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"In the soft limestone of Missouri, we've been preparing a network of immense caves, and they're almost finished. And we can put a million people in them, and that million people can survive there underground for two years, until the air clears and the dust settles. Now the cave is more than a dormitory, it's our new Noah's ark. We're storing seeds and seedlings, plants, animals, enough to start over."
President Beck, Deep Impact

Derived from a Latin word for "chest" (see also the Ark of the Covenant), an ark is now best known as a vessel (usually a boat, or at least boat-shaped) in which people seek sanctuary from some great cataclysm.

This doesn't necessarily mean the people go by themselves. If they're smart, they'll bring flora and fauna with them. And if they're pressed for time or resources, they may not go bodily: The ark may simply contain the distilled knowledge and culture of the civilization, and maybe some of their DNA, in the hope that they will be reconstructed or at least remembered by someone else. In this case, the Voyager spacecraft, which possess detailed descriptions of Earth and its people, could be considered arks — except that we didn't build them under the imminent threat of our own destruction.

The concept of the ark owes most of its form to the biblical story of Noah's Ark (which is itself suspiciously similar to even earlier stories like The Epic of Gilgamesh, which featured a giant ship known as the Preserver of Life and a great flood that'd wipe out all life not aboard said ship). Most iterations of the ark today either directly identify with or at least reference the Noah story, including such elements as: The Great Flood; the ark builder being divinely inspired to prepare for the flood, and mocked by his neighbors who don't know the cataclysm is coming; the ark housing pairs of animals, implied to be all the animal species in the world, who enter and reside therein compliantly without eating each other; and, the ark builder sending a dove or other bird to search for dry land to signify that the Flood is ended.

The original Ark still crops up from time to time, usually as a Public Domain Artifact for the characters to hunt down. But new arks are just as common, and these days seem to be as likely spaceships as oceangoing vessels, with the cataclysm necessitating their construction being a supernova or similarly world-destroying event. Any structure which bears the last remnants of an alien race is likely an ark.

Sister trope to Colony Ship and Noah's Story Arc. Compare Generation Ships and Fling a Light into the Future. May involve The Elites Jump Ship.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • In the first season of Dragon Ball GT, Bulma just happens to have one of these tucked away beneath the Capsule Corporation in order to evacuate everyone to the new planet created by Baby with the Blackstar balls.
    • Considering the number of times Earth has been nearly (or actually) destroyed in this franchise, that might be more reasonable than it sounds.
  • The Spriggan film/Noah's Ark story in the manga centers on the original Ark and various organizations fighting to control it in Turkey.
  • In Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, the Arc-Gurren is used to house the population of Kamina City in space when the moon is on a collision course with earth.
  • Doraemon: Nobita sees the vision of a flood via one of Doraemon's "peek into the future" devices, and builds an ark accordingly; turns out that was a bedwetting dream Nobita had.
  • Fishman Island in One Piece has a gigantic ark named 'Noah' in the slums.
  • The seed ships from Knights of Sidonia were intended to ensure humanity's survival when Earth was destroyed by the Gauna.
  • In the backstory of Trigun, there was Project SEEDs, a series of generation-ships, with most of its occupants in cold sleep while it searched for another habitable planet.
  • In GunBuster, the Eltreum (a massive 70km starship) was originally designed to evacuate Earth if the war with the Space Monsters proved impossible to win, but once their defeat was deemed as feasible, the ship was refitted with weapons and played a key role during humanity's final battle at the center of the galaxy.
  • Queen Millennia: To preserve mankind, Yayoi has managed to rebuild terrain behind major cities into "caveships", so they'd detach from Earth, turning Tokyo, New-York, Moscow and other major cities into space colonies and to immigrate to La-Metal. When first shown, it turns out to me bass hypnosis to see how humans would react before launching for real.

    Asian Animation 
  • In Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf: Joys of Seasons episode 65, Mr. Slowy builds an ark so that he and the goat kids can seek shelter when the Moving Lake causes a flood in Goat Village.

    Comic Books 
  • The ship that originally brought Superman to earth, along with a database containing the history and culture of Krypton. His father Jor-El wanted to make ships big enough to save all of Krypton's people, but Krypton's xenophobic policies banning space travel got in his way. He only had enough time and resources to build one little ship.
  • In DC`s New 52 Green Lantern: New Guardians series there was a whole artificial solar system, with inhabitable interiors for various species, it was built to replace the star system Larfleeze the orange lantern inhabits.
  • Crops up in XXXenophile, of all places. In "Family Reunion", salvalger Otis discovers the U.N.S.S. Rojong, the first colonization slowship from Old Terra, presumed lost in space. The bio-pods are intact and should contain all of the 'lost' animals: elephants, fireflies, anteaters, unicorns...
  • One story in the Mickey Mouse Comic Universe had a Mad Scientist build a space ark to repopulate the Earth (or another planet) after he destroys the Ozone layer.
  • Nero: Nero builds one in the album "The Ark of Nero", but it turns out it was It Was All A Dream.
  • Earth 2 has the Space Ark, which was funded by the most powerful and wealthy individuals of Earth so that they could escape in case of a planetary emergency such as a second Apokolips invasion. Too bad for them that Superman's clone stopped the ship and ripped it apart before they went too far.
  • In The Legend of Wonder Woman (2016) Themyscira is a movable pocket dimension to which all the magic tied to Greek mythology has retreated and which the gods have lied to the Amazons is the only place left with human life as well after the attack of the Titan right before the Amazons were cut off from the rest of humanity by the gods moving the island.

