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Asteroid Thicket

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Princess Leia: You're not actually going in to an asteroid field?
Han Solo: They'd be crazy to follow us, wouldn't they?
Princess Leia: don't have to do this to impress me.

In science fiction movies and TV, asteroids form a vast, hyperkinetic, obstacle-strewn Death Course: Enormous rocks spin like tops and whiz around all over the place, frequently even smashing into each other. Trying to navigate one is like asking a chicken to cross a busy Los Angeles freeway during rush hour: Small nimble spacecraft flown by skillful Ace Pilots (i.e, the protagonists) may be able to slalom through without getting reduced to space dust, but any pursuing enemy fighter ships will get picked off one-by-one by giant, malevolent space boulders. Any capital ship that can't just blast a path through them with its Wave-Motion Gun will have to rely on its Deflector Shields to bounce the rocks off. This makes it a good option to escape the guns of a pursuing capital ship.

It's unfortunate that Real Life asteroid fields, while they do exist, don't have such a flair for the dramatic. Real-life asteroids are strewn much farther apart from each other; so far that the chance of even seeing one (let alone crashing into one) is pretty much nil. This is because a truly violent asteroid thicket as seen in fiction would simply dash itself to bits in a short period of time in real life. Also, due to gravity, even dust will be attracted to itself; larger rocks this close together would gravitate towards each other even faster, and the whole asteroid field would eventually gather into a few fairly solid clusters — in fact, this is fairly close to the going theory of how planets form from clouds of dust and rocks. Scientists have sent space probes through our solar system's main asteroid belt for decades, including one — Dawn — that has studied bodies within it — and haven't lost a single one in the process. While obviously no first-hand data is available about asteroid fields in other star systems, everything we know about physics tells us that they'd probably differ little from the ones in our own solar system and would be nothing like typical sci-fi depictions.

Conversely, planetary rings are (relatively) much more sparse in fiction than they are in real life. Voyager 2 flew through Saturn's G ring — one of the fainter rings — once, at an angle, and there was "lots of evidence of micrometeroid hits" on the quite small 4-meter diameter probe, and the Cassini spacecraft used its antenna as a shield when crossing the same ring or the space between the rings and the planet during its mission at Saturn. The thickness of the rings is also surprisingly variable, ranging from under 10 meters to over a kilometer. However, aspiring SF writers should know that these planetary ring systems are mostly made up of ice (99% of the rings' content) and rocks 0.01 to 10 meters across.

A Sub-Trope of Artistic License – Space and Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale.

Compare Space Clouds, a trope about the similarly unrealistic portrayal of nebulae in fiction; Conveniently Close Planet for if an Asteroid Thicket could be considered "frustratingly close asteroids"; and Dangerous Orbital Debris, for cases where swarms of artificial wreckage make it hazardous or impossible to leave a planet. A spaceborne equivalent to an Aerial Canyon Chase will take place in one. If there are Asteroid Miners here, they're going to have hazardous lives.

May be justified if the asteroids are actually a Shattered World left over from a recent Earth-Shattering Kaboom.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Cowboy Bebop: Earth is surrounded by an incredibly thick asteroid field. It was born when an experimental jumpgate exploded near the Moon, and a good third of it blasted into pieces, raining down into Earth's gravity field. And daily meteor showers because of it.
  • Doraemon: Nobita and The Space Heroes: When Aron escapes from the Space Pirates, he deliberately hyperspeeds through an asteroid cluster to lose his pursuers. It works until a random asteroid damages his ship, causing Aron to crash on earth, meet Doraemon and friends, and ask for their help to save his home planet and kickstarting the adventure.
  • Galaxy Express 999 episode 3 depicts our solar system's asteroid belt this way. Granted, the series runs on Rule of Cool, but the asteroid field isn't some futuristic device designed to look like an old-fashioned inaccurate sci-fi asteroid field... it just is an inaccurate sci-fi asteroid field.
  • Hoshin Engi: Weaponized by one of the Juttenkun's paopei, Tenzetsujin (Heaven-Cutting Formation), which takes the form of an asteroid thicket Pocket Dimension where the owner can attack his opponents by sending giant rock meteors their way.
  • Irresponsible Captain Tylor. The entire fleet is trying to destroy the Soyokaze, which is on a private mission to rescue their captain. Ahead lies an asteroid field, their only means of escape. They ask What Would X Do? and go full speed ahead, proving that the Soyokaze is indeed just as lucky as its captain.
  • Macross: Although the series has its share of asteroid belt battles, the asteroids themselves are not treated as being particularly dangerous obstacles, as even unexceptional pilots are shown to be able to navigate through them fairly smoothly while in the midst of combat.
    • Macross: Do You Remember Love?: Hikaru and Minmay steal a trainer Valkyrie for a joyride through Saturn's rings, which includes flying through a crapton of debris at one point, culminating in Hikaru kicking off some of the ice and debris from the ring to create a rainbow in space. The rings are also dense enough for a Zentradi warship to hide within them to capture Hikaru, Minmay, Roy, Misa and Kaifun.
    • Macross DeltaL In Episode 5, Messer, Keith, and Hayate pull off some fancy maneuvers by using their boosters and engines to jump off of asteroids to move around.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam does this with the Corregidor Shoal Zone, a collection of debris from decades of asteroid processing for space colony construction that have aggregated around a LeGrange point. It's a bit more plausible than most examples, as it's relatively young by astronomical standards and it's in a much tighter orbit around its centre of mass than a conventional asteroid belt. Still, while the rocks don't come whizzing out at passing spaceships, there are chunks big enough for Humongous Mecha to hide behind, when collisions due to mutual attraction should have reduced them to gravel years ago and they're dense enough to make navigation somewhat difficult, though not to the point of Wronski Feint-ing.
  • Outlaw Star: The independent spaceport Blue Heaven is surrounded by an asteroid thicket, with only a few specific safe lanes in and out.
  • Transformers: ★Headmasters abused this in the episode "My Friend Sixshot"
  • Space Battleship Yamato: In the second season, Yamato attempts to elude the Earth Defense flagship Andromeda by flying at high speed through our solar system's asteroid belt. (To his credit, Captain Gideon of the Andromeda simply flies around the asteroid belt and is waiting for our heroes on the other side in a rare instance of writers remembering that space has more than just 2 dimensions.)
  • Star Ocean EX: Admiral Kenny's ship exits warp into the middle of one. Justified, in that it's the result of the Big Bad's last planetary visit.

    Asian Animation 
  • 3000 Whys of Blue Cat: One scene in "Will Earth Be Destroyed?" has an extremely thick asteroid belt with asteroids flying everywhere.

