Project Genesis

From Academic Kids


In the fictional Star Trek universe, Project Genesis was a process of rapidly terraforming worlds to make them suitable for settlement and food production. The idea of the Project Genesis was first introduced in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. It was described as "life from lifelessness," and as Spock noted, it was perfectly named after the first book of the Bible.

The Genesis Project was developed by a team of Federation scientists, led by Dr. Carol Marcus and her son Dr. David Marcus, working in an orbital laboratory in orbit around the Class D planetoid Regula.

The process

Project Genesis used an energy matrix to rearrange matter at the molecular stage into life-giving matter of equal mass. This energy matrix was programmable so that the end result could be customized to current needs. When detonated, the energy matrix was designed to cover a dead planetary body and begin the transformation process. Within minutes, the matrix would spread over the entire planet, rearranging the matter that it came across. Soon afterward, the planet would develop a habitable biosphere suitable for transplanting life forms.

However, where life already existed, Genesis "would destroy such life, in favor of its new Matrix," giving it potential to be a terrible weapon.


The Genesis Project was first proposed to the Federation in the early 2280's. Over several years, the scientists developed a Genesis matrix and a three-stage test. The first stage was conducted in their laboratory in orbit around Regula.

For the second stage, Starfleet engineers took ten months to excavate a large cavern within Regula I. The scientists then released the Genesis matrix in to the cavern, and in within a day, a habitable biosphere developed within that cavern. As Carol Marcus later explained, the life forms "grew later, at a substantially accelerated rate."

The third stage test was to be on a planetary scale. The Genesis team contracted with Starfleet to find a "completely lifeless" planet to conduct the test, and the starship Reliant was sent to scout. When they investigated Ceti Alpha VI, they encountered the exiled Khan Noonian Singh, who hijacked the Reliant and learned of the Genesis Project.

After two battles with the Enterprise, Khan was defeated and the Reliant about to be boarded. In a last act of vengenance, he set the Genesis torpedo to detonate. Thanks to Spock's sacrifice, the Enterprise suddenly regained warp power and narrowly escaped. When the torpedo exploded, it destroyed the Reliant and began the Genesis project within the Nebula. A variety of plant life forms grew and spread across the surface.

The planet ultimately proved to be unstable. David Marcus revealed in Star Trek III that he used protomatter -- a substance so dangerously unstable that scientific ethics eschews it -- as part of the matrix. Within a matter of weeks, the planet had rapidly aged and died a violent death by explosion. The Genesis Project was termed a failure, and future terraforming efforts were done using a slow, eventual process to transform a planet into a habitable world.

By the time of The Next Generation, the future of the project was revealed through the "Genesis Wave" books. In this book, aliens had kidnapped Dr. Marcus, and tricked her into developing a Genesis matrix for them. The aliens then sent the wave crashing through the galaxy. By the time they were stopped, billions had died, and a large number of planets had been transformed.

An evaluation of Genesis

In the "Genesis Wave" book, the idea was proposed that if Genesis was used in the manner intended, it would have created a stable planet, even with a protomatter based matrix. But because it wasn't used that way, it was postulated that the wave didn't have the energy to properly do the job. While not canon, it does offer a reasonable explanation of why the Genesis planet was so unstable.

In the original design, Genesis would have been used on a dead planetary body, and the wave would be able to concentrate on just rebuilding that world. However, when the torpedo was exploded, it was not used as designed. The torpedo was detonated inside the starship Reliant, which was itself inside a nebula of highly charged gaseous particles. As a result, it had to basically create an entire star system from scratch - a G type star, as well as the planet itself.


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