    Comic Strips 
  • Dan Dare: In "Rogue Planet", the peaceful Crypts are periodically massacred by their brutal neighbours, the Phants. In the lead-up to each invasion, they load their children, plus various plants and animals, onto a giant space ship called the Kra, which remains in space for generations until the evacuees' descendants can return to rebuild Crypt civilisation. The Phants always leave the Kra alone so that their descendants will have another Crypt civilisation to destroy.
  • One The Far Side strip has a string of animals filing two-by-two into a military base and heading for a waiting rocket.
  • Boner's Ark, a gag-a-day strip about Captain Boner and the various animals on his ark. (Noah had it easy - Boner's ark was on the sea for 32 years, only reaching dry land in the final strip.)

    Fan Works 
  • Earth's Alien History: As part of the buildup towards the Reaper invasion, the various galactic powers send fleets of Colony Ships to the Andromeda Galaxy in order to ensure the continuity of their respective species and cultures in case the Reapers should win. The spinoff story Andromeda Dreams chronicles these colonists' adventures once they reach their new home.
  • Nobledark Imperium: One of the Inquisition and Mechanicus' most tightly-hidden secrets is an immense ark, containing the stasis-held forms of its Inquisitor captain, its heavily mechanically-augmented crew, and thousands and thousands of frozen embryos of every sapient species in the Imperium. It's a contingency plan for the absolute worst-case scenarios, the victory of Chaos, the Necrons or the Tyranids. Should any of these things come to pass and the galaxy cease to be fit for sapient life, the Ark is to activate and head as swiftly as possible outward, stop at some outlying star cluster to resupply and rendezvous with whatever Craftworlds managed to escape as well, and begin the long, long journey out into the dark.

    Films — Animation 
  • Ark have this as the premise of the film. Set in the alien world of Planet Alcyeon whose days are numbered thanks to an impending a meltdown in it's core, the titular Ark is a giant mecha meant for transporting Alcyeon's citizens to another world, only for it to be hijacked by the Big Bad, an Immortality Seeker who believes said Ark will make him live forever while leaving the entire planet and her inhabitants to their doom.
  • Cats Don't Dance: The basis of the movie-within-a-movie, "Li'l Ark Angel".
  • Ice Age: The Meltdown: All the herds head for a giant log that would serve as a boat when the flood waters come.
  • Fantasia 2000 contains a retelling of the Biblical story set to Pomp and Circumstance by Sir Edward Elgar, with Donald Duck as Noah's assistant. And some of the animals in the ark are non-anthro ducks.
  • An example occurs in Battle for Terra after Earth and its colonies are rendered uninhabitable in an interplanetary war.. No points for guessing what is the name of the gigantic ship housing the humanity. Taking the form of a Generation Ship, by the time it reaches the Terra system it is succumbing to routine, lethal malfunctions, and its air scrubbers are predicted to fail within a few months of entering Terra orbit.
  • The eponymous Titan in Titan A.E., a ship holding the DNA of all known Earth organisms and the capacity to recreate the planet from scratch.
  • In WALL•E, humanity abandons a ruined Earth in a fleet of spaceships. The Axiom is sending out probes — such as EVE — to find viable life on Earth, but the "ark" takes on a mind of its own and tries to prevent a return.
  • The Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf film The Mythical Ark: Adventures in Love & Happiness does the "characters ride out a flood using an ark" plot, using an ancient spaceship called the Ark. To get the ship running, you have to have at least one of each kind of animal in it... except the gang hits a snag there when one of the required animals is a snake, which they believe to be an extinct species.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The underground refuge in Deep Impact, designed to ensure continuity of the species in the face of an impending extinction-force impact, is called the Ark. When Leo's family arrives they see people wheeling cages full of animals inside so they'll be preserved.
  • Evacuate Earth is a Speculative Documentary about what it would take to build an interstellar ark in the decades before a rogue neutron star destroys the Earth.
  • Evan Almighty is basically a modern retelling of the original story of Noah, with a few twists (most notably, the flood comes not from rain but from a dam breaking).
  • Several of 'em can be seen in 2012. They manage to be some of the least ridiculous things in the movie (which isn't to say they aren't utterly ridiculous).
  • Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. The Big Bad Dr. Totenkopf planned for a rocket ship to take a cargo of animals to another planet. As for the cataclysm, the rocket would have caused that on the way up.
    Polly: My God, Joe. It's an ark.
  • Moonraker: Drax created his space station to hold the humans who would repopulate the Earth after the deadly spores killed everyone on the surface. When the two leads see that their space shuttle is carrying a cargo of men and women:
    James Bond: The animals went in two by two.
    Holly Goodhead: What do you mean by that?
    James Bond: Noah's Ark. This operation.
  • This was also the bad guy's plot in the B-movie Theodore Rex.
  • Is one of the episodes in the 1936 Warner Bros. film The Green Pastures, which retold The Bible from the perspective of a poor African-American child.
  • In The Last Flight Of Noahs Ark, the eponymous plane is not an ark per se, but borrows some themes due to transporting a lot of animals and becoming a boat.
  • Muppets from Space opens with a dream sequence in which Gonzo is denied entrance to Noah's ark because he doesn't know what species he is. Noah gives him an umbrella.
  • In After Earth leaving earth in space arks forms part of the backstory.
  • Potiphar Femm in The Old Dark House (1963) is convinced that another biblical flood is imminent, and has built an ark, complete with animals, in the backyard of his ancestral home.
  • Noah!
  • In Thor: Ragnarok, the surviving Asgardians escape the complete destruction of their homeworld on a single spaceship, the Statesman. In the following film, Avengers: Infinity War Thanos catches up with them and kills half of those onboard while letting the rest flee. He then blows the ship to pieces with the Power Stone.
  • The premise behind the independent film Chariot. Operation Chariot is meant to save 191 people in event of a massive attack on the United States, either important government officials or because they are potentially useful in responding to the attack. However something has gone wrong in the chaos of the attack, and the movie begins with only seven passengers waking up on the airplane with no idea how they got there or why they have been selected.
  • I Am Mother. An unspecified worldwide catastrophe has wiped out all of humanity, except for about sixty thousand frozen embryos in a special storage and learning facility, which is maintained by an A.I. robot, "Mother", who is tasked with raising them. At least, so it seems. There are in fact human survivors, being hunted by Mother, who decided to Kill All Humans and raise new humans with superior ethics under her control.