    Comic Books 
  • 52: Exaggerated. Apparently, the thicket that Adam Strange, Animal Man and Starfire are stuck in has a diameter measured in parsecs. This is handwaved with the explanation that it is not a natural asteroid field, but that comes nowhere close to explaining the sheer amount of mass that is present
  • In Superman storyline "Brainiac Rebirth", a depowered Superman tries to evade Brainiac's ship by flying his smaller spacecraft into a meteor storm. However, Brainiac can use his ship's shields to smash through the asteroids whereas Superman is forced to try to dodge them.
  • The Transformers (Marvel): The solar system's asteroid field is portrayed in precisely this manner; in fact, the Ark's mission was to destroy a bunch of asteroids so that Cybertron could pass safely through.
  • Wonder Woman (1942): The Saturnians are building a road through the solar system using tightly packed asteroids, which Diana points out is impossible and makes no sense. Once she arrives at Saturn she discovers they're doing so anyway and she and Steve Trevor destroy the space road which was being built using conscripted slave labor and was intended to be part of Saturn's invasion of earth.

    Fan Works 
  • Plan 7 of 9 from Outer Space: A news report tells of a protocol droid being prosecuted for running a gambling racket, in which he falsely stated that the odds of successfully navigating an asteroid field were 3,720 to 1.
  • FireflyVirtuoso” has Wash expertly flying Serenity through one to escape Reavers. He zips between two asteroids on a collision course and they both slam into the Reaver ship as Serenity escapes unscathed.

    Film — Animated 
  • Astro Kid: The plot of the movie is kicked off by an asteroid field destroying the space ship of Willy and his parents, forcing Willy to use an Escape Pod which ends up crash landing on an unknown planet.
  • The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part: Emmett has to navigate his ship through a glassteroid field made of giant shards of glass, luckily he gets rescued by Rex Dangervest. Rex is a Future Badass Emmett who crashed into a glassteroid and got stranded in the original timeline.
  • Phineas and Ferb The Movie: Candace Against the Universe: Phineas and company encounter one as they fly towards Feebla-Oot. Thanks to some help from Perry, they're able to make it through unscathed.
  • Titan A.E. had the characters flying through a giant ice field. There are a lot of the giant ice shards smashing into each other, which at the rate they were going, they should have reduced the entire ice field to ice cubes within a few years.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Airplane II: The Sequel: The lunar shuttle encounters a ridiculously dense asteroid belt after it goes off course. Made doubly ridiculous because of the way they're going: know of any asteroid belts between the Earth and the Sun?
  • Armageddon (1998) explains the cloudburst of meteorites as the result of a comet passing through the asteroid belt and bouncing shrapnel into Earth's vicinity and knocking one "the size of Texas" towards Earth. This is wrong because a single comet could not collide with so many asteroids and conveniently shove them in the same general direction. Enough shrapnel was knocked out of the asteroid belt to keep Earth in a 'shooting gallery' for 18 days.
  • Green Lantern (2011): The Green Lantern leads the Big Bad through a classic asteroid thicket. There then follows a questionably plausible sequence involving the Sun. Also, the Solar System is apparently ridiculously small.
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2: While being chased by a fleet of Sovereign attack drones, Quill doesn't hesitate to fly through a quantum-asteroid field, made of of red and blue asteroids that randomly appear, disappear and mutually annihilate like quantum particles. After playing this trope straight with a deadly pursuit through the field (Quill squabbling with Rocket over who should fly the ship doesn't help) they reach the other side intact only to find the rest of the Sovereign fleet has just flown around it.
  • Meteor shows Earth's solar system's own asteroid belt being like this, with two large asteroids close enough that when one gets hit by a comet, a spacecraft orbiting the other gets destroyed by the debris.
  • Galaxy Quest: In a variation, the movie has ships traveling through a space minefield. Which makes far more sense because, as a minefield, it's supposed to kill whoever enters it, and the mines were more or less stationary until a ship got close enough to set off magnetic sensors, and close enough together that the ship had trouble staying away from them. Except for the part about someone deliberately putting a minefield in empty space with the apparent hope that someone will eventually blunder into it.
  • Star Wars:
    • A New Hope: When the Millennium Falcon briefly drops out of hyperspace in the middle of a cluster of spaceborne rocks, these asteroids are fragments of Alderaan, which has just been destroyed.
    • The Empire Strikes Back is the Trope Codifier. Han, deprived of his hyperdrive, has to slalom through densely packed asteroids to evade an Imperial fleet. It's stated several times to be insanely dangerous, and multiple Imperial pilots die trying to follow him.
    • Attack of the Clones has a Justified example — the dense rock field that Obi-Wan chases Jango Fett through is Geonosis' ring, planetary rings actually being that dense in Real Life.
    • Solo: The Kessel Run is this on steroids, with dangerous debris everywhere, carbon masses colliding, gigantic space cephalopods, and black holes that suck everything in.

  • A few Fighting Fantasy adventures set in outer space will have these as an obstacle.
    • In Starship Traveller, you can order the crew of the "Traveller" to mine an asteroid field for resources, but a freak meteor storm might occur, resulting in some casualties in the process where your engineer gets squashed by stray asteroids.
    • The Rings of Kether have Blaster Babbett's space HQ being located in an asteroid field, which you must navigate your way across if you're choosing an outer space confrontation.

