Ishidan:

Ah. Therefore, they're less classical "mines" and more Sentry Turrets: sit idle but observing until a target is detected, then attack said target. The only change there is whether the attack consists of firing a gun or propelling itself towards the target with intention of ramming. You could just as easily create "space mines" that are actually autonomous gun platforms. Wrap the sensor and gun platform with rock (with blow-away panels in front of the gun barrels, if you need to), and it'll look like an asteroid on visual scans while the rock muffles the heat signature of the targeting computer. Target ship gets too close, and all of a sudden that "asteroid field" starts spitting Fricking Laser Beams, Bullet Hell, or a Macross Missile Massacre.

TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from
Privacy Policy