  • In The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, Ford and Arthur visit such a ship, one of three sent out from a doomed planet to colonize someplace else (which turns out, naturally, to be Earth). Subverted in that the ship turns out to be just a ruse to rid the original planet of the third of its population considered most useless (namely, middlemen). The narration then proceeds to mention that their homeworld shortly after was wiped out by a global pandemic that could have been prevented by said middlemen.
  • In Flood, great ships (of the floating and spaceborne variety) are built to escape the global flood. They are, of course, called "Arks".
  • The spaceship in the books composing the Deep Water Black trilogy turns out to contain the genetic structure of pretty much every animal on Earth, at which point the characters point out themselves they're on an ark. Then it turns out there were actually two arks — the other one contains all of humanity's genes.
  • In the YA novel Devil on My Back by Monica Hughes, the hero's Domed Hometown is called Arc One, generally assumed to be due to the curve of its roof, but the hero eventually discovers that it was originally Ark One, built so that the population could survive The End of the World as We Know It.
  • Timothy Findley takes a rather cynical view of the Ark in Not Wanted On The Voyage, with Dr. Noah Noyes as a despot tyrannizing his family during the Flood. The story muses on a despondent Yahweh, on the long-suffering Mrs. Noyes, on the lady devil Lucy who marries one of Noah's sons, on the innocence of the animals, and the general follies of being human amid the affairs of the gods.
  • Andrey Livadny's novel The Ark has the protagonist find out that the strange collection of worlds with different races he visits are, in fact, biospheres on a massive ship sent a long time ago by humans to find and collect intelligent lifeforms and bring them back. A malfunction results in the senior staff getting killed off, and their families being locked in their own biosphere to slowly degrade to Medieval state. The ship is falling apart due to centuries (if not millennia) of neglect. The twist in the end implies that the Ark somehow travels back in time and ends up becoming the Biblical Ark (its splashdown causes the Great Flood), with the first person out of the ship being an old shepherd named Noah.
    • Of course, there's a bit of Fridge Logic there, as a Moon-sized (the ship is literally made out of the carved-out Moon) object hitting Earth would render the planet uninhabitable.
    • There's also the question of what is supposed to happen to all the alien races on the ship.
  • In Ken Lozito's First Colony series, the Ark is the first extrasolar colony ship sent out by humanity. It's not really meant to be the trope, but not long after the Ark's departure, a virus/parasite appears in Earth's oceans that gradually migrates to humans and begins mutating them into a new, hostile species. This new species quickly overtakes the planet and then wages war on the remaining humanity in the Colonized Solar System. The last surviving admiral sends a message to the Ark, overriding the navigation system and sending the ship to another system much farther away in hopes that at least some of the original humanity survives. In book 2, it becomes clear that the new species has managed to find the colony regardless, in large part thanks to the beacons the Ark has been dropping periodically on its journey.
  • A variation in the Strugatsky Brothers' novel Space Mowgli has a planet which the humans call Ark. The humans plan to relocate there a primitive race from a dying world. However, in order to preserve the delicate balance of the race's ecosystem, they find a habitable world with no native lifeforms, not even bacteria, so that the entire biosphere can be recreated there. Then things get weird, when the humans find out that Ark is home to strange and powerful beings who don't want humans there.
  • Artic Drift has the villains using custom built superships to survive the apocalypse they are causing to Take Over the World for their Master Race. The ships are Crazy-Prepared, including massive machinery, farm animals and seeds of all kinds, various cultural artifacts, ect.
  • On the Discworld, there's an Urban Legend about the founding of Ankh-Morpork that tells how a wise man foretold a Great Flood, gathered his family and hundreds of animals into a big ship, and rode it out. After a few weeks' sailing, the accumulated wastes from all the animals were filling up the vessel, so they tipped all the manure over the side, and built a city on the resulting dung-island.
  • Joked about in Holes. The kids see a cloud in the sky, the first they've ever seen in this arid desert, and start joking about how they need to start building an ark with two rattlesnakes, two scorpions, and two yellow-spotted lizards. It's all just to get their hopes up, as Camp Green Lake hasn't had rain for a hundred years.
  • In Mark S. Geston's Lords of the Starship, the eponymous ship is supposedly a gigantic ark intended to take the chosen away from their Crapsack World to a paradisiacal new planet. Unfortunately for the chosen it's nothing of the kind.
  • A unique take on the theme is Francis Carsac's Terre en fuite (Fleeing Earth). When the Second Civilization (the one to come after ours is destroyed by another Ice Age) discovers that the Sun is about to go nova, they turn Earth into a Planet Spaceship. Instead of evacuating the terraformed and colonized Venus, they decide that it's easier to turn it into another Planet Spaceship. Massive underground shelters are constructed to hold people (it helps that the majority of people already live in arcologies), water, and air, as well as whatever plant and animal species they can save. Massive "space magnet" engines are constructed at planetary poles (except for Earth's North Pole, which lacks land, which is substituted with a dozen smaller ones along the Arctic Circle) to move the planets. Initially, the plan is to move the two planets into the Outer Solar System to wait out the nova. However, later studies reveal that, afterwards, the Sun will turn into a black dwarf incapable of sustaining life, necessitating the full use of the trope.
    • As a side note, the Moon stays with Earth without any engines, since it's still gravitationally tied to it.
  • The Last Days of Krypton: Jor-El gives No-Ton and the other councilors who believe his warnings about a cataclysm plans for a space ark. Despite their best efforts, building a fleet of evacuation ships from scratch in just three days is impossible, so they focus all of their efforts on finishing just one ship in the last seven hours. They don't finish it in time.
  • In Mere, a Great Ship short story, a Trans Human child, Mere, crash lands on an alien world. After living with Mere for centuries, the Tila aliens realize their Binary Suns are starting a dance of death, spiraling in towards each other til they collapse. The Tila recover pieces of Mere's starship scattered throughout the asteroid belt and on the planet, and repair it to a functional albeit crippled state. They knock out the unwilling Mere and load her into the ship with a copy of their history and technologies, and send it on autopilot towards the only transmission they've detected; faint radio whispers from a massive starship offering berths on a tour of the galaxy.
  • In George R. R. Martin's Tuf Voyaging the Ark is the last remaining seedship built by the ancient Terran Ecological Engineers Corps. It's 30 km long, filled with the cells of lifeforms from countless worlds and has cloning vats with time acceleration fields that can grow cloned animals to maturity in mere weeks. Its' present owner uses it to save planets from ecological disasters, about half the time. But it was originally built for ecological warfare.
  • My Vampire Older Sister and Zombie Little Sister has Absolute Noah, designed to preserve a subset of humanity and the Earth's biosphere in the face of a predicted disaster. Its exact nature has yet to be revealed - suggested possibilities are that it's a literal ship, a spaceship, or an underground shelter. It's intended to house just a few thousand people, and to store genetic samples from the remainder of the human population and from 36% of the world's species (as there's not enough time to sample from all of them).
  • One Star Trek: Voyager novel has the crew encounter a warp-incapable ark filled with millions of aliens fleeing a planet about to be destroyed by a stellar collision; naturally, our heroes decide to make sure these aliens survive the imminent cataclysm. Unfortunately, their plans go south thanks to a malicious computer program installed by a deceased Section 31 agent (identified as the Redshirt killed in the episode "Scientific Method").