  • Animorphs:
    • The Ellimist created one between two warring planets soon after constructing his ship body.
    • In The Andalite Chronicles, an Andalite Dome Ship is destroyed by living asteroids.
  • ''The Astronauts Apprentice': Lampshaded. Before they reach the Asteroid Belt, Grandpa tells Bradley that you can jump from one asteroid to the next, or swing between them on ropes. Bradley (who read a book about the Solar System before leaving Earth) refuses to believe this, and tells Grandpa that the asteroid belt is "mostly empty". However, when they reach their destination, it turns out that Grandpa is correct.
  • Future Hope features a cocky, crackerjack space ace whom the author attempts to characterize as the greatest in the solar system by describing how he was famous for being the only pilot to ever safely navigate through the asteroid belt without his navigation tools on.
  • The novelisation of Doctor Who and the Time Warrior has an Action Prologue in which Linx is being pursued by a Rutan squadron with no hope of escape until he comes across the asteroid belt in our solar system. The hazard is that his space cruiser is moving so fast he wouldn't detect anything until he was almost of top of it, and even a single grain of sand striking the hull would have the same effect as a fission shell. Linx thinks the cowardly Rutans won't follow him through it but they do, and he's ready to despair until he notices that one of his pursuers was destroyed in the belt, giving him a chance.
  • Halo: The Expanded Universe is actually quite good at treating asteroid belts realistically:
    • Halo: The Cole Protocol: A straight example is actually justified. The Rubble is explicitly said to be very unusual, the asteroids having been artificially tethered together, with the whole thing being kept stable by constant AI-controlled adjustments. Additionally, the asteroids are Trojan asteroids orbiting a gas giant, and each individual asteroid is relatively small. Then-Lieutenant Jacob Keyes even lampshades this, noting that this trope is what civilians, or "dirt siders", think of when they think of asteroid belts; when he first sees the Rubble, he initially can't accept that it's real, because it isn't what happens in nature, with him explicitly noting that asteroids can be millions of miles apart from each other.
    • Halo: Mortal Dictata: The kig-yar home system, Y'Deio, is home to a massive asteroid belt that is stated to be abnormally dense (though not to the extent of most examples of this trope, as it's noted that it still takes a good amount of time to travel between asteroids even with Kig-Yar and Covenant starships). In Real Life, the Y'Deio system is actually a real system (with a different name of course), and its asteroid belt is notable for being unusually massive and dense, further justifying this example.
    • The Eridanus asteroid belt, depicted in Halo: The Fall of Reach and Halo: First Strike, is also another aversion, although The Fall of Reach's comic adaptation strangely depicts the smaller asteroids around Eridanus Secundus (an asteroid within the belt that is colonized by the United Rebel Front) being unrealistically close to each other.
  • Isaac Asimov:
    • "Feminine Intuition": While the chief robopsychologist and a prototype robot with important information about nearby habitable exoplanets are being transported via aircraft, they're hit by a meteorite. Because of how improbable it is, the characters speculate as to whether some higher intelligence orchestrated the meteor strike to keep Earth from learning about their alien neighbors. The odds against this happening are so astronomically high, they're compared to the odds of guessing the location of exoplanets to colonize in the first place.
    • "The Martian Way": Averted and explained. It's said that perhaps the spaceships didn't have to waste propellant to go around the asteroid belt, since, while on map it looks like a swarm of insects, it would take a serious stroke of bad luck to hit a rock.
  • The Machineries of Empire: Discussed before a battle near an asteroid field in Revenant Gun — the viewpoint character notes that the asteroids are too dispersed to pose a danger to even a large fleet, but the real threat is that enemy ships might hide behind them for an ambush.
  • A King Of Infinite Space: Subverted. The protagonist claims to expect the asteroid field to mirror his recollections of The Empire Strikes Back, only to discover the scientific reality of the asteroid field.
  • Known Space: Justified with the Serpent Swarm in the Wunderland system. The Swarm is explained as a planet that recently (in astronomical terms) broke up, and is described as a "crescent" that spans one third of its orbit around the sun. In the "center" of the swarm, the remnant chunks of planet are just barely close enough to fly between without losing your mind from boredom. Still far enough apart that the human rebels against the Kzinti takeover of the system were easily able to spread out and hide themselves in the swarm.
  • The Mote in God's Eye: Humans visiting an alien solar system find the asteroids too far from the inhabited world to make sense. They learn that the asteroids were pushed farther out after a war when one of sides pushed them inward, raining them onto the planet.
  • Robert A. Heinlein:
    • Farmer in the Sky. The narrator observes that the 'old pile drive' ships used to 'plow right through the asteroid field and none of them was ever hit enough to matter', though the universe had a belt more densely packed than in Real Life due to Science Marches On. Nevertheless, he had the Mayflower bypass the Asteroid Belt, to avoid even that tiny chance. Nevertheless, the ''Mayflower'' was hit.
    • The Rolling Stones (1952) takes care to note that the asteroids are far enough apart that the risk of being hit by one is infinitesimally small. Nevertheless The Rolling Stone takes precautions anyway when they enter an unusually dense field that's a haven for miners. Averted in that nothing happens to the ship.
    • Space Cadet (Heinlein): The captain of the Space Patrol ship Aes Triplex is not concerned about colliding with an asteroid while searching for the missing Pathfinder. However, as above, the Pathfinder was also holed by a meteor with the loss of all hands due to Explosive Decompression.
  • StarCraft: Flashpoint features the Kirkegaard belt, known colloquially as the "Kick-You-Good" belt. The Moebius Foundation maintained a cloaked research base there accessible only by a specific and very slow route. Arcturus Mengsk's fleet decides to simply blast their own shortcut.
  • Starfire: Justified and lampshaded in Crusade. It first comes up in the context of a closed warp point (a warp point without a significant/detectable gravity field) that happens to exist in the middle of an asteroid belt, which led to the immediate destruction of small ships transiting due to collisions — a situation immediately stated as freakish and unique. One chapter later, an enemy uses an asteroid cluster in a different star system to hide a fleet, while musing that only in a handful of clusters do "conditions even approach those... in popular entertainment."
  • Starsight: Justified. An asteroid station dragged large numbers of asteroids into close proximity to make mining easier. This also makes it a great training ground for pilots.
  • Star Wars Legends:
    • Darksaber: The Hoth asteroid thicket is revisited, being the construction site of the titular patchwork superweapon. Fleeing a New Republic task force, the ship attempts to blow up some massive asteroids to evade pursuit, only for the superlaser to not work, and gets crushed in short order.
    • Galaxy of Fear: There's an asteroid belt near Ithor thick enough that tiny ships called Starflies are designed to travel through it. It also has space slugs. When flying a Starfly to rescue her brother, Tash has to rely on the Force and the Improbable Piloting Skills it gives her to get through. A pair of asteroids actually slam into each other in front of her, becoming a hail of smaller particles.
    • Hand of Thrawn: In Vision of the Future, when the Wild Karrde goes through an asteroid field, Karrde notes that it's more dense than most his crew has encountered, as they have to shoot down asteroids more or less constantly. Zahn, as a general rule, knows quite well how space works and writes accordingly. But Asteroid Thickets are the one thing that showed up in Star Wars and could not be explained or handwaved, so he uses them like anyone else.
    • Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor features Luke and his task force making plans to attack Mindor. This planet had a sister planet very near it not at all long ago, but during a superweapon testing the sister planet was destroyed, and the debris was largely pulled around Mindor in a configuration that was too unstable to be called an orbit. This resulted in the planet becoming largely uninhabitable and the space around it acquiring an "asteroid storm"; capital ships appearing in it had a one-in-fifty chance of being hit by a big rock immediately, increasing incrementally as time went on.
    • X-Wing Series: Asteroid thickets come up once, as the X-wings try to get through asteroids to an enemy ship. The enemy actually had a strategy for this situation, which was to shoot the bigger asteroids, which would destroy the fighters which are hiding behind them on their way to the big ship. Even though a pilot realized this before it happened and called them off, two were taken out on the retreat by, yes, unavoidable giant space rocks.
    • Several books mention “The Graveyard”, the asteroid field created when Alderaan was destroyed by the Death Star. The Graveyard is such a dense field of asteroids that going into it is considered certain death for any starship, even one as large as a Star Destroyer. Some Alderaanian survivors request space burial or cremation there, while others come to leave messages to lost loved ones.
  • Troy Rising: In The Hot Gate, it's noted as unusual that another star system has a dense asteroid belt, contrasted with the comparative emptiness of Sol's belt.
  • Discussed in the non-fiction book Calculating the Cosmos by Ian Stewart, which suggests it comes from two sources; firstly the term "asteroid belt" itself, which implies something relatively solid, and secondly diagrams of the belt that show densely clustered dots without explaining that this is not to scale, and each dot represents a huge region of space which contains an asteroid.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Blake's 7
    • "Mission To Destiny" features a space storm that appears as an asteroid thicket. An interstellar one.
    • Season one has two "meteor storms", with lots of rocks hitting the ship as if it were a heavy hailstorm or an avalanche.
  • Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey depicts the Asteroid Belt as much denser than it really is when Neil flies the Ship of the Imagination through it. In a StarTalk episode, he admits to the Artistic License taken because it quickly conveys where he is in the solar system and does point out (as said in the summary here) that no probe could have gone past Mars if the belt was really that hard to navigate. The depiction of the Oort Cloud is much more realistic.
  • Farscape: In the Peacekeeper Wars wrap-up mini-series, Braca leads a fighter squadron through a planetary ring in order to strike at the rear of the Scarran battle fleet. Plausible (not the thicket) in that radiation would keep the squadron's approach masked from enemy sensors.
  • The Goodies: Rule of Funny version in "Invasion of the Moon Creatures". When their moon rocket goes through a meteor storm, Bill opens the window to take a picture and they all get pelted with rocks.
  • In the series premiere of Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, due to that episode being a "Fantastic Voyage" Plot with Wayne, Diane and Amy being shrunk and unwittingly being swallowed by Grandpa Murdock, it involved a thicket not of asteroids, but kidney stones!
  • Lost in Space: "The Reluctant Stowaway" features the Jupiter 2 being pummeled by asteroids as it drifts off course into the belt.
  • Lost in Space (2018): Some of the cast spend part of Season 3 stuck on a Shattered World after one of the chunks damages the Jupiter's engine. After being there for a year (and the planet having been blown up who knows how long ago), they calculate that they have only a few days left to get off-planet before the constant orbital collisions create a debris field too dense to get through.
  • Red Dwarf: "Psirens" features the crew chasing the stolen Red Dwarf in the much smaller Starbug. They have an opportunity to catch it because it's had to make a detour around an asteroid field, which Starbug can go through. Even then they need the Cat, with his fast reflexes, as pilot to get safely through.
  • Stargate SG-1: Part of the race course in "Space Race" goes through what appears to be an Asteroid Thicket composed of house-sized chunks of ice.
  • The 4th season premiere of Stargate Atlantis has Atlantis, shot into space in the previous season, having to make its way through an asteroid field. Sheppard, McKay, and a team have to shoot the asteroids into pieces to clear a path. Sheppard, trying to reassure McKay, compares it to the video game Asteroids. McKay responds, "But I was terrible at Asteroids! I think I actually scored zero once!".
  • Star Trek:
    • Star Trek: The Original Series: "Mudd's Women" shows the Enterprise chasing Harry Mudd's stolen ship through an asteroid belt (at relativistic speeds) where the asteroids are seen to zip past the Enterprise (as seen by the bridge screen that Kirk is looking at). The asteroids appeared to be spaced apart from each other at considerable distance rather than the traditional Star Wars-type asteroid thicket.
    • Star Trek: The Next Generation:
      • In "Genesis", the Enterprise sends a shuttle craft into an asteroid field because it was too dense for the Enterprise to go in safely. It was mentioned that the asteroid field was unusually dense though. This was by far the least significant scientific inaccuracy in this episode, where the crew 'de-evolved'.
      • In "The Pegasus", the Enterprise is searching for the starship Pegasus, lost years ago on a top secret mission. The search leads into a dense asteroid belt, where the Enterprise finds the Pegasus partly inside one asteroid. It turns out the Pegasus was testing an advanced "phasing" cloaking device that would let it pass through solid objects, and the device failed when the ship was passing through the asteroid.
    • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: In a 7th season episode, Odo tries to hide from some Jem'Hadar by flying into a dense Kuiper Belt, which aside from trading comets for asteroids, is still a classic Asteroid Thicket.
  • The Twilight Zone (1959)
    • "The Lonely": A spaceship crewman says that the ship is "almost out of fuel" because they've been "dodging meteor storms". The only way this can happen in our solar system is if it had suddenly developed an area with a high concentration of asteroids.
    • "Elegy": One of the astronauts from the ship explains that they went through a meteor storm, which caused them to run low on fuel. The only way they could experience a meteor storm is if the asteroid field they passed through was unusually thick and dangerous.
  • Ultra Series

  • Star Trek: The Next Generation: There's one in the "Asteroid Threat" mission. Possibly justified since they may be the debris from the lone giant asteroid they just blew up.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Ares magazine #16 game "The High Crusade". One of the possible Fleet Combat Table results is that the battle area is filled with large and small asteroids. One of the two fleets involved will take significant damage from running into them.
  • Battlefleet Gothic: Asteroid fields are an egregious example, probably caused by the target audience expecting "terrain" to fight around. The effects of asteroid fields are thus: Anything unguided (a space hulk, torpedoes and so on) are automatically destroyed upon entry. Attack craft have a 1 in 6 chance of destruction and full space ships (from escorts to capital ships) must take a command check, and if failed can take crippling damage in a single instance.
  • Dungeons & Dragons: Spelljammer, being straightforward High Fantasy in space rather than any kind of science fiction, makes common use of this.
    • The Grinder around Oerth is an asteroid belt with the asteroids close together. Of course, the Spelljammer universe is not intended to reflect real space in any way.
    • Polyhedron magazine #81 adventure "In His Majesty's Spacial Service". Kleggra's Bones is the asteroid field where the space pirate Willy the Squid has his base. The Player Characters must take their spelljammer ship inside the field to find the base, risking running into one of the asteroids to do so.
  • Eclipse Phase actually manages to avoid this. There are asteroid fields, but they're exactly as they are in reality.
  • Eureka: 501 Adventure Plots to Inspire Game Masters: In the adventure "Murphy's Law, Squared", when an out-of-control asteroid enters a debris field on the edge of a solar system, it will hit another asteroid unless the PCs can prevent it.
  • Pathfinder and Starfinder have the Diaspora, the remains of twin planets destroyed long ago. The relative closeness of the rocks is probably the least unrealistic thing about the belt(there is, after all, the river running through it).
  • Rocket Age: The Asteroid Belt is full of fast moving debris, making mining incredibly dangerous. Not that anyone lets that stop them.
  • Starblazer Adventures, campaign setting Mindjammer, adventure "The First Casualty": When an out-of-control ship suddenly appears near Gentility Base, it is on course toward the nearby asteroid belt and is likely to suffer a catastrophic collision if it enters it.
  • Star Wars:
    • Risk: Star Wars Edition uses an impenetrable asteroid field to represent planets destroyed by the Death Star, rendering travel in the region problematic.
    • Star Wars Armada: Dense swarms of space rocks are a type of obstacle for the game. Fighter squadrons can move in and out without any difficulty, while large ships take collision damage.
  • Star Fleet Battles: Asteroid fields are thick enough so that any ship or seeking weapon passing through them has a significant chance of taking damage, possibly enough to destroy it. They also interfere enough with sensors to allow ships and bases to hide within them.
  • Traveller
    • Adventure 1: The Kinunir. While a ship is in the Shionthy asteroid belt, there is a 1 in 36 chance per hour that it will contact a speck of antimatter. The resulting explosion will severely damage the ship.
    • Beltstrike boxed set. The asteroid Jarlsson's Doom is closely surrounded by a swarm of smaller asteroids. If the Player Characters aren't extremely careful flying through it, they have a base 86% chance of colliding with an asteroid. This will cause the ship to be either damaged or (if it takes a critical hit) destroyed.
  • Twilight Imperium features asteroid belts that take up the same amount of space as a star system and pose a serious problem for the movement of certain classes of starships.
  • Universe: In the DeltaVee rules, whenever a ship enters an asteroid field it must check for collision (roll speed or higher on a six-sided die to avoid). The faster a ship traveling, the greater the chance for a collision. At a speed of 6 or higher the ship is certain to hit an asteroid.