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Ark, the giant space station in The 100. The residents there are the descendants of the few humans who escaped a nuclear Armageddon due to being in space at the time.
  • The Ark (2023) is about a ship, Ark 1, sent to colonize a new planet. Unfortunately, while the ship is still in transit, a series of malfunctions damages much of its infrastructure, culminating in the deaths of the ship's entire command structure, forcing the remaining crew to improvise as they struggle to survive the year until they reach their destination. There are other arks, numbering up to 20 assuming everything went right back home; Ark 1 is the flagship, however, and was sent to the destination believed most likely to have a successful outcome. To further the Biblical allusion, Lane finds a chamber inside William Trust's hidden room aboard Ark 1 that contains DNA samples of Earth wildlife, which he compares to Noah's Ark.
  • A Filmation series in the 1970s on CBS Saturday mornings called Ark II peddled a environmentalist conservationist message.
  • This was the original intention of Tevat Noah on Arrow, as it was designed by H.I.V.E. to survive the nuclear apocalypse they would engineer, allowing their leader Damien Darhk to remake the world in his image once the radiation subsided. Unfortunately, madman Lonnie Machin aka Anarky infiltrated and ultimately destroyed the facility, thus ruining Darhk's entire plan. Not that it stopped him from launching the nukes anyway, as the death of his wife due to Anarky's actions leads him to decide that there's nothing left saving in the world.
  • The Cosmos 2014 series uses this as a metaphor for the propagation of life with the possible transportation of microbes via asteroid impact debris that gets launched into space. Tyson draws a comparison with the Deluge myth as told in The Epic of Gilgamesh as a way life might be preserved and travel to other worlds (or might have survived the frequent impacts in the Hadean era).
  • In Defiance the Votan came to Earth in a fleet of Ark ships that also carried terraforming devices. Which are now a debris ring around the planet with occasional "Arkfalls" that are looted by scavengers (and a key part of the MMO).
    • The Omec converted a number of their Harvester vessels for the same purpose, planning on going with the other Votan races. However, the others sabotaged the Harvesters, destroying all but one, the Tsuroz. As far as anyone knows, the Omec aboard the Tsuroz are the last of their kind.
  • Doctor Who:
    • In the First Doctor serial "The Ark", the Earth is destroyed by the sun going nova, and a spaceship carrying the surviving humans, as well as samples of the animal and plant life, sets out to colonize a distant Earth-like planet.
    • In the Fourth Doctor serial "The Ark in Space", the Earth is rendered temporarily uninhabitable by solar flares, and the surviving humans, as well as samples of the animal and plant life, sit it out in suspended animation on a space station. (The station commander even adopts the name "Noah"; his second-in-command tells the Doctor that they know it's not much of a joke, but under the circumstances they were taking their laughs where they could find them.)
    • In the Fifth Doctor serial "Frontios", the Earth is doomed to "a catastrophic collision with the Sun", and a spaceship carrying refugees sets out to colonize a distant Earth-like planet. (The ship itself is not such a focus in this story, which begins after it lands crashes, resulting in the loss of most of their advanced technology.)
    • In the Eleventh Doctor episode "The Beast Below", the Earth is rendered temporarily uninhabitable by solar flares, and the planet's population sets out in spaceships to find somewhere else to live until it's habitable again.
    • In "Dinosaurs on a Spaceship", the title ship was one for the Silurians who built it and took the dinosaurs along.
  • By the end of the fourth season of Earth: Final Conflict, the Mothership has appeared to become this for the Taelon race. It's unclear what happened to their homeworld or their other planets and ships. Either they all died when they ran out of Core Energy, or the Jaridians killed them all. At the end of the series, an ancient Atavus ship is discovered beneath the earth with thousands of Atavus in stasis. The show ends with the stasis pod being taken aboard the Taelon Mothership, which departs to look for the original Atavus homeworld.
  • Loki (2021): In "Lamentis", Loki and Sylvie end up stranded on the titular planet, which is about to be destroyed by colliding with its moon. They then spend the episode attempting to escape by making their way to an ark ship that's preparing to evacuate the rich to safety offworld only to fail when the ark is destroyed by falling orbital debris before it can launch.
  • On My Name Is Earl, a boat gets swept up by a tornado, and appears in front of Catalina and Patti the Daytime Hooker. The women take it as a sign that God wants them to get into it. They try to lure Earl and Randy into it, using "steaks" (which they didn't know were kidneys en route to the hospital) as a bribe.
  • According to Word of God the Bottled City of Kandor was adapted to The Orb on Smallville. It was a handheld object that contained both the genetic code and memories of the people of Krypton, intended to clone them into new lives on Earth.
  • This happens occasionally in the Stargate-verse.
    • And strangely, too — both Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis featured cases of civilizations trying to survive by storing just their inhabitants' minds, which, admittedly, would save a lot of resources.
    • The ship that brings the Ancients back to Atlantis might qualify too, though it wasn't sent out with that intention.
    • Stargate Universe also has the sublight ships built by the Novus colonists, who sent them to move the population to another planet. The trip is supposed to take 200 years.
  • In Superman & Lois, the Eradicator is a device invented by Lara Lor-Van, Superman's biological mother, meant to preserve the Kryptonian race. Lara's other son Tal-Rho (AKA Morgan Edge) plans to use the Eradicator to re-create the Kryptonians on Earth. The residents of Smallville are ideal candidates for host bodies, as the mines near the town are full of X-Kryptonite, and their bodies have gradually been exposed to the radiation from it, making the process of transferring a Kryptonian consciousness into the body of a Smallville resident safe. Strangely, the reborn Kryptonians also possess their powers. When the original plan fails, Tal-Rho merges with the Eradicator and becomes able to turn humans into Kryptonians with little more than a look. After Superman and John Henry Irons destroy the Eradicator, Superman, Tal-Rho, and Leslie Larr (Tal-Rho's Number Two possessing the body of a human woman) are the only three Kryptonians left (not counting Superman's half-Kryptonian sons, one of whom has powers), as the show takes place on a different Earth than the rest of the Arrowverse (which means no Supergirl or Argo City).
  • The Twilight Zone (1985): In "Quarantine", after nuclear war broke out in 2043, the United States launched a spacecraft containing 1,000 politicans and military figures into space. It returns to Earth in 2347. Due to the effects of Time Dilation, only five to ten years have passed for the crew. Sarah and the other members of the Commune used their psychic powers to fool Matthew Foreman into thinking that the ship was a meteor that was going to destroy Earth's entire ecosystem. They tried to get him to destroy it using the remaining particle beam satellites that he created prior to being frozen in 2023 as they did not want the cycle of war to start all over again. When Matthew discovers the truth, he attempts to stop the satellite from firing but Sarah stops him by sabotaging the computer and the ship is destroyed.
  • In Wayward Pines, a static version was built inside a mountain by David Pilcher, who had foreseen the extinction of humankind over the next 2000 years. His goal was to preserve the best and the brightest to repopulate the planet after the cataclysm, starting with the titular town. The Ark contains hundreds (maybe thousands) of cryopods, some of which were used by willing participants and the rest by kidnapped victims. Unfortunately, Pilcher hadn't anticipated humanity being replaced by the Abbies. The first group to be awakened went mad from the revelation and either killed themselves, each other, or attempted to leave the town to be hunted down by the Abbies. The second group wasn't told the truth and merely thought they were trapped in some closed-off town with draconian rules and no contact with outside.

  • Kayak's "Chance for a Lifetime" is about a guy who's planning to build a space ark to save the human race from disaster. He may just be a loony.
  • Jon Anderson's album Olias of Sunhillow is all about the construction of an organic spaceship to save the inhabitants of a doomed planet.
  • Peter Schilling's "The Noah Plan" implies such a vessel was created for the purpose of evacuating Earth when its orbit decays and is now drifting towards the sun.
  • Neil Young's "After the Gold Rush" has the narrator dreaming of "the chosen ones" being loaded into spaceships bound for "a new home in the Sun", presumably after a nuclear war or ecological catastrophe on Earth.
  • Jonathan Young's "Final Frontier" tells the story of humanity building a massive starship to escape from Earth after rendering it uninhabitable after years of pollution and devastation.

    Myths & Religion 


  • In the BBC Radio science fiction series Earthsearch II the crew of a starship abandon it, and its evil computers, to colonise an Earthlike planet which turns out to be Earth. In an attempt to get the crew back the computers use its terraforming devices to melt the polar icecaps. The crew have to use their large shuttle (which is airtight so it can fly in outer space) as a floating ark to save some of the local flora and breeding pairs of the fauna.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Traveller Classic Double Adventure Horde: The unnamed inhabitants of a planet in the Alenzar system were about to be wiped out by a plague of carnivorous animals. They created spaceships with mechanisms to freeze the passengers, who would exist as Human Popsicles for the long trip to another solar system.
  • Warhammer has a subversion in form of the Black Arks. Dark Elves created them to escape after a lost civil war, but now use them for waging wars and pirate raids.
  • Warhammer 40,000 has the Eldar craftworlds, massive spaceships built to escape an impending disaster that destroyed the old Eldar empire. Unlike many arks, the craftworlds were built as self-sustaining worlds that would travel the galaxy, rather than as simple transportation away from danger.

  • The Flowering Peach by Clifford Odets (adapted into The Musical Two by Two) is a play about Noah and his sons building the Ark.
  • Ditto The Green Pastures by Marc Connelly, which is The Bible as imagined by a rural black child, and includes the Noah story.