    Theme Parks 

    Video Games 
  • Andro Dunos: The small asteroids near the beginning of Stage 5 can be easily blasted into harmless debris, but the larger asteroids that pervade most of the stage are indestructible, though a few can be separated from each other.
  • Assault Suits Valken: Jake has to destroy an enemy source of energy located in an asteroid cluster in the second mission. The smaller rocks can be destroyed, but the bigger ones can only be passed by.
  • Astro Blaster has the player's ship flying through a meteor shower at the end of each level.
  • Battlefleet Gothic: Armada: Small, dense swarms and clusters of rocky debris of varying sizes appear as terrain obstacles small enough for several to fit inside orbital battlefields. They can be used for cover, although they will damage any ships that actually pass through them. Larger, likewise unrealistically thick clusters of space rocks are common in the backgrounds. The feature returns largely unchanged in the sequel, although now there's an upgrade available for your fleets that makes ships immune to the damage inflicted by asteroid fields.
  • Blasteroids features asteroids straying across the screen but also red ones, that once destroyed release crystals that give you extra energy, "popcorn asteroids" that once fired begin to grow until they stop in a place and are indestructible until you clear and leave the stage, and kamikaze asteroids that once hit will speed towards your ship.
  • Conquest: Frontier Wars has plenty of these, conveniently on the edges of map, these thickets slowed down ships travelling though them. The manual explains that the fields in the game are just representations of what is actually going on, and that the ships slow down in order to navigate through the field (the slaloming is not actually shown in the game). The nebulae are even weirder with their strange abilities (knocking out shields, decreasing weapon effectiveness, hiding entire fleets, etc.).
  • Contact: The introductory zoom-scene shows the solar system's own asteroid belt as one of these. The scene is otherwise fairly accurate on scales, however (except for the distance of radio transmissions). The team that created the opening said they did it on purpose partly for Rule of Cool and partly because most people would think a fully accurate portrayal of the entire sequence would look "wrong."
  • Creature Shock have your player character, Jason, piloting his spaceship through an asteroid field in the very first stage. Later levels will throw Space Mines instead.
  • Crying Suns: Stationary asteroids are a common terrain feature during space battles. They come in two sizes: small asteroids, which slow any squadrons passing through them but also provide cover, and large asteroids, which are impassable obstacles that your squadrons must fly around. Some maps have only a few asteroids, while others have enough large asteroids to form a natural maze with chokepoints.
  • Dead Space: Justified, as the thicket is actually the debris kicked up by the mining ship the game takes place on pulling a continent-sized chunk out of the planet it's orbiting.
  • Distorted Travesty 3 has several of these during the shmups segment.
  • The first thing you have to blast your way through in Dove is a dense cluster of asteroids. The ending sequence also features a static image of this.
  • Edge Of Chaos has this in spades. The asteroids will blow up like bombs if you shoot at them a few times. There was even a mod that turned this up to 11 by making the asteroids fly around at ridiculous speeds, pelting everything like a space hail storm.
  • Escape Velocity has immensely thick asteroid belts, but ships cannot collide with them. Their purpose is simply to interfere with weapons fire, though they can also be mined in EV:Nova. (The original asteroid sprites were lifted from Ambrosia Software's first published game, an Asteroids clone named Maelstrom.)
  • EVE Online suffers from this trope in that of the 5000+ solar systems, a large majority of them have at least one "Asteroid Belt" orbiting a planet, and some have upwards of 20 or 30. This alone isn't enough... the asteroid belts themselves are composed of a belt maybe 100km from end to end with asteroids of various mineral types densely packed together; in some cases the asteroids are so large and so dense that avoiding their collision boxes is an exercise in futility. This is mostly due to decade-old design decisions. The asteroids are used for mining by players, and going from one rock to the other in a realistically sparse asteroid field in clumsy mining vessels would be very annoying to say the least. Various modifications and reforms to asteroid belt realism and the interactivity/fun of mining in general have been floated by CCP over the past few years, but so far they appear to be on the back burner. Finding a fix that doesn't destroy the economy is bound to be problematic.
  • Evochron Legends: Most asteroids are clumped together, with 10-20 asteroids in a 10x10x10 KM area. Some solar systems however, have asteroids very thinly spread out across the system.
  • EXTRAPOWER: Star Resistance: Stage 1 opens with an approach of the Satellite Mesa by way of an asteroid field. It starts off light to get players accustomed to the controls before thickening and introducing asteroids outfitted with defense lasers.
  • The Feeble Files: Feeble ends up flying into an asteroid belt by accident during the intro. The player then gets an idea of what kinds of Moon Logic Puzzles they are about to get themselves into when Feeble is shown trying to get past a huge asteroid by attempting to blast a tunnel through it, instead of maybe flying around it.
  • Freelancer carefully examines this trope. First, due to their thickness, most asteroid fields in the game are hiding places for criminals. Second, also due to their thickness, several asteroid fields are also suitable for mining operations. Third, some of these asteroid fields are actually made of junk (one of them is even a minefield!). And finally, the spacecraft manufacturers must be very aware of the difficulty of navigating these places by hand, because in order to get across an asteroid field, you just have to set a waypoint to your target, press the Go To button, and the computer will do the slaloming for you.
  • FTL: Faster Than Light has this as a relatively common hazard to deal with during battles. Perhaps unusually, asteroid hits are easily blocked by even a minimal shield, and their main game effect is thus to create small gaps in which the shields are weaker than normal. This normally acts to the player's advantage; a common tactic is to send a flurry of laser fire in just behind the asteroid, whereas the game's AI is incapable of doing this intentionally.
  • Gaia Seed: Project Trap have multiple stages in space where you'll need to navigate and shoot your way through asteroid fields. Including on Saturn's surface after destruction of Saturn's moons.
  • Galactic Civilizations II: Dread Lords: It's justified in the representation of asteroid fields on the galaxy map (what else would you use as a map symbol for an asteroid field?) — but not justified in the cutscene when you investigate your first anomaly.
  • Galaxy Angel II: In Chapter 4 of Mugen Kairo no Kagi, Kazuya, Anise and Roselle have to navigate through a hazardous asteroid field in order to set up a surprise attack on Calvados. As it's close to her homeworld, Anise has flown through it in the past and knows the route, and is impressed when Roselle is able to keep up, prompting her to goad Roselle into having an impromptu race, much to Kazuya's dismay who can only scream in terror when they accelerate their ships.
  • Gradius: The series is no stranger to including thickets of space debris to dodge, even shifting the asteroid rocks to similar obstacles of ice chunks, volcanic fireballs, cubes, and "kidney stones" inside a giant bioplanet.
  • Haegemonia: Legions of Iron: Ships passing through asteroid fields are slowly damaged, implictly from constant micrometeorite strikes.
  • Halo: Reach: The introductory cinematic at one point passes through a very dense ice belt. A collision between two ice bodies can actually be seen as the camera moves onward.
  • Heavenly Bodies: You'll spend most of "Minerals" navigating through several clusters of tiny asteroids. It is easily the largest area in the game, though it houses little of relevance aside from a collectible, a nod to the last mission, and large asteroids with the precious minerals the level's all about.
  • Homeworld:
    • One mission puts you right in the center of a swarm of malicious asteroids, your objective being to get your smaller ships out of harm's way while blasting apart asteroids that are about to collide with the Mothership. There's a margin for error in that the Mothership can handle a few hits, but it's still not quite as easy as it sounds.
    • In another mission, a large asteroid is deliberately steered into the path of the mothership (via a huge engine built into the asteroid's "back"), as it cannot change direction when in hyperspace, and will automatically exit hyperspace when a potential collision is detected.
  • Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime: Most levels take place in clusters of floating space rocks, interspersed with Baby Planets and miniature stars. Dense swarms of moving asteroids also appear as navigational hazards.
  • Mario Party 6:
    • The minigame Mass Meteor has two dueling characters race against each other through an asteroid cluster in outer space. They have to swim between the asteroids (Batman Can Breathe in Space applies here) and avoid clashing against them (as doing so leaves them stunned for a long time). Interestingly, some of the asteroids are shaped like Koopa Shells. Whoever reaches the goal first wins; but if both reach there at the same time, the minigame will end in a tie.
    • The minigame Asteroad Rage has two dueling characters driving their spaceships across an asteroid-filled path that leads to Saturn. The characters have to avoid the asteroids along the way while they drive. Whoever gets hit by one of them will lose and render the other player victorious; but if both are hit at the same time or manage to survive during 30 seconds, the minigame ends in a tie.
  • Mass Effect:
    • The Serpent Nebula the Citadel sits in plays this straight; the Codex entry lampshades the improbability of such a dense nebula, notes that it makes navigation (and therefore, external attack) extremely difficult outside the perimeter of the Citadel's mass relays, and cites an in-universe theory that the Citadel itself creates and maintains the nebula artificially with its waste disposal systems. Oddly, the Serpent Nebula can't really be seen from the surface of Bekenstein, a habitable planet some distance away from the Citadel.