    Video Games 
  • In Sacred Guns, Mark Leung is an archangel that must defend Noah's ark from the unworthy creatures.
  • The Yamato Ark in Ōkami brought the gods to earth after Yami sacked heaven. (Unfortunately, Yami came along...)
  • Ishra's Ark, a large airship of indeterminate origin, serves as one of the most memorable levels of Klonoa 2: Lunatea's Veil.
  • The Halo universe contains a Forerunner megastructure (no points for guessing what its name is) located outside the Milky Way Galaxy, approximately 262,144 lightyears from the galactic center, well out of range of the titular Halo superweapons. It was created to act as a refuge for the Forerunners and the various species they were able to catalogue, so that they could be repopulated on their worlds after the Halos fired and wiped out all life. The ark can also remotely activate the Halo array which is how the Forerunner-Flood war ended.
    • It was revealed in the The Forerunner Saga that the ark we know of is actually the Lesser Ark. The original known as the Greater Ark was much larger and was where the forerunners made their last stand against the Flood before it was destroyed. A few managed to survive and sneak their way to the Lesser Ark where they then activated the rings and ended the war.
    • Halo also has the Shield Worlds. Hollow mini-Dyson spheres created as a less destructive alternative to the Halos, this includes an immunity to the effect of the Halos. 343 Guilty Spark originally hypothesized that the Ark would be in one but was proven wrong.
    • The human dreadnought Infinity, largest and most advanced starship humanity ever constructed, was originally conceived as an ark that would carry the last remnants of humanity in the event that the war against the Covenant was lost and Earth was burned by the invaders. After the Human-Covenant War instead ended in humanity's survival, the Infinity was repurposed as a hybrid science-exploration vessel and (very powerful) warship.
  • The entirety of the game Brink! is set on a deconstructed utopia floating along the surface of a flooded Earth (no points for guessing what this place is called, either). It was designed as a peaceful and fully sustainable city easily capable of being home to 5,000 people; however, everything gradually fell apart as the population grew to about 10 times as much, and the city is now on the brink of a civil war.
  • Doom 2: After the demon hordes of Hell invade Earth, the remaining human population is loaded onto space ships that will carry them to safety.
  • World of Warcraft has both the Exodar and the Oshu'gun.
  • The Space Colony ARK from a handful of Sonic The Hedgehog titles is apparently a long-term habitable structure, but has remained inactive for the majority of the time we see it, staying in orbit over the planet.
  • The planet Ilos in Mass Effect. Unfortunately, the Reaper harvest took much longer than their power supply could keep the Protheans on Ilos in stasis for, and it instead became a massive tomb for all but a handful.
    • Likewise, the From The Ashes day-one DLC for Mass Effect 3 reveals Eden Prime to be an ark world, similar to Ilos from the first game. It fares hardly any better but does at least contain one Last of His Kind survivor.
    • In Mass Effect: Andromeda, the Nexus and five other Sleeper Starships are designed to get 100,000 colonists to the Andromeda Galaxy in a trip that lasts 700 years. It later turns out that the mysterious benefactor's goal is to create a But What About the Astronauts? situation, in case of the Reaper invasion, which does indeed happen mere months after the Arks' departure. Besides the Nexus, the first wave of the Arks is species-specific to make it easier for life support: Hyperion (human), Leusinia (asari), Natanus (turian), and Paarchero (salarian). There's also a clan of genophage-resistant krogan aboard the Nexus, who are largely responsible for the actual construction of the ships. The only second wave Ark, Keelah Si'yah, is largely quarian, but also has room for drell, hanar, elcor and volus settlers. The reason the Keelah Si'yah is part of the second wave is because the diversity of its passengers requires additional modifications to life support.
      • Halfway through the game, it's possible to discover that the kett themselves use Ark ships to get around the vast distances of Andromeda, or at least the parts they don't control. Ryder and squadmate Liam are unnerved by the revelation.
  • Homeworld revolves around one, known as The Mothership.
  • Shin Megami Tensei IV has Cocoons, in which the Angels stowed away Tokyo's young to be taken to the Millennial Kingdom they were building to be raised away from the "filth" of the rest of humanity. The Cocoons play different roles in all three parallel universes visited: in Blasted Tokyo, the Cocoons descend upon the death of the Ancient of Days, starting Genesis. In Infernal Tokyo, the Cocoons were destroyed by the still human Kenji and his men with a nuclear catastrophe being averted, but they took too long in cracking them open, resulting in the death of all the infants within. In the Eastern Kingdom of Mikado, they succeeded in their mission and left. A new one arrives when the prentices are sent after Yuriko to serve as the Archangels' new Mikado Castle at Shene Duque.
  • Rage (2011)'s Arks, similar to the Vaults in the Fallout series, were built to protect a small number of humans from the destruction brought on by the asteroid impact, opening after a hundred years underground.
  • Rainbow Six's Ark is a complex of biodomes where John Brightling and his eco-terrorist lackeys plan to take shelter after unleashing their Synthetic Plague Depopulation Bomb on the world.
  • The main goal of Earth 2150 is building a giant ship or a fleet of ships (depending on the faction) to evacuate your faction to Mars before Earth dies. There's not enough resources for all three factions to make it out, although this is contradicted by the sequel Earth 2160, which claims that all three factions made it out. You even end up finding the United Civilized States evacuation ship, with the population being held in stasis by the ship's AI waiting for the other two factions (the Eurasian Dynasty and the Lunar Corporation) to kill or severely weaken one another.
  • The premise of Civilization: Beyond Earth is that the player controls one of several factions' ark ships intended to colonize a new planet after Earth was wrecked by an unspecified ecological disaster. In fact, multiple exoplanets are being seeded by humanity in an attempt to improve its chances of survival.
  • Ditto in the original Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri, where the UNS Unity is sent out to settle a planet in the titular system not long before the start of a nuclear war.
  • Humans attempted to do this in Splatoon with the Ark Polaris, a spacecraft whose wreckage serves as one of the Salmon Run stages in Splatoon 2, with Splatoon 3 going on to detail how this happened. In addition to humans, the ark was loaded with several animal species placed in cold sleep. While the ship was able to successfully launch during the final days of humanity, it was damaged on its way out of the solar system, and so the crew attempted to make a return trip back to Earth. It lacked the necessary fuel to land, however, so it simply remained in Earth's orbit for 10,000 years until ultimately crash-landing and killing all of its inhabitants sans Bear #03, who is better known to the player as Mr. Grizz.
  • The Lemmings in Lemmings Chronicles use a flying ark to flee their doomed homeland.
  • The colony ships in Pandora: First Contact are not initially launched with this purpose in mind, but, by the time they arrive to Gamma Capricorni (where the titular planet is located), Earth is evacuated and isolated by AIs and some sort of tectonic activity is detected on its surface.
  • The Odessa-class seedships in Alien Legacy are a last-ditch effort by humanity to preserve some part of itself away from the threat represented by the Centaurians, which are close to wiping out Earth. After the final and greatest offensive against the aliens fails (with the fleet destroyed), the nations of the world opt to invest all the remaining resources into defenses. Knowing that a purely defensive strategy is doomed to fail, they also finance the construction of massive Sleeper Starships set to fly to any system that has a shot of possessing a habitable planet. Each seedship is sent out with no knowledge of its sister ships' destinations and with instructions to survive at any cost while maintaining strict radio-silence, assuming that they are the last remains of humanity. By the time the UNS Calypso arrives to the Beta Caeli system (which is assumed to take centuries, if not millennia), the last remaining message sent out from Earth is extremely old and garbled. Additionally, the crew of the Calypso finds out that another seedship was sent out to the same star a few decades later but, due to a more efficient reactor, it arrived first by 20 or so years.
  • The Protoss from StarCraft, at the zenith of their civilization, built three great arkships in case the Protoss ever faced extinction. The ships contain a miniature sun to power it and nourish Protoss, a Protoss Preserver to keep their history from being lost, on-board factories, an army of Templar in stasis — just about everything necessary to rebuild the Protoss civilization. In Starcraft II Legacy Of The Void, the situation has become dire enough with Amon using the Khala to enslave nearly the entire Protoss race that the remaining Protoss activate the last of the arkships, the Spear of Adun. The ship serves them well throughout the campaign as their mobile headquarters, granting them a fighting chance.
  • The goal of the Zero Dawn project in Horizon: Zero Dawn. With the end of humanity imminent, Dr. Elizabeth Sobek gathered the best scientists and historians around her to construct Gaia, an immense artificial intelligence that could terraform and repopulate the earth After the End. Unlike most Arcs, Gaia was meant to not only outlive the apocalypse, but halt it, and start anew. For this purpose, she was given sub functions that could take on one challenge each; Apollo, Aether, Hades, Hephaestus, Artemis, Poseidon, Eleuthia, Demeter and Minerva. Apollo fit the role of Arc best, as it was the AI responsible for the combined repository of human knowledge. Unfortunately, Ted Faro destroyed it, convinced that Eleuthia's new humans would be better without the history.
  • Freelancer: With the Sol System embroiled in a war with no end in sight, The Alliance decides to construct a fleet of five cryoships and launch them to a far-away sector of space, in the hopes that at least some of humanity can escape to build a new life free from the Forever War. They break through the Coalition blockade and, 800 years later, they've made an excellent go of things which is lucky, according to material cut from the game, because shortly after the sleeper ships jumped to FTL a Nomad ship arrives and destroys the Sun, annihilating the Solar system and leaving the Sirius Sector the final bastion of humanity.
  • In Surviving Mars, failing the Wildfire or The Last War Mysteries results in human civilisation on Earth being destroyed by a viral plague or a nuclear war, leaving your Martian colony the last vestiges of humanity.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles X: The people of Earth are caught in the crossfire between two warring alien races, which leaves them no choice but to escape the conflict and the planet's ensuing destruction aboard large interplanetary vessels called "Arks", each intended to colonize a new planet. One such Ark, the White Whale, is shot down above the planet Mira, whereupon its crashed residential unit forms the game's main city, New Los Angeles.
  • The Endwalker story in Final Fantasy XIV has the world facing the Final Days and there's nothing anyone can do to stall it or push it back. The Sharlayan colony were given advanced notice by Hydaelyn of the upcoming doom, which prompted them to construct the Ragnarok space ship so that they could transport fauna, animals, food, knowledge, and the people of the world to the moon and use said moon's technology (maintained by a race of moon rabbits) to fly through space and find a new planet to live on. The Sharlayans kept their plans extremely tight lipped until the time was right because they feared revealing the truth too soon would cause a mass panic. The intervention of the Warrior of Light and the Scions helped nip the plan in the bud when they defeat Meteion and prevent the Final Days from occurring.
  • In Xenoblade Chronicles 3, Melia and Nia collaborated to construct Origin (the Ark allegory) as a means of protecting the knowledge, culture, and souls of the inhabitants of their respective worlds from being destroyed in the process of their imminent merging back into the original world that Klaus had originally sundered with the Conduit. It's no coincidence that one of the main protagonists of the story is named 'Noah', though he isn't the one building the Ark; rather, he is one of the souls from Melia's world who has been preserved within it for countless years, just like everyone else in the Kevesi colonies, and likewise for those from the Agnus colonies being from Nia's world of Alrest. His task would ultimately be to overthrow the rogue AI that had hijacked Origin and split Aionios back into two worlds.
  • In the backstory of the gacha game Eversoul, a female scientist named Dr. Faust foresaw the end of the world as mankind kept using their newly-obtained powers and control over the titular Souls to wage war against each other. She had nine arks built in case a cataclysm happens, which did happen with the summoning of a Soul that couldn't be controlled by even the most powerful humans: the Soul of the End, Apollyon, prompting humanity to flee to the stars. One such ark was the "Metatron", piloted by an artificial Soul and AI named Mephistopheles. Said ark can be seen in-game as something Mephistopheles uses both during the main story and in gameplay, used in her Ultimate Skill "Spear of the Ark".
  • In Ixion the Tiqqun ends up becoming this by accident. After accidentally traveling forward in time and surviving the destruction of Earth the crew start collecting cryopods from the wreackage of various ships and bases in order to build up thier population and eventually establish a new colony in anothe system. One mission requiring you to defrost a certain number of cryo pods is actually called "The Ark of Humanity".
    • The Etemenaki also qualified being a giant ship constructed by the UN to transport the suvivors of Earth. Unlike the Tiqqun they were unseuccessful and the Tiqqun ends up rescuing the cryogenically frozen survivors folling it's destruction.
  • The climax of Gadget: Past as Future involves a group of scientists completing the construction of an aircraft called the Ark which they claim they want to use to escape the Earth in before a Comet of Doom hits, though afterwards the player is told to fly the Ark by himself, use it as a Drill Tank to get outside where it was built, and then fly it to a distant tower, leaving it a question as to what exactly the Ark was actually for. It's possible the scientists were lying and that the real Ark was the giant spaceship approaching Earth, though with a game like this, it's hard to tell.