    • Mass Effect 2: The end sequence manages to create a asteroid-maze sequence with fewer scientific issues. When the Normandy goes through the Omega-4 relay, it emerges in a frequently-replenished junkyard of wrecked ships that have passed through without the proper preparations and run into things.
    • Mass Effect: Andromeda: Deconstructed. The various asteroid belts found throughout the Heleus Cluster are much thicker than a real asteroid belt should be, but it is heavily implied that they are the debris left behind by Earth-sized or larger planets that were destroyed by the Scourge. Incidentally, the Scourge itself serves this purpose, creating obstacles across space and having the troublesome habit of reaching out towards mass effect fields such as those used by most starships, and at least once being used for a Try and Follow pursuit. It is revealed that the Scourge was intended as a weapon, being more comparable to a literal minefield than an asteroid field.
  • Master of Orion: The tactical battle map in some systems have squares randomly occupied by asteroid patches. Ships can't pass through them, and any missile clusters trying to pass through one of those squares get their count reduced, potentiallynote  turning a One-Hit Kill salvo into one that does little more than tickle a ship's passive defenses (shield/armor).
  • The final mission of Metal Slug 3 has the space segment, where you're allied with the rebel army to thwart a Martian invasion. En route to the Martian base, you'll need to cross an asteroid field while dodging Martian probes, but luckily for you several destroyed asteroids (mostly marked in colouring) contains power-ups and weapon upgrades.
  • Meteos: While Arod's asteroids are so close together that its snake-like inhabitants like to jump from one to another, it is still one of the more realistic portrayals in a game series with purposely unrealistic and physically impossible worlds.
  • Metroid:
    • During the opening of Metroid Fusion, Samus' ship crashes into one of those. The asteroids look like they're only a few hundred feet across, and tightly packed.
    • A minor one shown in the opening cinematic of Metroid Dread, where Samus maneuvers her ship between several closely-packed asteroids during her approach to ZDR.
  • Millennium: Return to Earth: The first probe to be sent to the Outer Solar System gets destroyed while passing through the Asteroid Belt. The technicians then apologize for not anticipating how dense the field is and claim the next probes and ships will fly above or below the belt. Interestingly, this does not add to the travel time. The Belt is also used for Asteroid Mining.
  • No Man's Sky: All systems have them, starting in low orbit and extending through pretty much the entire system, and you can blow chunks of them away to create pathways through them for easier navigation or mine for minerals to fuel your Pulse Jets and Deflector Shields.
  • No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle: The minigame Getting Trashed has Travis gather pieces of debris floating above the Earth's atmosphere to prevent it from falling down into the planet. The problem is that there are several meteors moving aimlessly through his vicinity, and getting hit by them will mess up his mobility. For extra difficulty, Travis has to keep and eye on his Oxygen Meter so he can refill it periodically by returning to the spacecraft, and not falling down into the atmosphere (which can happen easily due to the meteors). The minigame has four levels, and each following one increases the number of meteors present.
  • Parsec: Asteroid belts are unusual indeed. The game is a Horizontal Scrolling Shooter, where you fly a ship around the planet. Despite this fact, you encounter asteroid belts regularly! And each "belt" contains an identical pattern of asteroids, starting with a huge column of rocks coming at you. Each subsequent belt comes ever faster, which suggests they should have crashed into each other ages ago.
  • Philosoma: The very first stage begins with the player's spaceship entering a canyon filled with floating asteroids, which they'll need to blow up to clear a passage through, a course which takes maybe two minutes before they face actual enemies. There are also certain areas containing indestructible asteroids, which the player will need to avoid by moving to the side of the screen.
  • Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando: The first set of starship battles take place in such a region, though again this may be justified by the fact that it seems to be gathered around a possible mining station.
  • Rendering Ranger: R2 contains asteroid fields in several of the spaceship-themed stages, including a boss battle in between two humungous asteroids. Which the boss will use it's grappling hooks to snatch both asteroids and slam them together in an attempt to crush you.
  • SDI: Strategic Defense Initiative features a stage in the asteroid belt. All those floating rocks, however, are just scenery background that often have bases and/or weapons mounted and can be fired upon (and vice-versa).
  • Sonic & Knuckles: Doomsday Zone teaches us that there's a dense asteroid field in Earth's orbit. Who knew? Barely room to fit a hedgehog between the rocks, even.
  • Space Empires: If you fight a battle in an asteroid belt, they tend to damage missiles and fighters heavily. They can even damage capital ships in strategic movement sometimes.
  • Space Engineers is set within an asteroid field, where you mine asteroids within space-walk distance from each other. Pre-release videos showed even denser fields — to the point of making one of the default ships difficult to fly without shearing the engine nacelles off — though the density was toned down for release, likely for performance reasons.
  • Space Quest V: The Next Mutation: The crew of the SCS Eureka is forced to evade the SCS Goliath and hides the ship in a nearby asteroid field. While the asteroids are not shown moving or colliding, they do spin quite fast and appear to be close together. When Roger is forced to go EVA to rescue Cliffy, there is a mini-game that requires the player to navigate the EVA pod. However, the asteroids are only in the background and do not pose a danger.
  • Star Control: Every single space battle, no matter where it occurs features a ridiculous amount of ship-sized asteroids. They are continually spawned to maintain a stable number, never lose momentum, and are sometimes spawned aimed directly at your ship. Fortunately, they can't actually hurt your ship, unless they bump it into the planet (another feature that's always somehow present regardless of where the battle takes place). They can be a major nuisance for the slower ships that need to spend quite some effort to get going in any specific direction.
  • Starscape: Most of the gameplay involves Asteroid Mining: shooting moving asteroids and collecting the resources inside to research and build better weapons and ships.
  • Star Wars: The various games tend to have at least one mission with a whack o' asteroids, probably in deference to Episode V, though in this case the asteroids tend to be much less harmful in and of themselves (though they might prove to be excellent platforms for a starfighter hangar, well-defended space-base, or weapons turrets).
    • Empire at War uses them as well; large ships will usually fly around them to avoid losing shields.
    • Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords starts out in a thicket created by a mining accident causing a chunk of the planet to explode and be ejected into space.
    • Rebel Assault: In the first game, the player (Rookie One) is chased through an asteroid field, similar to the scene in The Empire Strikes Back. Towards the end of the run, a torus-shaped (doughnut) asteroid appears. Fly directly through the center of the asteroid. The pursuing TIE fighters will be clipped by the asteroid as it spins past the point where you get through.
    • Shadows of the Empire: Stage 3 has the Outrider trying to escape from the Empire in an asteroid field, but Dash leaves the piloting to Meebo, so the player really doesn't even have to think twice about them.
  • Sunless Skies: Asteroids tend to come in dense swarms and clusters, with vast gulfs of empty space separating each thicket but only narrow gaps standing between individual asteroids in each swarm. In general, most asteroids tend to be close enough to one another that the gaps between them are easily crossed by bridges or hanging vines. The Ormswold, in which the Royal Society is built, particularly stands out: flying through it is very perilous as the gaps between asteroids are very narrow and it covers a fifth of the Albion outer ring.
  • Super Robot Wars uses Asteroid Thicket as a terrain, an equivalent of a forest where a unit can hide in and gain defense and evasive bonuses.
  • Super Stardust HD has asteroids that swoop down, and then start orbiting around the planet you're guarding. This appears to be because of an incredibly powerful planetary shield whose existence is for some reason entirely dependant on the existence of your ship. The backstory explains that the asteroids are being thrown at those planets by the attacking aliens to distract you when they attack.
  • Treasure Planet: Battle at Procyon features unrealistically dense asteroid belts on some maps as hazards, some of these asteroids are slow moving, but others can move quickly. Asteroids will break apart into smaller asteroids if they take enough damage.
  • Tyrian has them in the appropriately titled asteroids 1 and asteroids 2. As 2-D Space is in full effect here you sometimes need to blast your way though rather than just go around them, which can be tricky when you have weak weapons and have a chunk of rock ten times your size heading your way.
  • The space level of Ultra X Weapons have players trying to bypass an asteroid field while battling saucer beasts and alien spacecraft.
  • Wild 9 has one level, Light Armada, with Wex pursuing an enemy through an asteroid field.
  • X plays this trope straight 90% of the time; one sector has about 80 asteroids (about 1-2km in diameter) crammed into an area about 80km on each side. Most sectors have much lower concentrations, but even those have 3-10 asteroids in a sector, which have only 80-200km between the two pairs of jump gates.
  • The third level of X2 (unrelated to the above) have the player navigating their ship through an asteroid field while firing at alien enemies. Unlike other examples of this trope, here the asteroids can't be blown into bits - the player will need to move quickly and dodge their way across instead.
  • Xain'd Sleena, had an asteroid thicket at the beginning of the third stage in space. You can destroy them for extra points while dodging them, but being careful with the nasty Space Mines scattered among them.
  • Zanac: Thick asteroid field can be seen in area 5 in the original and thicker one is in the second stage of Zanac Neo.