    Web Video 

    Western Animation 
  • Yogi Bear and his pals manned a flying version in Yogi's Ark Lark, the Pilot Movie for Yogi's Gang, a cartoon that premiered on ABC in 1972 and led into The Dark Age of Animation.
  • The Autobots in Transformers traditionally come to Earth in a ship called the Ark, usually relating to how the planet becomes their second home for some time for one reason or another.
    • The Beast Wars equivalent was the Maximal ship Axalon, which carried a number of Maximal protoforms in stasis, with the intent of having them adapt to the new worlds Optimus Primal's crew would explore. The Ark would play a significant role in the series as well.
    • The Nemesis in Transformers: Prime fits this trope for the Decepticons.
  • Shows up in a space variant in Captain Planet and the Planeteers, with the alien who has a ship that's a refuge for animals extinct in their homelands. It's referred to as 'The Ark' at times.
  • The Polish short Ark is Exactly What It Says on the Tin until The Reveal at the end.
  • The Smurfs build arks for themselves and their animal friends in "Blue Eyes Returns" when Gargamel uses magic beans to create a flood that covers the entire Smurf Forest.
  • The Box: Seen at the end of the cartoon, when we find out that the reason the man is carrying a small animal in a box through the rain is that he is Noah and he's taking the animal to the Ark.
  • The New Adventures of Superman: In "Superman Meets Brainiac", Brainiac raids Earth to gather creatures to repopulate a planet devastated by atomic wars.
  • Noah’s Animals and Other Stories has the Ark and Noah but it is seen from the animals perspective.