  • Commander Kitty: Although none are actually seen, Morris refferences the trope by describing the swarm of Triple-I Skyflies as being "thick as asteroids".
  • Darths & Droids: The Asteroid Thicket in The Empire Strikes Back is, of course, parodied. Han reassures Leia that the asteroids are separated by hundreds of thousands of kilometers and in stable orbits, so running into one is a nonissue... so the GM changes things to have the ship fly through a dense, chaotic swarm of rocks.
    Princess: Chewie, get up here! We're going through an asteroid field!
    Han: That's no problem. Just don't hit whatever asteroid might be within a hundred thousand kilometres. They're in nice, stable orbits too, so it's easy to avoid them.
    Princess: Okay, fine. We're going into a massive region of randomly moving, closely packed, enormous giant space rocks.
    Han: Gaaaaaah!
    GM: It's my proudest creation.
  • Drive (Dave Kellett). Skitter loses a pursuing Continuum ship in one. Subverted, in that it's not your typical Space Is an Ocean thicket — they could easily go around it, and it's only dangerous because they're navigating it at FTL speeds.
  • Planet of Hats: Spock's line from "Mudd's Women" that the asteroid belt has a "Schiller rating" of 3-5 is defined as "2^35 denser than a real belt".
  • Schlock Mercenary: The Toughs end up facing one of these, thanks to an angry Pa'anuri using massive gravitational power to sling planets (yes, plural) at their vessel and indirectly "stirring the pot" within the area to try and get them with the massive, scattered fragments, as it was unable to get to them directly.
    Cynthetic Certainty "Cindy": "Look"? It "looks" ridiculous. It's a B-movie version of an asteroid field. The rocks are too close together
    Ennesby: I think it looks more like a videogame.
    Tagon: Does it look like we're winning?
  • Spacetrawler: Brograhm's Teeth is a dense, dangerous swarm of space rocks — and justified in that it's generated by miniature Big Bang constantly spewing out debris that's often the size of a planet into a black hole.

    Web Original 
  • Land in the Stars: A large asteroid debris belt called the Marches surrounds the primary systems of the Avalon Cluster.
  • Pay Me, Bug!: Tyrelos Station is surrounded by the debris from a recently (in astronomic terms) destroyed moon.

    Western Animation 
  • Dogstar: The Valiant is halted by one in "The Quick and the Dog", where the asteroids are no more than a few feet apart.
  • DuckTales (1987): In "Where No Duck Has Gone Before", Launchpad — the only person aware that a field of asteroids is real and deadly — has an absolutely terrifying time trying to keep the Phoenix from running into them. Ultimately, he brings it "right through without a scratch", but the toll the experience took on him is clear as he staggers upstairs to inform the others.
  • Family Guy: Averted/lampshaded in "Laugh It Up, Fuzzball", a parody of The Empire Strikes Back, when Threepio (played by Quagmire) says in the asteroid scene "Sir, the odds of successfully navigating an asteroid field are two to one!". To which Han (portrayed by Peter) replies "Never tell me the o-oh... well that's not bad. Never mind, let's keep going."
  • Futurama:
    • "A Flight to Remember" lampshades this. Zapp Brannigan deliberately makes a "course correction" to the safe flight of the pleasure cruise to take the spaceship through an field of comets. After several near misses (and one hit), he then pilots the ship directly into a black hole.
    • "Love and Rocket": Leela is having to swerve about like she's driving on ice whilst piloting through a field of asteroids.
  • Il Était Une Fois... Space features the asteroid belt so densely populated that one has to wonder how ships manage to cross it to move from Mars to Jupiter and vice-versa (the rings of Saturn are reallistically presented). Another that appears in the show follows this trope to a T, including to hide among the asteroids to evade the pursuing Cassiopeian ships a la The Empire Strikes Back.
  • Invader Zim has this in one episode. Zim pilots a ship into the asteroid belt during a dogfight with Dib and it's destroyed by the asteroids. They were, respectively, piloting Mars and Mercury. Somewhat of a Justified Trope due to the fact that these planets are quite large compared to the asteroids' distances from each other.
  • The Magic School Bus: In "The Magic School Bus Gets Lost in Space," the class field trip is through the solar system, including a stop in the asteroid belt. There are multiple (oddly small) asteroids around the bus, all in close proximity to each other, and the bus even gets hit by one, which knocks out the map on the computer. Oddly, this trope is not mentioned in the producer's segment.
  • Milo Murphy's Law: "Milo in Space" has one of the ships Milo travels in destroyed by a small cluster of asteroids floating together. Justified, of course, because of course that would happen to Milo, scientific probability be darned.
  • Rick and Morty: Subverted for laughs in the episode "Bethic Twinstinct", where Morty receives an alien game console that's supposed to have the most realism of any system. He's confused when he starts playing a space Shoot 'Em Up resembling Asteroids because the graphics are extremely primitive. He puts the "realism" slider from four up to ten, only for the graphics to remain the same, except the asteroids disappeared. Rick and Morty are even more confused until Rick puts it together that the "realism" meant the gameplay, not the graphics: the asteroids are gone because, realistically, asteroids are incredibly far apart from one another.
    Rick: Oh. Oh, I get it, okay. It's- it's more real. The vast majority of space is empty.
    Morty: What? Who cares! Th-then what am I doing?!
  • Samurai Jack: In "Jack and the Flying Prince and Princess", the titular royal figures evade enemy spaceships by maneuvering through a planetary ring system as an homage to the Star Wars films.
  • Saturday Superstar Movie: In "Lost in Space", while the shuttle Jupiter II is on route from Earth to Saturn, it runs into a cluster of "meteorites" (asteroids) so close together that they threaten the ship.
  • Star Trek: The Animated Series: In "The Pirates of Orion", the pirates' ship flees into an asteroid field that consists of a large collection of rocks close together. There are so many asteroids that it's easy for the Orion ship to hide among them.
  • Star Trek: Lower Decks includes a justified example: the asteroids are the remnants of a small planetoid destroyed by a particularly strong solar flare, launched into the gravity well of a nearby planet. The Cerritos attempts to navigate through the debris less than a day later, before the asteroids have a chance to settle in to stable orbits or burn up in the planet's atmosphere.
  • Star Wars:
  • Steven Universe: In "Bubbled", Steven and Eyeball go through an asteroid field that consists of mostly human-sized rocks. How they managed to find an asteroid field after going from the Moon and meeting a satellite without having any acceleration besides being blown out of the airlock isn't mentioned.
  • Superman: The Animated Series: "Little Girl Lost, Part 1" very neatly and subtly averts this one. While scanning the shattered remnants of Krypton, which have slowly begun forming into an asteroid belt, he receives a distress call from just outside the system. Rather than play "Asteroids" in his protective ship, he simply drops down and ducks under the field to get there as quickly as possible.
  • The Transformers: In the first episode, two very large asteroids collide and break apart, creating a thick shower of small asteroids that slows down the Autobots' ship and enables the Decepticon spacecraft to catch up. The subsequent chase and battle leads both ships to crash on Earth.

    Real Life 
  • Until the Pioneer 10 space probe passed through the asteroid belt, nobody really knew how dense the belt was. Only several thousand big lumps had been spotted up to that time, but there was a well-founded worry that the craft would be peppered with impacts from many small or tiny rocks. Luckily Pioneer (and all later missions that went beyond Mars) met with nothing whatsoever.
    • And there's the Dawn spacecraft, that went to the asteroid Vesta and after studying it for more than a year moved across the belt (of course without having to dodge asteroids The Empire Strikes Back-style) to (the now minor planet) Ceres, that is currently orbiting and expected to remain so after its mission has ended.
  • Analyses of identified extrasolar asteroid belts indicate that they are much thicker than our own. Granted that's just the ones that we can see from several light-years away, so there's probably a lot more that are just as sparse if not sparser than the one in our system. Of particular note is Tau Ceti, which has an asteroid belt ten times as dense as the one orbiting the Sun.
  • The closest this trope gets to real life—in our own solar system, anyway— is companion asteroids, where small asteroids orbit larger ones, sometimes as little as 90 meters from each other. This is generally rare, though, and it would still take appalling luck or monumental idiocy for a spacecraft to impact one.
    • There is now evidence that one asteroid actually has its own ring system, which may mean that others could as well.
  • In its earlier stages of development, the Solar System had a lot of debris floating around crashing into each other and eventually forming the inner planets. The Late Heavy Bombardment was the final cleanup of this debris by the inner planets absorbing them via impacts, the craters of which can still be seen on the Moon, Mercury, and Marsnote . However, even this hodgepodge would have been extremely thin compared to its fictional counterpart, with the "cleanup" taking hundreds of millions of years.
    • One other reason is that Jupiter and Neptune effectively serve as the giant vacuum-cleaners of their respective regions of the Solar System, thinning out any errant asteroids.
  • Planetary rings have large numbers of rocks, though they're generally smaller than what this trope uses. However, in Saturn's A and F rings there are moonlet belts, which are similar to this trope, in that they contain relatively large rocks (some moonlets are 8 meters across). The belts appear to be small moons that recently disintegrated. This trope usually does not occur in gaps in rings around planets in fiction, so it is not a direct analogy.
  • Many space probes that pass through the asteroid belt have their trajectory given a small change so they can pass near an asteroid and get some data. The Cassini mission to Saturn, however, passed through the asteroid belt but did not have the budget for this. This is the closest it got to an asteroid.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): The Asteroid Thicket


Unpredictable Space Debris

When Mariner needs a place to hide, she finds "dangerous space debris" orbiting an unnamed planet.

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Example of:

Main / AsteroidThicket

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